Field TripNews

Old School : The 1st and Last Issue of Sidewinder Magazine

Originally published on August 6, 2017 on

My 1st cover design of Sidewinder Magazine using Quark Xpress 4 for page layout

Back while studying in 2000 at George Brown College, Quark Xpress was king of desktop publishing. Little did we know that Adobe was getting to launch InDesign, Quark was the industry standard for page layout.

So after a couple weeks of mastering tabs, em dashes, bullets, style sheets, and drop caps, it was time to produce a final project.

A magazine.

Ok challenge accepted, but what kind of magazine was I going to produce? I really didn’t want to do a magazine focused on sports, lifestyle, or celebrity gossip. For inspiration I decided to go visit some Chapters Indigos and at time it was there; The World’s Biggest Bookstore.

In the magazine section, you could find almost every subject matter possible. After thumbing through some Wizard, Animation Magazine, CineFX, and EGM, I decided to focus on 1 common theme.

Character Design.

It often gets overlooked, but there’s a lot of though and iteration that goes into creating a fictional vessel. Characters are born to become ambassadors of a brand, live through a story, experience an emotion you don’t normally feel, another point of view. Characters go through the ringer of refinement. The pose, the colors, shapes, the messaging.

I wanted my magazine to focus on characters from the following areas:

  • Comics
  • Animation
  • Video Games
  • Film
  • Mascots

It was an ambitious idea considering it was only to be a front cover layout, and a 2 page spread. Now to pick a name. I think at the time, the invasion of Afghanistan from the U.S. was happening. Constantly bombarded with media of the attacks you get introduced to new terminology. Shock n Awe, Al-Queda, Taliban, Sidewinder. Sidewinder for some reason stood out for me. What was so special about this type of missile used in aerial combat?

Did I ever mention how I use to play these flight simulators on my PC, like A-10 Tank Killer or F-19 Stealth Fighter?

I figured my magazine was attacking a subject matter on different fronts. I latter found out there’s a type of snake that moved in a bizarre direction. This was later incorporated into the logo for Sidewinder Magazine.

The subject matter was twisting between topics. What was going to be my 1st topic to brace the cover of Sidewinder and a story I could typeset from an original excerpt?

Snakes became a theme, so guess what video game was coming out around the time? Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons of Liberty.

I really feel in love with the art work of Yoji Shinkawa for his character & mech designs in the game. So featuring main character of Solid Snake from the box cover art was a great start off point. I was fortunate enough to find a brief interview with Shinkawa-san from an online article from IGN magazine.

2 page spread layout using Quark Xpress 4

On the cover I teased stories from other creators of characters like David Jaffe on God of War, to mentioning a documentary on Todd MacFarlane, creator or comic book character Spawn. Overall the assignment went well. Was it a piece I could probably show off in portfolio? No, it needed more work.

I thought about making it into an e-newletter or a blog where I could share my thoughts on future character designs. That’s maybe what I want to explore with using Medium for. Write some stories on character design for the most part. I’m currently studying a lot on character design and character modeling, I thought other than showing my progress on my website, I would feature it here.

I’ve kicked around new names to replace Sidewinder, so I actually want to brand this magazine differently than what I initially thought back in 2000. I hope you’ll enjoy the process and content.

Side Note: In my illustration class I was working on a quick marker rendering for a proposed advertisement for a fictional video game title. We were suppose to incorporate a memoriable line from a film. I decided go with Die Hard, with John McClane’s “Yippie Kie Yay” line. I went with a made up sequel to Rockstar Game’s Smuggler’s Run series.

Full page Advertisement for Smuggler’s Run 3 : Illegal Import