Publishing Illustration Book Cover Design Interior Book  InDesign

Project Year

Jason Kernevich

Y.O.L.O (You Only Live Once) is a comic book that touches on,
self-Identity, self-perception, depression, and anxiety.  This story teaches self-love while providing advice and techniques for dealing
with mental health issues. You may not always be happy, but you only live once so it's best to live your life to the fullest.


(click the image to get a closer look)

"YOLO (You Only Live Once)" is a story that delves into the theme of self-love, following a group of angsty teens in 2008 living in Philadelphia, PA.

The comic aims to address common mental health issues faced by teens, shedding light on these struggles while also offering reassurance that individuals are not alone. The color palette reflects the dark and muted emotions associated with mental health challenges, with a touch of red symbolizing danger or harm.


My research for this project was inspired by my love for Japanese manga and my recent interest in American comic books. I've always admired how easily accessible and immersive comic books can be, with their ability to convey real and relatable stories. As an artist, I aspire to create work that elicits a similar response in others.

Having a comic book that could have helped me navigate many of my early mental health challenges is something I wish I had while growing up in the early 2000s. Despite the recent movement towards mental health awareness, I noticed a lack of comic books or graphic novels that delve into the complexities of young people facing a variety of issues simultaneously, without access to help. Incorporating this reality into my project felt like an important contribution to the world.

Moodboard and Sketches

When starting a comic book for the first time, establishing your characters is very important. For Y.O.L.O ethnic backgrounds, gender, and mental health issues all needed to feel intentional and relatable. I began by making a mood board for each character and sketching them. These sketches went from bust drawings to full body, to finished turn-around sheets. Having the characters in a turnaround is essential to see how the character will look in 3D space despite being a 2D image. Similar to animation, this character turnaround is an important reference sheet that will help the character look the same throughout the whole book.

Character Rooms

Each character’s room plays an important role in providing a glimpse into their life. Different aspects of the room can hint at their living conditions and social class. Families with a bit more money will have wood floors instead of carpet, and their rooms will look less cluttered, appearing more neat and clean. Furniture and decor not only play a role in setting a time period but also add to the character’s personality. You can infer what type of music a character is into based on the band posters on their wall, as well as their hobbies based on what they keep on their dresser or TV stand.
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