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Illustrations for Behavior Change

Research Assistant

Sep 2018 - June 2019

Ten months

Design brief


I spent significant amount of my first two semesters at Northeastern University as a research assistant for the Wellness Technology Lab. I worked with Prof. Andrea Parker and her PhD student Herman Saksono to illustrate stories for a health app.


The app is primarily designed to promote physical activities among the low socio-economic segment families. It uses illustrated stories to support self-reflection of one's physical activities and sedentary behaviors, involving both parents and children.


The final output of some scenes from three stories is shown below:


Edith meets a Unicorn

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Loni the lion plays Basketball

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Sally the salamander goes to Boomerang Camp

Process​ and Iterations

In the initial stages, I read the stories that were based on theoretically grounded health behavior models to understand the key characters and their imaginary universe. The narration is done in a way that brings forth visual storytelling with fewer words. Each story is spun around different animals as protagonists with four chapters. At the end of each chapter are questions that encourage readers to reflect on their own health behaviors, making it an interactive storytelling experience. So far, I worked on illustrating three such stories. I illustrated a scene each set of ~2–3 lines in the story. Which came to around 30 scenes per story.


I sketched the main characters for each story and working on details that would describe their personality. I would then move on to proportions and finalize the designs.

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[Left] Exploration for Loni the Lion's and Otis the Otter's face [Right]Body proportions for various characters in the story Loni the Lion.

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Explorations for the beak of Hubert the heron

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Moving form sketch to digital using a wacom tablet

Then, I converted the sketches to digital images using a wacom tablet on Adobe Illustrator. I also colored some of the sketches as samples and explored pastel shades while retaining the dark outlines.

Below are the snapshots explorations in color palette and how they will look like on the mobile screen.

Exploring colors in the designs

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Design responsibilities:

Sketching, illustrations, color palette design, and storyboarding


Tools used:

Sketching on pen & paper, Wacom Bamboo tablet, Adobe Illustrator



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number #1618406. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Head to my Medium Blog post to read about the process in more details.

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