My most recent illustration for Lodging Magazine was for an article on how to interpret and tweak a hotel’s website statistics to convert more online viewers into customers.
This was assigned right before I left for a vacation, with finished art due right after I got back. I had to draw a very quick idea to get approved before I left; I thought of people reading a website and walking right through a door on the screen to go into the hotel, and luckily the editors approved.
I added the web technicians under the laptop, sliding around on those dollies that car mechanics use under cars, to indicate the tinkering that might go on to improve the site.
Because of the tight schedule I only had time to tighten up the drawing this weekend and go right to the finish – no color sketch this time, so I kept the colors to a limited palette.
When my husband and I used to visit our son at his college in Washington, DC, the hotel we always stayed at had a courtesy van to take lodgers to the metro stop. We always thought it funny that we never once were able to catch that van at the times it ran, we were always too early or too late. We thought, when did they run it, like 2 hours a day?
I think the latest article I illustrated for Lodging Magazine explained the reason for this. The piece is about courtesy vans and what an enormous liability they are for hotels – most have a high center of gravity so they can unfortunately roll over easily, and if involved in an accident, there could be multiple injuries since they usually seat 10 or more people. The article suggests some strategies to make the vans less hazardous for hotels to offer, but the general message of the article seems to be, vans really are too expensive to keep safe, so hotels should consider discontinuing this amenity.
The editor gave me a good suggestion for the illustration: to show passengers about to board a hotel van, but each is protected by a big bubble. I took it a bit farther, wrapping the passengers in bubble wrap, wearing helmets, and the van has all sorts of Caution Tape and flashing lights to make it unmissable to other traffic. I made a rough sketch –
Then I tightened that up, and made a rough color sketch from a printout of it –
And then drew it with black prisma pencil and painted it with acrylic washes for the finish.
Getting a jump on next spring, the Lenape Chamber Ensemble asked me to draw up the flyer for their March Children’s Concert.
The Schubert piece that the Ensemble will play is entitled Rosamunde, which refers to the legend of a princess who lives for years disguised as a shepherdess. I decided to base my drawing on that, so I sketched some sheep playing the various instruments needed –
and shepherdess Rosamunde with a crown of flowers and sitting on a tree-throne listening on.
And then I combined them into the layout for the flyer, below. I do recommend these concerts, they are fun for kids and adults alike!
My friend Diane Crews founded and runs Tafe (Theater Arts for Everyone) in York, PA, which produces theater for families and for people of all ages and abilities. Diane asked me to create an illustration to promote her show that travels for various school performances in the area, The Princess and the Pauper, which she adapted from Mark Twain’s classic
I sketched a first quick design in pencil –
And after getting some input from Diane I changed the expressions a bit and felt it would read better as a contained logo if the title were enclosed in an arched gateway –
And with her approval, I drew & painted it on illustration board for the finish.
Sometimes articles that deal with the specific concerns of a complicated industry are tricky to illustrate; and that was my experience with the current article given to me, dealing with the complexities of hotel brands that develop mixed-use buildings, such as a hotel that has both rental units and condos.
The article went into detail about the division of operating costs and maintenance, and compliance with project standards – not the most scintillating ideas to draw! I thought the idea of a mixed-use building in itself might be enough to enhance the rather dry material, so I submitted one rough pencil sketch idea:
One side of the building has an ocean shore in the background with a lighthouse, hang-glider and jet-skier, and lots of people entering in beachware and tourist clothing. The other side has a city background with a playground for children, and into that side are pouring families with shopping bags and business people returning from work. The editor liked it so I drew the sketch tighter:
and then did a quick color sketch with colored pencils –
The color sketch made the painting of the finish go much faster since it let me plot out the 3 or 4 main colors for the palette. The finish is below, drawn in black prisma and painted in acrylic washes.
The Bucks County Writers Workshop and with the Doylestown Historical Society are developing a historical literary magazine by local authors, called Neshaminy. If you live in our area you know that the Neshaminy Creek is a tributary of the Delaware River and runs for about 40 miles, entirely through Bucks County.
Don Swaim, an author and radio personality, is the head of the BCWW, and it happens that probably 20 years ago my father became part of a writing club that Don also headed, so I was acquainted with him. When I heard about the project I asked if there were any need for an illustration or two in the magazine, and Don quickly assented, so I’ve drawn a few requests for him.
The first issue of Neshaminy, which should be published in early October, features a never-before-published interview with world-renowned author James Michener, conducted by Don. I drew this ink wash portrait of Michener for that piece, based on several photos I researched of the author.
Don thought a painting of the Neshaminy would be a nice frontispiece for the magazine, so I took some photos in the Castle Valley area of the creek. I imagined the art spilling over from left page to right, as in this first pencil sketch, base on my photos —
I made a tonal sketch with gray markers, below, and added a Lenape Indian in the distance, drinking from the creek. The Lenape lived in this area before Europeans settled. The word ‘Neshaminy’ means the place where we drink twice in the Lenape language.
The final ink wash painting for the frontispiece is below.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the published magazine, because at a launch party at the Historical Society a few nights ago we heard a bit about the prize-winning entries into the magazine, and they all sound like wonderfully interesting stories, some fiction, some non-fiction, some poetry. I’ve been asked to do one more illustration for this issue, and I’ll write about that as soon as it is finished.
My latest article for Lodging magazine, a trade journal for the hotel industry, involved a new method being employed for training housekeeping and other hotel services: video games.
To keep employees engaged and improve their business, hoteliers are starting to use interactive games to teach skills – a kind of soft training that creates less stress than task-oriented drills. The example given to me was: workers are shown a picture of a spotless room and one with noticeable imperfections, and are asked to pick out what’s wrong with the second photo. Prizes are awarded for correct answers. In the process, staff members learn, in a fun and interactive way, what to watch for when they clean rooms for real.
I sent three very rough pencil sketches with ideas. The first was pretty much an illustration of that example –
In the second I imagined pinball games with funny hotel-related names –
And in the third, a video game screen with employees acting like Mario Brothers characters –
They liked the last one, so I tightened up the little character drawings –
And then borrowed colors and actions from classic video games. Here is the finish –