Magazine cover: Addiction

Client: IMS Magazine
Media: Adobe Photoshop, Graphite, Cinema 4D, Adobe InDesign.
Format: Magazine cover.
Audience: Researchers and medical science students.

Objective: Design an engaging cover for the Winter 2019 issue of IMS Magazine, featuring the main drugs in the articles.
This is a co-design project with
Colleen Tang PoySee concept, task distribution and pre-production details below.

Completed in January, 2019.



Participants in a support group share their struggles with addiction to cannabis, opioids, and alcohol. "Monsters" hovering behind them represent the respective addictions. The addictions were designed to appear coaxing and insidious, but rendered in a cartoon, "animatronic" style so they wouldn't appear overly frightening. The seated characters show the human aspect of the illness and offer a hopeful perspective towards coping with one's struggles through social support.

Task distribution

Thumbnail proposal

In the first iteration of this design, the "monsters" were illustrated as shadows behind the seated characters. We proposed a few concepts to the Editors-in-Chief, who chose this one as their favourite.

Character design concepts and roughs

Once the articles for the issue were in, Colleen started modeling low-poly figures for the seated characters, I began making designs for the monsters. These were designed after the three main drugs featured in this issue, which the Editors-in-Chief confirmed to be alcohol, cannabis, and opioids. Based on Colleen's vision for the 3D-rendered scene, we decided the "monsters" would work better as 3D models - with colour and volume - instead of 2D shadows.

Collaborators need to be constantly giving each other feedback. Sometimes, doodles can be a helpful way to communicate. The drawing functions on apps like Snapchat and Facebook are a handy way to do so on-the-go!

Composited drafts

3D seated figures +
proposed poses for monsters

Monsters drawn by me in Adobe Photoshop.

Complete 3D-modeled scene 

Modeled and rendered by Colleen in Cinema 4D. See iterations of the 3D scene on her site.

Proposed post-production edits by me

Reflections and light details added by me in Adobe Photoshop.

Final illustration

After getting the OK to do so, I added and refined more post-production details. See the cover before and after title text, which was added in Adobe InDesign.

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