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.)

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 –

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

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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 –

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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  –

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

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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.

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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 –

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

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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 –

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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.

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