I’m reading the classic children’s story by Kenneth Grahame The Wind in the Willows, and feel compelled to sketch the book’s abundantly delightful characters. Here’s pencil sketches of Rat busily composing his poetry, and Badger leading Mole and Rat through his warren, after their near-disaster in the late night snowstorm.
More sketches to come from the thoroughly charming world of Mr. Grahame.
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.
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.
There are colored pencils made by Derwent that are soluble in water, so you can draw with them then paint with a wet brush to turn your scribbles more into color washes. I used them for this little sketch of our neighborhood park, years ago when there were a number of lovely pink dogwoods blooming in the spring.
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 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.
My latest illustration for Lodging was for an article advising hotel owners to try to customize employees’ benefit packages to suit their individual needs. The idea arose of a stockroom full of various benefits, which were mentioned specifically in the story. My rough pencil sketch –
and a tighter tracing –
For the final drawing I thought of ‘personalizing’ the boxes the employees’ were using with little headshots of each owner. The finish is done with prisma pencil and acrylic paint washes on illustration board.