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.

My Hotel-Condo Illustration for Lodging Magazine

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.

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.

Latest Illustration for a Hotel Magazine

My most recent illustration for Lodging Magazine accompanied another one of those hard-to-picture articles – it spoke about a lot of thought processes and planning but few concrete images presented themselves. The article explained how hotel management should handle an employee who had been injured on the job and was now returning to work, often in a diminished capacity until the employee was fully recovered.

I’ve found that when the subject matter is rather heavy and step-by-step, sometimes the way to make a more lighthearted illustration is to think in terms of a board game. I used several of the many tips in the article to construct a game with a manager driving an employee on the journey back to full capacity. First a rough doodle to lay out the path –

which I refined a bit, then transferred to illustration board –


and then painted in bright acrylic washes for the finished art.

Fortune Teller Illustration for a Hotel Magazine

lodging_predictiveinsights_detailMy illustration for this month’s Lodging Magazine accompanies an article on predictive maintenance. Because hotel profits depend on providing comfort and convenience day-in and day-out to their many customers, it is all-important to maintain room amenities and essential machinery, such as heating, air-conditioning, door locks and washing equipment. The maintenance staff must therefore know when to replace worn fixtures or parts before they break down, to keep equipment at top performance with no interruptions.

The editor suggested a fortune teller theme, so I sketched a medium and some maintenance workers peering over a crystal ball. Inside the sphere I drew various hotel equipment and repair pieces floating around –

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The editor approved it as is, so I traced it onto cold press illustration board, drew in the characters in prisma pencil and painted it with acrylic washes. The finished seance, calling forth the spirits of departed hotel machinery, is below.

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My Illustration for Cultivating a Culture

My latest illustration for Lodging magazine deals with ways to keep hotel work environments positive and free of harassment for employees. The editor did not send me the full article but read me the gist of it and its keywords, and she suggested ‘building’ a culture with employees stacking blocks; I sketched that quickly and also tried a sketch of employees growing a garden, which they liked better.

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Lucky I’ve done a lot of work for Burpee Seed company! I’ve drawn plenty of garden scenes for their catalogs over the years, that’s why I thought the ‘teepee’ structure, made with poles and runner bean plants, would work in this scene. I tightened up the drawing and sent them a rough color sketch –

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And then transferred it to illustration board, drew it with prisma pencil and painted in with acrylic paint washes.

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Illustration for a Data Security Article

My latest illustration for Lodging magazine, which focuses on the hotel industry, was about recent changes in the European Union’s laws that could affect US hotel regulations in the future. In Europe if someone stays at a hotel, that guest’s information, by law,  cannot be used for marketing purposes or disseminated to third parties without that guest’s written approval. A guest must opt-in to have their personal  data used, or even held past their stay at the hotel. This is different from the policies of US hotels, but because guests often come from abroad, US hotels have to be aware of these legal restrictions.

My illustration started as a sketch of a line of people checking in, each with some kind of  luggage that ‘held’ their secure data.

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The editor approved this concept, so I tightened up the drawing a bit and blocked in some color with colored pencils –

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– and then transferred the drawing to illustration board, drew in the line in prisma pencil, and painted it in with acrylic paint washes. This one went fast compared to the last few illustrations, which had lots of moving parts!

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and I’ll add a brief plug – I now have my St. Patrick’s Day cards on my Etsy page, if you click right HERE . They have my illustration of a quaint Irish cottage in the spring – so please take a look if you have a special person to send a lovely Irish wish to on St. Patrick’s Day. (And as always I have my Eagle Scout congratulations cards, and panda piano notecards too.)