Art Direction + Illustration + Publication
Fall 2017

Directing Harvard’s Madhouse

The Harvard Lampoon is old and notorious. With an alumni roster that includes Conan O’Brien, BJ Novak, Alan Yang, Chevy Chase, John Updike, and many more, the Lampoon remains sought-after and exclusive, with only the most hopeful students looking to join the cult.

I didn’t know this freshman year. My friend told me to apply, I mumbled “what’s Lampoon?”, and then I saw the application process through to the end because that’s just who I am. And then I was brainwashed within probably 5 minutes of initiations. One year later, when I was asked to direct my own magazine issue, I mumbled “what’s magazine?”, and the rest is obvious.

Pictured Above: My three-page, foldout cover for my issue of the Lampoon.

Rule of Threes

My issue, the Once In A Blue Moon#, focused on the rare, the strange, the impossible, and the uncanny. I wanted my cover to be fresh with mystery and dense with scenic details. I threw some moons in there too. The panorama spans the width of three covers — the back, the front, and a foldout.

Pictured Above: The fold-out cover broken into each page, where the the leftmost page is the back cover, the middle page is the front cover, and the rightmost page is the fold-out.

The Method

For this issue, I illustrated most of the pieces. I also laid out the written and illustrated pieces (pairing them together), requested pieces from specific artists, and made sure the whole issue felt cohesive but collaborative. After that, I just squeezed in some dumb ads, zipped it up and sent it off, then punched a hole through my laptop.

Pictured Above: A selection of some pages from the magazine. All pages were laid out and designed by me, and all illustrations were drawn by me (except for on page 6 and 16 above).

The Madhouse

After the big undertaking, I never wanted to see that Indesign file ever again. But when I held a physical copy in my hands, it all felt worth it.

Directing an issue is considered an honor given only to members who have proven their dedication to the club. I knew that the undertaking would mean long hours and schizophrenic breaks, so it didn’t surprise me when I got tazed and put into a straitjacket, permanently. Still, I couldn’t have predicted all the little moments of joy along the way, and the big moments of joy at the end.

The Lampoon is a special place that shouldn’t exist, but does. The magazines we publish, the projects we run, and the pranks we pull are just the surface. The best things we keep secret.

Pictured Above: a staff photo taken during Jeopardy host Alex Trebek’s visit (left), a photo taken during the Lampoon’s annual Garden Party (right)