Designing SuperHeroes for Children's Advocacy Days


What makes someone a superhero? When the term “superhero” is mentioned, it evokes images of characters flying around on a television screen, catchy theme songs and Saturday morning cartoons. In recent years, superhero movies have grossed huge amounts of money at the box office. Why? Superhero stories are popular because people like to watch the good guys save the day; evil never prevails in these elaborate productions. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is heroic in its own right. Although their good deeds haven’t been displayed on the big screen, the TCCY has made sizable strides in advocating for the world’s most defenseless victims: children.

Kyla Harris Phakhailathavong, an illustration student at Nossi College of Art, created the promotional poster for Children’s Advocacy Days 2015. The theme is “The Advocators: Everyday Superheroes…Everyday!” and Kyla’s comic book-style poster perfectly conveys the TCCY’s mission of rescuing at-risk children; superheroes clad in brightly-colored costumes explode from the poster and calls each viewer to action.

Advocators_KPhakThe process of creating this image involved countless revisions and many hours spent manipulating its design. From the beginning, Kyla approached this project as an opportunity to refine her illustration skills and to become better prepared for her future as a publisher of graphic novels. When asked what she gained from this experience, Kyla emphasized the importance of finding a balance between her own artistic vision and the client’s expectations. “You have to be patient…you have to learn to speak up for yourself as an artist and a professional,” she said. Being a student at Nossi has not only allowed Kyla to gain technical knowledge, but has also presented her with invaluable real-world experience. Her contribution not only helps her to experience personal growth, but also grants the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth to continue its heroic work.

The mission of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is to improve the quality of life for children and families. Members of the TCCY provide leadership and support for child advocates so that Tennessee’s youth may realize their full potential. Each year the TCCY hosts “Children’s Advocacy Days,” a themed conference featuring presentations from legislators and state agencies as well as discussions led by child advocacy groups. Nossi is proud to have one of its students play a role in this year’s conference.

To view Kyla Harris’ artwork, visit Follow Kyla on Twitter @kvongart