Create three visually consistent bills that are tied together by a common story
The first step in redesigning currency was to figure out the story that would tie the different denominations together. The two routes I came up with were a currency for the board game Monopoly that would feature images of the locations in the game, ranked based on value. The concept I ended up pursuing further was a currency for the USA that highlighted heroes from American folklore. I paired each of the three figures–Pecos Bill, Alfred Bulltop Stormalong, and Paul Bunyan–with pictures of landscapes.
The inclusion of natural imagery was inspired by the early American Romantic painters who worked to portray the land as powerful as well as beautiful. Through the combination of these legendary figures with powerful landscapes I hope to convey an exaggerated version of the way American pioneers are depicted; strong men who braved the elements to tame the Wild West and beyond. This comes as a response to the (well-deserved) criticisms of the current American currencies which proudly displays historical figures with less than ideal pasts. Many of these figures have been idealized to a mythical extent, such as George Washington who "never told a lie." This new currency features actual myths.
Because the "story" behind my bills deals with fictional characters it was difficult sourcing images that weren't already highly stylized. Instead I compiled reference collages for the figures and drew them in ink. I scanned these using Adobe Capture to produce vectorized versions. This made it much easier to scale them up and down as I was working on the compositions of the bills. The landscapes on the back were created by using filters on found images. The final compositions were assembled using Adobe Illustrator and measure 3.5" x 6".