Illustrating a magazine article

This is one of those posts about the kind of job you do. I do graphic design and also quite a bit of illustrating – the hand-drawn kind.

One client I have is a trade mag for the hotel industry, for which I illustrate an article a month. I don’t know a whole lot about that industry, but when the editor emails me the article she answers any questions I have. Recently an article concerned the dilemma some hoteliers face when their brand headquarters demands they implement a PIP – that’s a Property Improvement Plan. Some hotel owners go through with the PIP to upgrade their hotel, but others opt to sell the hotel outright or ‘flip’ it to a new flag (hotel brand). Each of these choices has its own issues, expenses and time-consumption. The editor wanted me to illustrate the quandary of choosing between these options.

I try to keep my illustrations fun if I can, because the articles can be a bit dry. Two ideas came to mind for this article and I sketched them roughly in pencil – a game show harkening back to Let’s Make A Deal, with Curtain Number 1, 2 and 3, and an agonized hotel owner on the spot:

– and also a board game idea, with owners losing a turn or skipping ahead to win at their dizzying game of Pip or Flip:

I email these sketches to the editor. Now, when presented with more than one idea, you can always count on the editor to choose the most complicated drawing possible. Of course, the editor liked the game board! so I drew it up a bit tighter, with quotes and tips from the article:

After I got some edits from the editor, I drew it on illustration board in prisma pencil, and started painting in bright gameboard colors in acrylic washes –

and splashed in a loose color background for the finished art –

I scan & email this as a jpg to the editor, and they publish from that.

I’m working on another rather dry article now – how hoteliers can streamline their insurance applications if a natural disaster causes a lot of damage to their property. It’s a got mess of terms, moving parts, hoops to jump through – hmmm – time for a Rube Goldberg machine!



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