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Pre Ramble ............................................................ 06 / FIRST Image Harvest ....................................................... Paper Engineering ................................................. Laser Cutting ........................................................ Letterpress............................................................. Publishing ............................................................. Sewing .................................................................. Art Market ............................................................ Typography ........................................................... Expanded Design ..................................................

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/ AND The Sketchbook Project.......................................... 40 Sketchnotes ........................................................... 44 Women’s March .................................................... 50 / SECOND Silly City................................................................ Animation.............................................................. Hand Lettering ...................................................... Pattern .................................................................. Screen Printing ..................................................... Graphic Narrative .................................................. Self Direction ........................................................

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Post Scrapped ........................................................ 84



My name is Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy. One girl, many names, and just as many interests. I’m a maker, designer, doodler, and adventurer - and now, first and foremost, I am an illustrator. I graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with majors in Environmental Studies, and Studio Art focusing in sculpture. For the past eight years I’ve been working as a designer with a focus in web related projects. My undergraduate experience didn’t prepare me for this vocation specifically, but it did develop my foundational driving desire to question, learn, and create. As a designer I partnered with exciting clients to make work that challenged me to push against my limitations and develop new skills - but in making commercial work, my creative voice was more often than not stifled, dimmed, and made more “accessible for larger audiences.” Ugh. It was time to re-evaluate. It was time to take a left turn. After years of telling myself I would never go back to school, I packed up my apartment, my two cats, my then-fiance (now-husband), and moved our lives to Baltimore where I started my MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art. This idea book chronicles my first academic year in graduate school through the work I created, including the projects I loved, the work I humorlessly threatened to burn in a garbage fire, and everything in between.




/ IMAGE HARVEST Our initial assignment was to look at our past work as a whole and draw out new ideas from the themes that we found. Ten new ideas, to be exact. I struggled with using past pieces to inspire new work without being derivative. The specific attributes of past pieces that I found compelling could be grouped into the following categories: Action, Object, Subject, and Material. This provided me with a recipe for the way I was thinking about new work, providing me with a jumping off point to start thinking outside of my usual making-vocabulary. I decided that I’d make a re-imagined celestial map, replacing the constellations we know with symbols of femininity in the occult. I began working on a series of drawings in ink, however after a one-on-one critique the direction of my work changed drastically in the eleventh hour.


I completely changed my idea and decided to create a personal narrative piece in three days. One day to write, one to draw, and one for final production. The pieces I brought to critique were three poster-zines that worked together as a loose narrative, but were also able to live on their own. The subject matter is personal, but written obliquely enough that it might speak to a compassionate viewer as well.


I wanted to reflect the sensitivity of the piece in the materials I used - soft colored pencil, and wax pencil illustrations printed on 11x24 newsprint sheets. The compact versions are folded as small as possible, reflecting my hesitancy to share, and how I treat these emotions in my everyday life.

In the Fall Show, “Self Help” was displayed as a triptych of 24”x52” prints. “Self Help” is comprised of three works: “Redefined”, “Redacted”, and “Catharsis”. In these pieces, the internal monologue of the artist is externalized in a format that is part self help book, and part poem. We are all made up of our past experiences, good and bad. As time wears on and we have new experiences, do we forget our traumas? Do we move on and replace them with new memories? Or are they always with us? These poems navigate how we can remember and grow from our past, without letting it define us. Archival Print, Birch // Image Harvest Fall 2016





/ PAPER ENGINEERING After our paper cutting workshop with Annie Howe, and our paper engineering workshop with Colette Fu, we were tasked with creating our own paper-based piece. Inspired by both techniques, I was interested in creating a volume by layering flat, delicately cut images. I wanted to look down into an enclosed space, a room, and see a couple sleeping. As I sketched, I decided that I wanted some layers to represent slices of the room, and others represent the dreams of the couple. I created an illuminated box to represent the room and hold the cut paper layers in space. I had envisioned the piece being modular, with the layers of paper fitting into different slots of the box, allowing a viewer to create the scene. I created a few successful prototypes, but in the final product the paper lost rigidity with so much cut out, and was more finicky than expected. It was better as a vignette without the interaction element in the end.






/ LASER CUTTING I went into this project with lots of excitement because I hadn’t ever had access to a laser cutter before and I love playing with gadgets. I used our workshop time to create cute 3D animal heads out of masonite and painted them with acrylics to create bright fun brooches. For the final reaction piece I wanted to create organic shapes and movement out of rigid materials and a mechanized making process. I attempted to make a mobile out of plexiglass, masonite, and metal depicting an underwater scene. It was my intention that the swaying plexi ‘bubbles’ and masonite ‘seaweed’ would catch the light and cast interesting refractions and shadows in the room. Although the individual cut pieces had pleasing shapes, the construction of the mobile’s main structure caused it to be more static that I had hoped, and the cloudy autumn day didn’t help matters much. Although this was a failed attempt, I still think it’s a decent idea that just needs a little time for reworking.





We had a lovely mini workshop on letterpress printing at Baltimore Print, run by the very sweet super couple Kim Bentley and Kyle Van Horn. Using polymer plates made from digital files ordered through Boxcar press we were able to get an introduction to printing on a Vandercook letterpress printer. I collaged this image out of a few of the ink drawings I originally drew for image harvest that had been set aside, and I was itching to re-purpose.

/ PUBLISHING Our publishing workshop was led by Kimberly Glyder, and focused on her forte, book jacket design. Our response involved the following: choose a book, design a jacket, and describe the book in a single word. The catch? All of this is at matchbox-size, as that was what we were required to use as a dummy book. I enjoyed doing a book cover design, but was definitely tripped up by the reduction of scale. I chose 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and focused on the repeating design element of circles to reference the moons that appear in the novel. I also tried to evoke a soft science fiction feel with my choice of color and typography. My initial layout sketch had lots of texture that was lost to the tiny size of the final product in later versions. The colors were too soft initially and required more saturation and contrast. I played with printing different versions on vellum to visualize parallel timelines with overlapping layers. The results were pretty, but I don’t think I’ll be making tiny things ever again.


/ SE WING Our first-year advisor Kim Hall directed our sewing workshop, which ran the gamut from fabric dying and manipulation, to Japanese style stab binding. I love fibers and wanted to push myself to do something a little weird and very loose. I decided to sew an organza shift with a pattern I made myself, and to embroider on top of it without any sketches to help me. The free form embroidery was intended to be like a sketchbook, with the imagery emerging subconsciously. The piece is still in progress. The shift has lots of surface area to cover and the organza has a very finicky quality for embroidery purposes. However I reached a breakthrough in documentation when I tried photographing the dress in the bath. I wanted to see how the piece would change when I introduced a substance and volume that I had little control over.



/ ART MARKET For the annual MICA Art Market we were tasked with creating a product to produce, package, and sell. I came up with a few saleable ideas, and landed on designing and creating an ouija bandana. Inspired by the spooky game invented in Baltimore, I set out to design an everyday unisex fashion item that diverged from the typical rectangular ouija board layout.


I packaged the bandana with a folding technique inspired from passed notes in middle school and laser cut chipboard planchettes as tags. The planchettes were engraved with instructions on how to play ouija, and a spirit calling incantation from 1901. I outsourced the production of the bandanas which resulted in a small loss of quality that I wasn’t happy with. This process was something that resonated with me, and tapped into my enjoyment of illustration, design, and narrative. I hope to make more products this year and open an online shop in which to sell them.








/ TYPOGRAPHY Maureen Weiss from the Graphic Design department joined us for our whirlwind typography workshop and response piece. Inspired by vintage typography and 60’s era motel signs I created a series of promotional postcards for the fictional Shrug Notel. I wanted to combine bright colors and fun typefaces with negative sentiment, using a few well known sayings that feature expletives to drive home the juxtaposition. These postcards were paired with a poster of the imagined Notel’s roadway sign, featuring the same colors and type as the postcards. I’d like to come back to these at some point to add more narrative and grit.


/ EXPANDED DESIGN This studio class taught by Amanda Agricola provided me with a place to loosely test materials, new coding languages, and interaction design. I wanted to see if I could bring soft narratives to mechanical materials like arduinos, lasercut acrylic and wood, and the programming language Processing. Trends that arose were my fascination with randomness, layering, and externalizing the internal. For my final project I created an altar where a zine and a small box rested, surrounded by objects reminiscent of ritual and devotion. SHHHH is a piece by Hayley Powers ThorntonKennedy that communicates the complexities of guilt, and the catharsis of communication. The simple interaction of a button push at this altar of personal insecurities engages the viewer with one of the artist's secrets. The secrets are pre recorded and visualized in a processing sketch, paired with short captions of the confessions. The captions can be interpreted in many ways, opening the viewer to think about how these cryptic secrets might relate to their own lives. Although indirect, this relationship and interaction can be interpreted as empathy - and in empathy we find healing. Arduino, Thermal Printer, Processing, & Secrets recorded in a bathtub // Expanded Design Fall 2016







/ THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT This collaborative semester-long project is ILP’s musical chairs interpretation of the nation-wide Sketchbook Project, a crowd-funded sketchbook museum containing artist sketchbooks from all over the world. The Sketchbook Project supplies participating artists with the same sketchbook, and a list of themes to choose from and get started with - but after that it is up to you as a maker to fill up your sketchbook with the materials and imagery that you choose. We each began the year with a sketchbook that we chose a theme and decorated the cover for. Throughout the semester, the sketchbooks were passed between classmates, the pages filled by each other’s musings on the chosen themes. By the end of the semester we each had filled a spread in everyone else’s sketchbook, and sent them back to The Sketchbook Project headquarters in Brooklyn, NY where they’ll live on in a museum with over 35,000 other sketchbooks. I wanted to pour more time into this semesterlong project, but my sketchbook often took a back seat to other work. It was really nice to see the collaborative piece finally come together in the end though, with all of our styles represented in each book.









/ SKETCHNOTES I wanted to get into the habit of keeping a sketchbook this year and was inspired by ILP students before me who took sketchnotes during workshops and lectures. I decided to try my hand at sketching our lunchtime lectures, featuring a portrait of the speaker and some of their comments that resonated with me. I was uncomfortable at first and unconfident that I could capture a likeness from across a large dimly lit auditorium. However, by limiting myself to drawing in pen without any planning or sketches, and committing to loose lines I found the practice less stressful, and more enjoyable.







/ WOMEN’S MARCH A week before the Women’s March on Washington I sat down to make myself a protest poster. There were so many things I was enraged about, it was difficult to boil these emotions down into a single image or slogan. I decided to engage the public by opening 10 commission slots for free posters emblazoned with their desired messages. What resulted over the course of a week was this series of illustrations, and a new found drive to use my work to be an agent of change. These ten posters were printed and carried by women at marches in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pueblo, New York City, Washington D.C., and Barcelona. I was amazed to see the reach of my work, and was proud to be so many places at once. On International Women’s day, Sara Barnes interviewed me about my work with a focus on this series in her illustration blog, Brown Paper Bag. Additionally, the poster that I provided as a free download for all through my social media accounts, “We March Together” (opposite page) earned a silver medal of excellence for a single image at MOCCA 2017 awarded by the Society of Illustrators.






/ SILLY CITY For this client-base project we partnered with the Philadelphia based non-profit Fresh Artists, a group committed to bettering schools in need through arts education programming. Our brief involved giving one of their k-12 projects, Silly City, a makeover. This project involved teaching kids about architecture, and looking at their own cities through that lens. Each child them makes a building out of mixed materials, and together the class builds a street of their own silly city. We received the same packet that the teachers are given, consisting of worksheets, an informational packet, and a teaching guide. The materials made heavy use of clip art and seemed less considered than the concept of the project as a whole. It was up to us to re-imagine what this packet could look and feel like. I began by sectioning the packet into 3 parts, and designed each as a separate component of the entire packet. I imagined there would be a folder containing the teaching packet, an activity book with all of the worksheets, visual index, and glossary, and a poster that showed the architectural timeline. I made a pattern branded with the Fresh Artist colors to tie the materials together, and kept the style fun and bright, even in the more representational architectural illustrations. This project was a huge undertaking and more often than not my hand was cramped from constantly drawing detailed architecture.












/ ANIMATION The stop motion animation weekend was exhausting with many on-your-feet hours spent making tiny adjustments in the dark, but luckily I had a wonderful partner in Kaixin Wang, whose humor, patience, and skill helped us create a great animation in an insanely short amount of time. After a day of testing out stop motion techniques and creating an exquisite corpse animation as a class, Kaixin and I chose sand animation as our medium for the next day’s shoot. The sand was very difficult to manipulate, but the ephemeral quality of the medium allowed us to mesh our styles and create a truly collaborative piece. The short film features a tiger that jumps at the camera out of the bushes, then stands up scanning the grassy savannah. A passing bird accidentally flies into the tiger’s open mouth, who then transforms into a sleeping kitten dreaming of being a bigger, meaner predator. Like all good films, we end it with a loud burp that wakes the kitten and explodes, wiping the frame clean. I loved making this film and wished we had more than a few hours to shoot.


/ HAND LETTERING This fast-paced workshop was led by our program director, Whitney Sherman. We played with words and tried to imbue our hand lettering with the meanings, emotions, and connotations of the words we chose at random. For our reaction we had the options of creating a specimen for a hand lettered alphabet, and an example of that hand lettering in use - or we could use hand lettering in an illustration of a quotation of our choosing. I chose to illustrate a quotation by feminist poet and activist Audre Lorde. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I wanted the final illustration to be tender, yet resilient and bold. In the final version, with black hair providing a contrasting ground to the hand lettered quotation. This illustration was featured on Glamour Magazine’s instagram account in partnership with Women Who Draw on International Women’s day, under the hashtag #daywithoutawoman.


/ PATTERN From weekend workshop to final critique, we only spent less than a week making our patterns. Despite the quick turnaround, I felt fully immersed in this process, and enjoyed the technical aspects of layering, positioning, and developing my collection. Katie Deedy, a wallpaper designer from Brooklyn, spent the weekend with us talking about collection creation, mood boarding, research, and her methods for making repeating patterns. I originally wanted to create different patterns to represent the Greek goddesses Artemis, Athena, and Demeter who I identify with different parts of my own personality. But in understanding that the different patterns within a collection should represent a range of complexity, I settled on trying to evoke the story of Demeter and Persephone through a three patterns. Demeter is the goddess of the harvest in Greek Mythology. Her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades and must return to the underworld for six months every year, one for each pomegranate seed she ate during her abduction. I used colors pulled from Greek pottery, and imagery from this story to create a bitter sweet spring collection.




/ SCREEN PRINTING Graduate screen printing with by Kim Bentley is a much coveted course offered once a year. I went into the class without much screen printing experience and after 12 weeks I felt like I had just gotten the hang of it. Although the process of getting an image ready to print can feel arduous at times, going through the steps has become more zen-like than stressful for me. Thinking about building an image in layers helps me simplify. I’ve especially enjoyed playing with color, and hope to continue using screen printing in my practice going forward.


/ GRAPHIC NARRATIVE Reading and writing Graphic Narrative with Sara Lautman (an ILP alum!) has been an extremely valuable class for me to work out how I consider approaching personal narrative. The bulk of the reading for this class has been autobiographical in nature, and the class discussions have revolved around how to navigate truth, fiction, and self preservation in this kind of writing. This has been a huge hurdle for me in writing my own narrative, and through this class I’ve begun to turn a corner. I’ve done more writing than drawing for this class, and hope to develop some of these scripts into full comics soon.




/ SELF DIRECTION I waited all year for the self directed project with bated breath. Although I came to MICA specifically to escape the feeling of working in a void that often comes with freelancing, I was in desperate need of a project in which I alone determined the scope and direction of my work. Amidst my excitement and possibly due to it, I got carried away and embarked on an idea that I couldn’t fully resolve in the time provided. Despite the unfinished nature of my final work, I was happy with the risks I took, the work I produced, and the ideas I began to navigate and dissect. I became interested in exploring memories, moments, and the gray area on the cusp of adulthood in which every second feels transformative. I had a memory in which I spent an afternoon in Newport Beach that filled me with an intense wistful nostalgia. I changed in that moment, but I couldn’t tell you how. I was curious if this kind of memory extended to others and asked my mother if she had a similar experience. Without hesitation, she answered that she had, and sent me her story. I attempted to map our memories in an interactive narrative using the program Twine, in which clickable words lead you either to the next linear step in a memory, or divert you into a similar part of the other memory. This fluidity allows the narrative to be experienced differently each time it is read dependant upon the choices the reader makes. My attempt to overlap our memories was only partially successful. There was something lost in my digital retelling that I hope to fix in a subsequent version with some rewriting, coding, and rethinking the user experience.








I was taking a break from school that semester, and bumming around my hometown had gotten suffocating. There was another fight with my dad.


I hopped on a train headed North

I trimmed my fringe in her bathroom, leaning against the porcelain sink, music wafting from her room down the hall.


Neither of us had cars, so we left work in the afternoon together


debating whether to hitchike or walk.

We cut through the beachplum bushes, opting to take the long way home. Kicking off our flip flops, we walked barefoot in the dunes. The wind whipped our hair into a frenzy and wiped the smell of tuna from my skin.



With my ears under water I could hear the sea’s constant murmur. A conversation out of time. A looping chorus of shouts and laughs, and sighs.




Illustration Practice is not an undertaking for the faint of heart. I’m ending this year beleaguered, constantly in search of my next coffee, and mildly concerned about how familiar I’ve become with the sunrise. I take pride in how hard I’ve pushed myself, but the sheer amount of work that I’ve produced in eight months is still astounding. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this year without the constant support of my husband Andy. The little life we have together with our cats, plants, and shared love of all things nerdy has provided me with a space outside of school where I can recharge and breathe a little easier. High fives are also in order for my entire illustration cohort, our advisor Kimberly Hall, and our director Whitney Sherman. Thank you all for being so dang talented and inspiring. The environment you’ve all helped to nurture in the studio is one of collaboration, humor and experimentation. I’ve learned so much this year from each and every single one of you. We did good. Group hug. xo


PEEL / Year 1 MICA MFA Illustration Practice / Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy  
PEEL / Year 1 MICA MFA Illustration Practice / Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy