Editorial Illustration – Art Director

As I mentioned in my last post, a recent project at Uni was to pair up and choose articles to illustrate that suited each other’s work. This post outlines how I acted as Art Director/Editor for Cindy and what she came up with.

I looked through different newspapers and magazines to find an article that I thought would suit Cindy’s work, I came across one in the New Scientist about dinosaurs but thought I might find something better. I had a look on Guardian Online and found an article about a community in Tanzania that started using beehives on fences to stop elephants trampling down their villages, as a more humane way than gunshots and fireworks.

I thought this article suited Cindy’s lovely pencil drawings and characterful collage, and I was looking forward to seeing what she came up with!

These are the first sketches she sent me:

I thought they could all make quite successful illustrations, but I preferred the two on the left, the one split into four felt too busy – each of the four images might seem a bit insignificant when placed with the fairly long article. Also, with the size requirements each quarter would have been tiny. I really liked the middle one for its sense of motion and the drawing of the elephant itself is just beautiful, but I decided to go for the one on the left. I liked the idea that the honey the bees would make would be ‘elephant friendly’ because the fact that the bees are on that fence means the humans don’t have to shoot guns or light fireworks to scare the elephants away, and also the bees would only sting the elephants once and then they’d know to stay away, so the bees themselves would do very little damage to the elephants.

Also, it seemed like it was a simple enough image to work well at the size it would be once it was printed with the article, but the concept was strong enough to make the image interesting and successful as an illustration. I did, however, suggest that a honey dipper or spilt honey might make a stronger composition.

She’d told me she was going to do it as a lino print, so I was surprised when she sent me this:


It had a delicate subtlety to it that I wasn’t expecting when I read ‘lino print’ and did wonder if it was actually a monoprint. Upon close inspection, I could see the cut lino lines and thought it was absolutely exquisite. I replied to say the background should probably be a little darker to create a bit more contrast (as the image will be shrunk quite a bit when finalised) and the label needed the text. I also suggested that the colour of the honey needed to be a more solid yellow-orange colour.

She got back to me with this:

editorial 4 final image

She agreed that the darker background looked better and added the text. Although I’d assumed she’d already moved it around and chose to position it where she did because she felt it looked best there, I asked her to move the ‘friendly’ over a bit or to move both words into the centre just so I could see how it looked. She had also worked into the honey a bit more.

She sent me this:


I thought it looked great so gave her the thumbs up.

As I said in my last post, I thought the project was really enjoyable and I definitely learned a lot playing the part of Art Director – it’s given me a sense of what Art Directors do and what they might say about my work as I’m doing it in the future.

Screenshot (6)

Thanks for reading,



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