Lobby Carpet Test Lab

My latest art for an article in Lodging magazine is another scene of controlled chaos, somewhat like my Rube Goldberg drawing and the human gameboard art I drew a while back.  This article detailed how hotel managers must carefully examine all new furnishings when shopping for upgrades, to determine which new purchases will wear well and provide the best return on investment for them.

My editor said this illustration could be kind of humorous, and she suggested something like a lab where scientists ‘test’ carpets with outrageous means, like using a jackhammer on them.  I loved that idea and so sketched that and a few other ideas in pencil.  I added some researchers looking at a sample carpet under a microscope, another examining damaged carpets, and one trying to wear down the carpet on a treadmill. At first I put her character in stilettos, but they didn’t read well in a small size, so I switched them to heavy boots for the final.lodging_lookinggood_sk1

The editor approved, so I did put quick color on a copy of the sketch, in colored pencil. I had to research drawing several items I don’t draw often, like the jackhammer, microscope, acetylene torch and fire extinguisher –


then I transferred the drawing to illustration board, outlined in prisma pencil and painted it in with acrylic paint washes.  The finished art:


Rube Goldberg Illustration for a Magazine Article

lodging_recovering_detailIf you don’t know about Rube Goldberg and his hilarious contraptions, you should look him up. There are actually Rube Goldberg contests around the world each year and the videos from it show how much fun his ideas inspired.

I thought of Goldberg when I was sent the latest article for Lodging magazine to illustrate. The article had few visual ideas in it – it detailed many steps that a hotel owner should go through to file insurance claims when a natural disaster forces the temporary closure of the hotel. Not exactly a fun scenario to draw! But the many tips the article gave to go from a hotel closed for repairs to a business up and running again sparked the image in my head of a wonderful but delicately balanced machine.

I started with some ideas based on what I saw in other Rube Goldberg contraptions and drew some rough pencil sketches – funnels, flywheels, ramps, hammers dropping –


and I had to work in a number of the terms used in the article. The real contraptions are often laid out on a long horizontal plane, but I had a limited rectangle to work within, so I found the trickiest part was cramming a number of components into the model and actually making them conceivably work.

I finalized the basic sketch to the components below. I just had to include the ‘Drinking Bird’ on the top far right – that always seems to say ‘Rube Goldberg’ to me  –


Then I did a value sketch to clarify objects & people, and got the editor”s approval –


and painted it in bright colors, doing all the wording on a separate layer on top of a scan of the art. The sequence of the action starts from the left: the man rolls the billiard ball down the chute; it plops into the red cup which pushes down on the scissors, cutting the string; the string releases the hammer downwards which hits the end of the spoon, shooting the yellow ball up the cone, up into the green tunnel and down the yellow spiral; the ball hits the dominoes, which topple one by one till the last falls down on the clothespin; the clothespin opens, letting go of the balloon string; the balloon rises, hits the paddle which lifts and causes the red billiard ball to roll onto the Drinking Bird’s head, which goes down; his tail snaps up flipping the switch that turns on the Open sign.


Illustration for a Hotel’s First-String

My latest illustration for Lodging Magazine is for an article titled “The A-Team, ” and discusses how strict training for a hotel’s front-desk personnel is of prime importance, since that staff is mainly the first point of contact for customers.

The article describes tips for making the front desk staff the best they can possibly be, one of the tips being a hotel manager’s constant presence and communication on what the staff does right and wrong.  I had two ideas for the illustration, the first being a depiction of the TV characters from The A Team as a front desk staff , with a  manager hovering in the background –


and the second showing some managers judging a front desk’s performance numerically a la Dancing with the Stars –


I thought it would be pretty funny to put Mr. T into hotel staff uniform, with his bling spilling out, but the editor said her office mates laughed more at the judging illustration, so we went with that.  I redrew the groups of figures separately a bit tighter –


lodging_ateam_sketchtighterI did a very rough color sketch with colored pencils on a small printout of the line drawing, to get my colors balanced.

Then I transferred the drawing to illustration board, outlined in prisma pencil, and painted it with acrylic paint washes. I always vary the skin and hair tones in groups like this to get a good mix of types.


Board Game for Hoteliers

The latest article I’ve illustrated for Lodging Magazine explains the dilemma some hoteliers have when presented with a PIP – that’s a Property Improvement Plan – which can be expensive and time-consuming. Some hotel owners opt to sell or ‘flip’ their property to a new flag (hotel brand) or sell it at this point, processes which have their own issues. The editor wanted me to illustrate the quandary of choosing between these options.

Two fun ideas quickly came to mind 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, with 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 run at Pip or Flip:


The editor liked the game board and so I drew it up a bit tighter, with quotes and tips from the article:

1lodging_piporflip_sk3With some suggestions 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 –




Latest illustration for a trade magazine

The most recent article I illustrated for Lodging Magazine deals with a much more serious subject than usual: human trafficking. Unfortunately the hotel industry sometimes becomes inadvertently connected with this crime because traffickers use the anonymity of room rental to escape law enforcement. The article suggests ways to make hotel staff conscious of suspicious behavior by room renters, while staying within regulations of privacy.

1lodging_traffickingtypes_sk1One such suggestion is inviting local law enforcement to present information personally to the staff, so questions can be answered directly. I tried going with this angle for the illustration – my initial pencil sketch:

The editor approved it and I did a rough color sketch in colored pencil, also approved.  1lodging_traffickingtypes_colorsk1The editor did make the comment that everyone looked ‘too happy in my sketches for such a serious subject, with which I agreed. So I gave everyone more thoughtful expressions in the finished art.

This illustration, like most of my others for these assignments, is drawn in black prisma pencil then painted with acrylic paint washes, like watercolor.