Meet the August 2019 Technical Communication Cover Artists

The topic of Transmedia, Participatory Culture, and Digital Creation for the August 2019 special issue of Technical Communication made for a challenging cover competition. From the array of impressive and intriguing illustrations submitted, the judges picked two for recognition. Here are the winning artists:

J.R. Harmon (cover illustration)


J.R. Harmon recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University with a Minor in Journalism. He is currently completing his Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition, and will soon begin a degree in elementary education. He plans to put this knowledge to use in his career as a teacher by identifying the discrepancies that plague the children of Appalachia and employing methods that transcend technological barriers.

The inspiration for J.R.’s illustration came from his multiple interests in photography, drawing, and digital design. As he explains:

“The hand (past) represents the original medium of creation as the figure remains above the image that foreshadows everything. The color pencils (present) are the tools that we use to employ new concepts. Finally, the binary code (future) represents the next stage of evolution as a way to express future ideas.”

J.R. can be reached at


Daniel McFarland (honorable mention)


Daniel McFarland is a Graduate Assistant at Eastern Kentucky University, where he is earning a Master of Arts in English, concentrating on Rhetoric and Composition. As an undergraduate, Daniel received a BA in English Literature and minored in psychology. His research interests include 20th Century American literature, women and gender studies, sexology, and the benefits of substance use in therapeutic and clinical settings.

Daniel explains the thinking that informed his illustration:

“The color choice highlights the creativity and knowledge building of the digital conversation the two figures are engaged in. They are not simply having a passive discussion, but rather creating new knowledge or communicating creative ideas. The gradient helps balance the design, as the top of the image features a darker blue to balance the weight of the dark figures at the bottom. I used the same colors but reversed the gradient for the digital brain icon I created and placed in the center of the conversation bubble. The brain looked similar to a tree, so I used the colors to distinguish the brain stem at the bottom. However, I like the ambiguity of this image, as a reader of the journal might interpret that the icon depicts a tree. Knowledge can be spread digitally in much the same way foliage is pollinated, and conversing across digital and cultural boundaries facilitates this growth and spread. Whether readers see a brain or a tree first, the circuit board structure is clear, which conveys the importance of technology.

The brain icon contains the most movement within my design, as the circuit board pieces lead in many directions a viewer could explore. This dynamic movement is like the frenetic movement of ideas and knowledge through digital outlets, as these move irregularly between countless points and people.

In an age in which government leaders are actively working to restrict collaboration and participation, by constructing physical borders and by repealing net neutrality, the affordance of technology to allow humans to share knowledge grows more important every day.”

Daniel can be reached at

To view the August 2019 issue, please visit

And, as a reminder, the deadline for upcoming submissions to the cover competition is 1 December.

For the February 2020 issue, we invite cover illustrations on the subject of ethics and social media.

For the May 2020 issue, we invite cover illustrations on the subject of consulting: challenges and opportunities.

Cover illustrations might be diagrams, drawings, photographs, collages, infographics, cartoons, comic strips, or brief graphic narratives.

For either issue, please submit your cover illustration (approximately 20×20 cm or 8×8 inches) as a high-resolution (300 dpi or better) jpg file by 1 December 2019 to with a brief explanation (100-200 words) of how your illustration addresses the cover subject.  A five-member international jury of specialists will organize anonymous review of the submissions and choose each issue’s cover illustration.  Honorable mentions will be published inside the journal.

To view previous winning cover illustrations, please visit

Leave a Reply