Guna Foundation is a non-profit organization that has produced award-winning documentaries broadcast on stations such as PBS, relying on individual donations to support its work. This was the first time Guna Foundation started an annual fund campaign, for which I designed the logo, storyboards, illustration assets, and part of the animation for the promotional video and tree that acted as the goal chart and identity of the campaign.
The design of the fundraising tree was modeled after various trees found in Tibetan thangkas. The tree contains one hundred leaves, each representing $1,000 that will be animated in as the campaign progresses towards its goal of raising $100,000 within a year. The magnolia flowers echoes lotuses, an auspicious symbol in Tibetan Buddhism, which was designed to blossom when the campaign successfully reaches it goal. The tree also was also included in the campaign video.
I provided the storyboards for this two- to three-minute campaign video. While the majority of the artwork came from preexisting Tibetan thangkas, I also provided additional illustrations including an original bird that would reappear throughout the video in order to tie the narrative together more strongly. The animation was done in AfterEffects by Pauline Yu and myself.
The director of Guna Foundation's name "Pema" means lotus in Tibetan. The director and I looked to the flower that Padmapani, the bodhisattva who embodies compassion, holds as depicted in the Ajanta Cave murals in India. This mural, which was painted over four centuries ago, is one of the most highly revered Buddhist murals in the world and considered a masterpiece as enlisted by the UNESCO world heritage site. An inconspicuous hrih, the seed syllable (or the quintessence) of the Amitabha mantra, is positioned on top of a pearl inside the flower with rays emanating around it in blue. The challenge was to make this image, laden with sacred iconography, look beautiful and unpretentious to a modern audience. The soft palette of watercolors against a simple background helped achieve this, and an elongated stem was incorporated for a whimsical touch.