Chad Jones Activity Book is an art book I created on commission. The brief was to create an artist rendition of his facebook profile picture, an image of a frilled lizard. My interpretation was to make an activity book in which a lizard named Chad introduced himself to you and told you about his species. The book is a mashup between Zoobooks, elementary school workbooks, and my aesthetic. Art activity books introduced me to drawing as a young kid, and they were a primary way my parents connected with me growing up. Thinking about this, my intention was that Chad and his young son would “complete” the book together by coloring in the pages, connecting the dots, and filling in the blanks. I merely provided the space for that to happen by creating the book. This is one of my favorite projects I’ve done, and the first under the design label, Studio GoodBad.
The frilled lizard which narrates the Chad Jones Activity Book, chlamydosaurus kingii – Chad, for short – is a blend of Chad Jones himself, a frilled lizard, and an all-knowing intergalactic space alien. He tells us about himself through a series of short activities such as mazes, a connect-the-dot puzzle, a fill-in-the blank Facebook profile, and drawing/color prompts.
Artwork and Design
Early on I decided that the book would be a black and white coloring book. The constraint of making everything in black and white dictated many of the artistic choices I made in designing the book. I was interested in taking advantage up lo-fi digital/print art while incorporating some modern design technology. Low-resolution line art combines with physically-rendered 3D art. Hand-drawn pixel art gloms on to high-resolution photography.
The effect, for me, is something that uses nostalgia while also transcending it. I wanted the art to be reminiscent of 1990s coloring books (and in so being, invite the viewer to reminisce) but I also wanted to use that format in order to create surprising images. What’s the effect when you see Facebook drawn as if it was 1993? What new comes out of that? Like so many things in my work, I wanted to look back in order to look forward.
Some of the art remixes work from the 1990s as well, including illustrations from Enchanted Learning and the background pixel art of Super Mario RPG.