Teen Wolf Season 5 Promo Art

To help promote the upcoming fifth season of Teen Wolf, MTV commissioned a group of artists, including myself. The challenge was to illustrate either of the show’s taglines for the season: “Watch your pack, watch your back” or “Bad blood will reign”.

In MTV’s creative brief, they requested the artwork 1) have a “dark tone”, and 2) incorporate black blood as a representation of the evil threatening the pack throughout the fifth season. (In case you’re unfamiliar with Teen Wolf, “the pack” is a combination of supernatural and human high school friends.)

The final requirements were that the artwork be created within a 16-inch square and use a limited color palette of warm grays and cool grays with an accent red.

My Visual Solutions

Since it was the friendship between the main character Scott and his best friend Stiles that first attracted me to Teen Wolf, I created two colored pencil style illustrations featuring these characters separately.

Drawing of Scott's Eye with Fractured Clock Monocle

Watch Your Pack Scott

Illustrating the first half of the season tagline, Watch Your Pack Scott is an iconic image combining a close-up of Scott’s eye with a clock monocle.

The requisite black blood coats and oozes down the fractured eyewear while the timepiece itself is set to five minutes before midnight — similar to the infamous “Doomsday Clock”. This detail is symbolic of time running out for the pack’s high school years and from the looming threat from the Dread Doctors.

Meanwhile, at the center of the the timepiece is Scott’s “wolfed out” red eye driving the hands of the clock like a gear. It symbolizes how Alpha Scott is working this season to keep his pack together while everything is falling apart around him.

Drawing of Stiles with Dread Doctor Looming Behind

Watch Your Back Stiles

Watch Your Back Stiles is a literal interpretation of the second half of the season tagline. The image is seen as a reflection upon the requisite black blood while it oozes down a brushed steel surface. In the foreground, Stiles wears a concerned look while a villainous Dread Doctor lurks in the background holding up a scalpel.

detail of Stiles

detail from Watch Your Back Stiles

Promoting Teen Wolf Season 5

My artwork, along with that of eight other artists, was displayed at the Art Directors Club in New York from June 25–July 2, 2015. The opening reception was attended by a packed crowd including the show’s creator Jeff Davis, the lead actor Tyler Posey (Scott McCall), and approximately 400 guests.

Swann Smith artwork at Teen Wolf Exhibit in NYC

my two illustrations were among twenty-three pieces hanging at the ADC galleries

illustration by Swann Smith in Time Square

“Watch Your Back Stiles” was also displayed in Time Square on June 28, 2015


After having worked with MTV the year before to create the Teen Wolf Bestiary, the experience of creating these promotional illustrations was once again a pleasure. To begin, MTV is very clear about expressing the objectives they wish to accomplish with their promotions. After that, they give artists freedom to interpret, imagine, and execute those objectives to the best of their creative powers.