Graphic Design Projects > Micro-Story Illustration

A micro-fiction piece is a story told in 300 or fewer words. It's a subset of flash fiction, which limits stories to 1000 words. The challenge of writing a micro-story is to make every word count.

This project introduces students to micro-stories; the creative process of creating multiple concepts from a single source; the design process of sketches, roughs, and a final copy; refining Illustrator basic skills; and reinforcing how the elements of art and principles of design are interlocked and essential in forming a unified composition.

Learning Objectives
-- Examine the formal elements of graphic design: line, shape, color, and texture
-- Learn about four principles of design and how they are absolutely interdependent to one another
-- Become familiar with the laws of perceptual organization and Gestalt Theory
-- Introduce basic tools of Adobe Illustrator

Project Overview

Step 1: Research micro-stories
Decide on a micro-story to illustrate. Do not choose the first story you read-- read at least 5 and pick your favorite. Think deeply-- what interests you about this story?

Step 2: Concept idea generation
-- In your sketchbook, draw at least 5 sketches of portrait-orientation story cover designs each with a title and image that complements the title.
-- Each sketch should be radically different

Step 3: Create 2 digital roughs
-- In Illustrator, create a new document with the following specifications: 8.5x11” portrait-orientation, 2 art boards, no bleed, CMYK color, 300 ppi.
-- Select your favorite concept sketch and digitalize the illustration
-- Once you’ve made the illustration, explore various fonts for the title. Do not make adjustments to the fonts (no warping).
Compose the title and image so that one or the other is the dominant graphic element differentiating them in size, color, and position.
-- Add more information, for example, a subtitle, images, author, date, etc.
-- Orient the title, subtitle, and images so that their edges correspond or align.
-- Create a second composition by restructuring the composition so that the graphic elements’ edges align in a different configuration.
-- Save both designs as high-quality .jpegs.

Step 4: Combine the illustration & micro-story text
-- Add a 11x17” Artboard to your Illustrator file.
-- Add a guideline in the center to split it in half.
-- Insert your cover illustration on the left side.
-- On the right side, insert the micro-story. Use guidelines to create ½” margins so your text does not go off of the page.
-- Consider the full 11x17” page-- create balance and harmony between the left and right side. You may add additional illustration elements to the text-side.
-- Save final design as a high-quality .jpeg