Information designer and visual communications expert with over 30 years experience. Specialising in science communications. Available for freelance, contract work, consultancy and training. Specialising in visual storytelling for media organisation and corporations to improve the clarity and efficiency of their visual communications and can provide hands-on training, seminars and consulting
Following on from some of my black and white gardening illustrations here I thought I would also show some of my colour illustrations first produced for New Scientist in 1990!.
The process was very different and everything was hand drawn, or in this case hand drawn and then painted using watercolours onto watercolour paper…registration marks were placed on the paper…
…we then used an acetate overlay to draw on arrows showing water flow – specified to be 60% Cyan for the printer – plus a front view drawn in ink – to be black. The text was typed and printed from a computer and stuck on this layer using Cow Gum. Registration marks to align with the layer below…
…another layer of acetate was used to show the water flow arrows (60% Cyan) over the top of the black lines black pointers for the text…
…any other particular instructions for the printer were then included on these layers. Only then was it sent off for proofing and printing, sometimes never to be seen until the magazine arrived in the office!
Here is a very bad image (only one I could find) of the printed version from February 1990 along with a hand drawn graphic showing transport costs.
Another example here, showing the same process just as a comparison…
Just an excuse to show some of my old work before the daily use of a Apple Mac was involved.
I was working as a freelancer when this was done and I was involved with the gardening section of the Sunday Times at the time. It was always good to see my illustrations on the back page of the garden section. My contact and gardening expert at the time was Graham Rose.
This was taken from sketches I made of actual gardens in-situ (mostly London based) and then drawn up to scale and design on CS10 paper and Rotring pens, with lots of scraping out of ink blots!. The numbers were glued on using the wonderful Cow Gum.
inset to show some of the detail…
and again, an inset to show the detail.
More to come in #2 with watercolours, Tomatoes, overlays, CMYK markups, and a Nautilus…
I always sketch my ideas to help me to understand the subject matter, to come up with concepts and ideas for the visuals, and to be able to look back and see what my thoughts and ideas were. Here are a few from a recent commission from Scientific American, published in the November 2018 issue on the subject of gravitational lensing.
The venue was the Angel Orensanz Foundation building in Lower East Side – a Gothic Revival synagogue built in 1849. A fantastic building to have the awards.
Congratulations to all the winners and to all that entered. As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, there were almost 900 entries and getting those down to a reasonable number to be shortlisted was a major job.
It was a pleasure to meet old friends and lots of new, rising stars in the field of visualisation and to enjoy lots of chat, wine and viz biscuits!
“one part of the graphic showing the number of head-first births and the box under the graphic saying ‘ECV decreased not having a head-first birth…’ was a bit difficult to comprehend at first, being a double negative and so, I have redesigned it a little to show the positive rather than the negative (although that may have been your purpose in this instance), I have also added coloured marking on the text, also to help the reader”
and my de-designed graphics
The comments were taken on-board and the redesigned graphic was produced here.
An improvement but still lots to do looking at other graphics on the page.
I have been using Flourish.app for a few weeks now and thought I should showcase some of the chart types it has and what you can do with it using a small data set from the NHS, looking at hospital admissions from drug use.
Same data just different ways of using it and showing what is going on using the stories format.
I see this many times a week when ‘infographics’ are shared on social media.
This was shared on LinkedIn recently..what’s missing?
What’s missing is the data, in a visual way. Too much time has been spent on producing the nice icons (which are important for context), making them stand out in white on a dark blue background and the text is white as well. The tile of the graphic is ‘Number of years it took for each product to reach 50 million users’ – so where is are the number of years? They are written numerically, which is ok, but are a smaller font size and produce in a lighter blue on a dark blue background.
The graphic is hiding the data, the important piece of the graphic. That data should be seen first, or at least, seen easily. So why hide it.
Infographic = information + graphic
Here’s the data produced in a visual form. IMHO a much neater way of seeing what the graphic is supposed to be showing.
The icons can be added to it to give context if needed, but the graphic should show the information (data) first.
I worked on this last year and it was proposed to update the graphic to keep with the original style. Updating the data and storytelling between the signing of the Paris agreement last year and the Marrakesh plan of action this year. The graphic was launched at the Marrakesh COP22 conference on climate change.
I have just ventured into the loft of our house (not been up there for ages) and discovered a couple of my old portfolios covered in dust, and so decided to have a look…it brings back many great memories.
I trained as a medical, botanical and scientific illustrator and because of my background I often talk about the importance of sketching ideas and thoughts before diving into any infographic and, I suppose, this is one of the reasons that I think this way.
but thought I should back it up with some more very early infographics and illustrations. All hand painted watercolours and pencil work and some using the trusty Rotring pens and CS10 paper.
Poster: A Guide to Lawn Weeds. Watercolour
Detail of Daisy. Watercolour
Dragonfly nymph. Pencil
Skull of toothed Whales. Rotring Pen
I may add more as I find them and if I think they are worth posting