Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Derrick Zha Illustration


Character Design
Concept Art
Environmental Graphics
Game Design
Interface Design

For me, personally, I see the thesis project as a way of getting me ready for the professional field, especially the part that’s about mentality and work amount, I’m always able to find new limits of my work load and break it, I think only when I reach the absolutely peak, then it will be a good time for me to start balancing life and work, and find more things to do in life.

This project is sort of a concept art pitch package, with all sorts of things that me as an illustrator and concept artist could possibly produce: characters, weapons, props, creatures, storyboards, animations, animatics, logos etc. What I value the most is storytelling, I want all of my pieces to tell a story, whether it’s the obvious appearances or the backstories, I want to connect the audience and send my messages. In this project, I try to value two important things in life: journey, and family.

With some early ideas generated from the novel ‘Journey to the West’ I created a mini-world event that centers a father and his daughter. The two share very different life experiences and are expected to clash at one moment. The full story is on my website. Some ideas are coming from mythology related tales, but I found ways to put my own spins in.

Given the Covid-19 situation, my workflow was messed up for a couple of weeks but glad I got back up in the end. If given more time, there is still much stuff I can work on, I didn’t reach the amount of storyboard as I planned at the very beginning, or use my 3D skills, but I will for sure work on these after the school ended. In a strange way, the virus situation got me really concentrated on my art, hopefully I get to have a solid life/work balance soon.