illustration, storytelling

the masked tale

The Masked Tale is an illustrated novel (written by my brother and I) about a seemingly quaint people that wear elaborate masks to protect themselves against watchful eyes lurking in the surrounding forest.

■ roles

 Visual development, Illustration, Storytelling. 

■ tools

Pencil on bristol paper, Adobe Photoshop. 

■ client

 Personal project.

After finalizing the plot, I began the visual development of the world and its characters to reflect the story that my brother and I wanted to tell. This included an in-depth exploration of the illustration style, visual language, character design, environmental design and storyboarding. The book is currently a work in progress, with the first several illustrated pages completed.


The following image includes a selection of sketchbook images of the character designs that were completed for this project. Many weeks were spent experimenting with different visual styles to match the tone of the story. 

character design exploration (sketchbook pages)

visual development of mask design (created on photoshop)


The sketchbook pages below include key compositional frames used to finalize the page spreads of the book (i.e. layout of text and corresponding visualization) - major considerations included mood and consistent visual language.

compositional/layout design exploration (sketchbook pages)


I experimented with a variety of different rendering styles (one of which can be seen below), but eventually, I decided to implement a visual language that resembles the rough, handmade and folksy spirit of the initial sketchbook pages (seen above). Once again, this decision was based solely on properly communicating the true nature of the story.


rendered version of sample page spread

completed page spreads

The book is currently a work in progress, with the first several illustrated pages completed. Below are images of some of the final page spreads (click to zoom).

finished pages of the masked tale