Caution: Ant Farm Ahead

Do you ever just look at the shizz that you produced months ago, or even years ago, and say, “Wow, that’s bad.”?  That happened with my Project and Portfolio 1 class in which I made an Ant Farm Ahead sign. My Kappa Crossing sign was okay though… not great but okay.

This week is our “Before and After Sprint.” We had from Sunday (yesterday) and have until Thursday to revisit three works and see if we can improve on them. It’s a pass or fail; they’re looking to see whether or not we can use what we’ve learned in the central track to fix our bad designs. Or maybe not even BAD designs, just our weaker ones.


That was my Ant Farm Ahead sign. I could have made a sign for a literal ant farm, like the kinda stuff your uncle who hates your parents gives you for your seventh birthday… or I could have done a farm that GROWS ants (kill it with fire, am I right?) but I chose to make the ant a farmer.

ant farm ahead mockup

I thought it was good at the time, but it’s NOT. First off, the lines are too blunt. Second, it’s kinda lazy illustration that doesn’t show a good knowledge of my software. Third, it’s off-kilter in the sign mock-up. The placement is really off. So this is not a horrendous design, but it’s sure as heck ain’t good either! The whole thing is just way too busy and not legible on a sign mock-up. I would imagine I’d drive on this country dirt road going 50mph (as ya do on country roads…) and go “Wait, what was that sign I just saw?” There’s too much going on.

So I went back to the (literal) drawing board. As in, my sketch pad (that’s almost at the end of its pages, God bless its soul! It has to sit with its two wrapped up replacements plus a new mixed media book! Well, it served me well.)

So I came up with these weirdos.



There was the top sketch from a worker ant, whose antennae were kind of in a weird spot to even illustrate. The bottom one was a fire ant with the antennae in a much more… sane place.

It took me so long to figure out the mandibles. If I placed the sketch in Adobe Illustrator, and traced them individually as drawn, they looked WAY off. So finally I drew one pincer and copy-pasted it, then reflected it, and came up with something more symmetrical. I had to use the curvature pen a lot, and getting certain parts to be transparent and others not (using Pathfinder, mostly “minus front”) and then I had to adjust the hat position and the position of our left (the ant’s right) antenna.

Finally to avoid the mistake I made with blunt lines on the wheat straw he’s chewing on, I used brush shapes. Came up with this.


I have to say that’s much better. Is it the best ever? Still, no. But looking at this versus that, I can tell I’ve improved. So there you have my ant farmer. For the mock-up I used the same country dirt road, but just plopped this in on it and played with adjustment layers and the like.


So maybe I wouldn’t think “Oh, ant farm!” driving at 50 miles per hour past this sign, but I would definitely think to watch for this ant who could probably murder me for trespassing. 10/10, would get murdered by ant farmer again! And doesn’t the sign’s texture just look like this ant means business?


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