The Cosby Show - S06E05 Theo's Gift | Skillshare Projects

Kirk W.

Freelance illustrator and graphic designer



The Cosby Show - S06E05 Theo's Gift


================= Update 5 (Final) ==========================


(click to see full quality on droplr, skillshare seems to degrade image quality. more below, too)

3-5 sentences explaining what your work is communicating and the episode references you used for inspiration
I chose to do a poster based on a pinnical episode in the cosby show series for one of the main characters, Theo (the son) who finally, after many years of frustration and discouragement discovers his bad grades and poor work ethic are heavily influenced by the learning disorder dyslexia and not entirely his fault. I wanted to show Theo's struggles with his reading, working from a quote in the episode 'I'm sick of working hard for loser grades.' and also 'Well thats a dumb way to ask a question'.

Theo had a hard time keeping words straight when he was reading them, and his thoughts would become jumbled. I didn't base my poster off a scene per se, but instead tried to create a clever way of showing the issue he's having with learning. Him reading a quote from a famous book, and mixing the words, getting very confused, but showing his facial expression is genuinely confused and he's really trying hard.

Your best thumbnails and sketches that highlight all the different layouts and compositions you explored.

Your final sketch

Your final work - digital or analog

(right click->view image to see full size)


================= Update 4 (Week 3 complete) ================


Alright - lets see. I made a lot of modifications, many of which I sort of expected I would. Mainly minimizing the elements on the poster. There was too much going on. I kept the style and branched it further into two versions. One with halftones, and very limited colors with heavy texture, and one much more vector, with as many colors as i needed (still not many) and lots of shadows, highlights, fun and easy. No roughen or texture on that.

I also have 2 versions of the poster, text going from the book into his ear and through and then just getting confusing. It's too confusing I think. The better revised version i believe is just the words falling apart as they get closer to his mouth and him saying 'huh?' while scratching his head. I'll upload the posters and the inspiration snaps from the episode again. I'm not illustrating any scene in particular, just showing the scenes as the 'look' of theo. I loved drawing him. I hope you guys think i was close to capturing him.

This isn't necessarily my final, I'd like feedback on this.

Oh yea, i got lucky on taking a quote from a random popular book i decided on. I think it fits well to the poster, theos struggle, and its from the book. Lucky me, I don't even know how to read!

Okok below are my WIP versions and some details. Let me know!


================= Update 3 (Week 2 complete) ================


Alright I've taken the time today to start playing with my layouts, colors and type in illustrator. I've tried not to get too specific in detail just yet, very broad shapes, and you can ignore the type all together. It's only in there to know i need to deal with it sometime.

I am going with my mirror idea. I will add some more detail, shadowing, highlights etc to the shapes, but for now im trying to figure out what i should have and what should go. Is the dresser in the bg too distracting, does the mirror line up? should it be lower? all that jazz. I generally liket the way its coming along. but I think its gonna just be a matter of playing with it for a while and finding the best way to have text.

Of course the book itself, the outside part would be all symbols and shapes (im thinking this) and the inside would have normal type. I decided to use a common book because I'd like to put a famous line from to kill a mocking bird in the inside part through the mirror (dont ask me what it will be i never learned to read =\ )

Any feedback is welcome :)

=================Update 2 (Week 2 complete)=================


 Alright, so I think I've settled on two compositions and ideas. More towards one, even.

I've decided to ditch the idea of creating a whole story in the poster and leaving it more as a teaser - like a poster is supposed to do. I am not creating a comic here, but a poster, to envoke feeling, curiousity, and desire to learn more. Like a book cover.

I want to spark interest in the viewer here with Theo's struggle with his academics, and self confidence due to his learning disability he's not yet aware of. I've got two comps.

One close up of his chest up, showing his stress and sadness from all the pressure on his bad grades. A powerful quote would be 'I'm sick of working hard for loser grades' or 'Thats the thing dad, IM not satisfied' - referring to the outcome of his grades despite his countless effort.

The other would be the mirror - discussed below, where theo is reading  a book that to us looks totally normal but with a mirror over his shoulder on the wall, showing what he's seeing, which are the words all jumbled.

I thinkt he latter is a better concept, but perhaps overkill for a poster. I'll bring both pretty far and decide later.

Here are two tighter sketches, along with a sort of character study of theo on the couch, when hes talking to his mom and dad about his frustrations.

For a style on the first, I'd like to borrow from draplin for his square and iconic style poster

I'd like a closeup of theo, with some items around him in boxes that are stressing him out. 

For the mirror one, i think it'd be more freehand illustration, sort of childrens book style.


=================Update 1 (Week 1 complete)=================


Season 6 Episode 5. Theo's gift (scroll down)

The episode is about Theo discovering he has dyslexia and his overcoming.


It begins with him studying with his girlfriend, and he's acing every question. Which is a bit rare for theo. Hes totally prepared for his test. Which he turns out to do very poorly on (c-) and comes home and has a few great quotes 

'whats wrong honey?' - mom

'Me, I'm wrong. I'm sick of being stupid' - 'I'm tired of working HARD for LOSER grades.'

His parents look at the test, try to find out why he did so poorly. They ask him what went wrong and he says its trick questions. they say its just multiple choice. 

Theo goes to a counselor for help and they test him for dyslexia. They say he is having a hard time organizing his thoughts in his head. And its totally fixable.

So he comes home after running the tests and says' mom.. dad... IM DYSLEXIC!' they all jump with joy.

Vanessa his sister comes downstairs puzzled, why would they be happy about that.

Becuase finally now theo knows what is wrong with him and how to fix it. So he does. They take some attention to studying differently and he comes homw with improved grades.



I've done 7 sketches, most of them unique from one another. My favorite is 3, then 1 and 4.

  1. Ear Jumble *
  2. Helping Me
  3. Mirror *
  4. I'm Dyslexic! *
  5. Classmates
  6. Storyboard 1
  7. Storyboard 2 *

1. Words go in his ears uninturrupted but come out all jumbled, showing hes just simply not hearing it correctly. once it goes through his head it gets scrambled. One of his quotes is 'i know what i want to say, but i have a hard time organizing my thoughts in my head'

Type would be 'Thats a dumb way to ask a question' - which is another quote when he was reading a word problem.

2. Grown up theo pulling young theo through all the things that gave him a hard time surrounding academics and dyslexia. I don't like this one very much!

3. He's reading a book, that from the outside has the words correct. but in the mirror behind him, you can see over his shoulder. the words he's reading are all jumbled up. he has a bad grade on the table and the text says 'Im tired of working hard for loser grades.'

4. The climax of the episode when theo comes home from the dyslexia tests and tells his mom and dad 'guys... IM DYSLEXIC!' and they all jump for joy. his sister vanessa comes downstairs totally confused why they'd be happy about this. of course its beautiful because its theo finally laerning that hes not dumb, he just has a learning disorder that they can fix.

5. All the other classmates see the board normally, but theo's focus is all distorted, he cant see the words correctly. The words are all normal until his focused part which start to get jumbled. text would be 'thats a dumb way to ask a question' - a quote from the episode.

6. sotryboard starts with him studying with his girlfriend verbally, she says correct! because he understands thsings well, its just writing that gets him. the next is a c- (the grade he gets) next is the explaination of the words getting jumbled in his head when reading next he finds out hes dislexic, and finally good grades after studying knowing his issue.

7. The storyboard is shorter than 6. starts with him studying hard, next a bad grade, next hes frustrated saying hes sick of getting bad grades. then he finds out hes dislexic, is happy and gets better grades.


=====================First Post (Week 1)=====================


I have a few ideas here.

I'd like to create a poster that tells the journey and struggle of Theo Huxtable with his dyslexia, being labeled as lazy and bad at school when really he struggles with a disease he cant help. He overcomes the problem, works extra hard, and is rewarded with self satisfaction and better grades.


His struggle with academics, coming off lazy, dyslexia etc. His overcoming all of that and in the end becoming a teacher, helping kids and graduating from college in the end.

This is a journey with many challenges. 

I'm thinking a few different ways to do this could be

  • A path style poster, with 8 challenges along his way.
  • A path of one season for theo
  • A portrait like Ricky's Ron Swanson with maybe 8 items, each being an 'antagonist' from each of the seasons.
  • A portrait of theo for one particular season
  • A portrait of theo for one particular theo-centric episode.


Theo wiki

Pinterest board of cosby inspiration and ill be doing an art direction one too later

Cosby episode reminder (So i can go through it and pick out theo centric episodes)


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