'The Devil and the Dark Water' | Motion trailer by Thy Mai

'The Devil and the Dark Water' | Motion trailer by Thy Mai

'The Devil and the Dark Water' | Motion trailer by Thy Mai

Thy Mai is an up-and-coming designer, illustrator and animator who is currently finishing up her degree at the University of Technology, Sydney. As part of her course Thy was tasked with creating a short motion trailer for Bloomsbury Publishing promoting Stuart Turton's new book 'The Devil and the Dark Water’. Having worked on issue 9 as part of our design team we took this chance to chat with her about the thinking that went on behind her motion trailer.

Tell us about this trailer, how did you decide on the visual style?

This trailer was made as a university project for Bloomsbury Publishing promoting Stuart Turton’s new book ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’. The visual direction was inspired by characteristics of the 17th century in which this story takes place—particularly the Baroque Art period. Using digital illustration and vintage textures, I tried to imitate the ornate lifestyle and strength of the characters, as well as capture the epic sense of adventure and alluring mystery of this narrative.

Is this your first time creating a motion trailer like this, how was the process of putting it together?

I have worked with motion graphics previously, however not in the form of a book trailer. I love exploring the diverse forms that motion graphics can be applied to so this was a particularly unique opportunity to utilise both my illustrative and motion skills in an epic-style book trailer. I feel like–as all design projects go–I was very overwhelmed by the endless visual pathways possible for this project, and how I would communicate these ideas through the endless world of motion graphics. But when I realised I wanted to draw visual and conceptual inspiration from the Baroque Art period, the process became much smoother. In this way, I could focus on developing strong style frames using detailed and engaging illustrations that could be animated using basic motion techniques. And then of course– iterating, iterating and more iterating!

Do you see yourself doing more of this kind of design work?

Yes, definitely! Motion graphics is a field that is still quite unknown to me, there are so many amazing animating techniques and conventions to explore which is very exciting! I just love seeing images—particularly my own hand-made illustrations—in motion because it feels somewhat magical to me.

Is there something you’ve been working on (motion/animations) apart from this trailer?

Not at the moment, I am currently carrying four subjects to smash out my final semester of uni so things have been a bit hectic! However, I do try and have little side hustles so I’ve just been working on comics for the UTS magazine Vertigo and some logo designs for a friend’s charity event. But I’m hoping to find some time to work on more motion projects once the craziness subsides a bit!

Other illustration work by Thy—


Trash comic by Thy Mai (part 1 of 4)



Character illustrations (Man-Gosteen, Pasta Pals, Banana with baseball bat)

You can follow Thy on Instagram at @mytea.design.

Thy also worked with us on Ligature Journal Issue 9