For this project we worked together to create a heavily illustrated book around the text, An Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy considered as a Downhill Motor Race by J.G. Ballard. This race is a representation of the assassination of JFK which we wanted to bring to life. We liked that the author had created a metaphor for the president, so we researched various ways of illustrating this metaphor. After creating some rough illustrations ourselves, we found that a ‘wacky races’ style of cartoon was an effective way to present this racing metaphor. We stuck with this style as it comes across instantly to the viewer that it’s a race taking place with distinctive characters recognisable to a politically aware and design conscious market.
The cartoon images we created take each of the names mentioned in the text and made them into individual characters. First we created the main character which is JFK himself, we used the car he was famously known to have been shot in as a base for our illustration. To heighten this recognisability (as well as make this car more of a cartoon character) we added the presidents’ haircut and the American flag to the car. We applied this method to the other characters, making Johnson an American army tank as a symbol of his pro-war ideals, with a white cowboy hat that he famously wore. Jackie is a pink Cadillac as the car is very similar to the JFK character but in her recognisable pink Chanel suit colour. The police vehicles are based on sixties style cars and motorcycles with a stereotypical helmet as their recognisable feature.