99 Red Balloons

Overview » 99 Red Balloons is an illustrated picture book inspired by the lyrics of anti-war protest song during the Cold War.


Cold war, 1960s, short story, hand-drawn


Markers, colored pencil, charcoal, InDesign

Art Direction

Dermot Mac Cormack

Inspiration » Nena’s “99 Luftballons” tells a powerful story: Balloons released by civilians are mistaken for military aircraft when they float over the Berlin Wall, leading to nuclear war. I liked how the lyrics imply a darker theme.

Visual Direction » I chose a black & white palette to strike a somber tone and red to foreshadow danger. The hand-drawn lines and textures on cream paper make the story feel raw and puts it in historical context.

Process » This was my first time illustrating this way, and I had fun exploring materials, and working with tracing paper, markers, and a scanner for a change.

View more projects
About Robin

A work in progress designer. You can find me wandering around at meetups and bookstores in Philly / central Jersey. These days, I’ve been reading a good book and working on a freelance WP project.

More →

What else? I’m curious about how we can make modern tools work for people. So any role that lets me bring customers into how everyday products and services are made would be a nice fit. Think user research and testing, interaction design, or content strategy. The emerging technology space is always changing, so I’m always learning.

Places I’ve Been

UX Design intern at an educational software company

Design intern at a multicultural creative agency

Graphic Design intern at a coworking startup


Web & interface design, branding, user research

Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, InVision, HTML5 & CSS3, Sublime Text, WordPress CMS, and a plain whiteboard

Chinese (Mandarin)