‘Book Smart’ Illustration

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.

New Illustration for Lodging Magazine

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.

An Illustration for Gamification

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 –

Newest Illustration for Lodging Magazine

The most recent article I was sent from the editor at Lodging Magazine was once more a rather nebulous topic to depict concretely. It detailed that when mergers occur in the hotel industry, a not uncommon phenomenon I gather, the transition period is very important and if mishandled can result in a lot of staff disruptions. The hotel’s general manager and HR department are key in steadying the ship, and the article advises that they prioritize onboarding, data system upgrades, compliance and operational efficiency.

Quite a jumble of complex ideas! I came up with two simpler versions of this situation and sent them as pencil sketches. The first was the proverbial tangled ball of twine, with a general manager directing staff how to de-tangle.

The second, which I liked better, was a Rubik’s cube turning, with people climbing, clutching and interacting on it as it twisted. I thought this pictured a number of the things the article touched on: the churn of the merger, how staff feel displaced, the uncertainty, and the need to keep communicating.

The editors liked this one too, so I traced it onto illustration board, tightened up the people, and painted it in with those bright Rubik’s cube colors.

My Latest Illustration for a Hotel Magazine

My latest assignment from Lodging magazine was an article about the difficulty in finding good employees in the hotel industry, and tips for holding onto those dependable and conscientious ones. I personally found the article lacking in solid solutions for these problems, which made finding an idea to illustrate more challenging.

I did think of two scenes leading up to the hiring of an employee, so I sketched them roughly in pencil. The first showed an interviewee being coaxed by other employees as well as the personnel manager to accept the new job.

The second showed a woman passing a lot of Help Wanted signs on a hotel, with a manager leaning out the door to tap her on the shoulder, and hopefully to tap her skills too.

The editor liked the second idea more, and asked me to switch the people so a female manager was leaning out to tap a male hire on the shoulder. I sent a revised pencil sketch.

I made a quick color sketch using colored pencils on a photocopy of the sketch.

I drew this onto cold press illustration board in black prisma pencil, then painted it with acrylic washes. The finish is below.

New Illustration for a Trade Magazine

The latest article given to me by the editor of Lodging Magazine involves manager tips for making a workplace a good environment for employee mental health. The key was offering support to workers in terms of acknowledging outstanding work, explaining employee goals in a clear way and setting an example for employees to model. I came up with an arched bridge as being the means of support, with the recommended action points spelled out on the pillars.

First I drew a pencil sketch with loose tones blocked in –

With the idea approved, I traced the drawing onto illustration board, outlined in prisma pencil and painted it with acrylic washes, using the sketch as reference to keep the values consistent.

Illustration for Lodging Magazine

My latest illustration for an instructive article for the hotel industry’s Lodging Magazine involved rating the entire guest experience at a hotel – at least that’s my understanding, since I did not get to read this article. The editorial staff was running behind on deadlines, so they just gave me an idea to draw & I did it! Sometimes that’s how publishing goes.

They asked for a drawing showing the process of a hotel customer booking a room through her smartphone, receiving confirmation, arriving at the front desk, chatting with hotel staff in the room, and then writing a review of her experience. I started with a rough pencil sketch –

and tightened it up to show the editor –

She approved this and I drew it on coldpress illustration board in prisma pencil, then painted it with acrylic washes. The finished art is below.