Mind Games

Style Frames, Illustration
Create style frames for a TV promo for This American Life based on “Mind Games”, an episode on that recounts attempts at playful manipulation gone wrong.


My approach utilizies the metaphor of a house of mirrors to focus on claustrophobia and helplessness. These feelings were described in the podcast as the victims lose their ability to rationalize. The viewer is taken into a brightly saturated sequence that belie the escalating fragmentation and distortion to communicate the idea of falling apart and losing your sense of self.
Individual project;
Concept, Illustration


The viewer follows a person being enterring a doorway that reveals a kaleidoscopic distortion. As they go further in, they see in the reflection themselves being taken apart in a fantastical, twisted world, as their senses and reality are being manipulated. A powers of 10 move pulls the viewer out of this world and into a nucleus - an allusion to the brain. In a final twist, this is revealed to be the person’s eye. 


I started with multiple directions before finally settling on the idea of using the house of mirrors as my key inspiration. After that, I experimented with different visual stategies to communicate the distortion and fragmentation without explicitly placing the person in a house of mirrors.

Storyboard iterations

Illustration process

Typeface explorations and treatment
A sans serif font worked well to contrast the complexity of the frames.  The type is rendered over by hand to create imperfections, fragmentations and scuffed texture.

© Amanda Oesef 2020