Imagine my surprise and excitement at being hired to illustrate the Associations Now Magazine cover and feature spread for the very same article in my signature sketchnote style.
What a great opportunity to share visual thinking in a fun way, to about 20,000 leaders of associations.
The Hand-Drawn Idea
As Mark was writing the article, Associations Now Magazine's art director, Beth Lower, saw and liked my sketchnote of the iPhone 3GS Unboxing. Each issue of the magazine has a different design in context to the feature story, which led Beth to a completely hand-drawn, sketchnote style cover to communicate the visual thinking feature story.
Beth and I chatted about the concept on the phone, and both of us resonated with the concept of a visual thinking collage, comprised of the tools and notes about them in a hand-drawn sketchnote style.
For the next step, I sketched out a rough cover design idea using pencil in my Moleskine squared notebook, and scanned it for Beth to review for direction.
Beth liked the the look and feel of my pencil sketch and approved the illustration phase of the project. I prepared for the final sketchnote illustration, though I knew some elements would likely need to be sorted out on the fly.
Because I wanted to create the art at 100% actual size, I found a sheet of heavy paper to layout the structure of the cover on. I drew out the full size of the cover and began laying out elements I knew had to be in place — Associations Now logo, headlines and table of contents elements in pencil, etc.
I encountered issues with gel ink reacting less than smoothly with my paper and pencil graphite lines, but thankfully, I was able to work through those issues and ink out the cover for production.
Once I was pleased with the final illustration, I scanned it into my MacBook and began preparing the final art for production in Photoshop.
Cream can be a very tough color to capture in the printing process, using standard colors of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). It's so easy to lean too much toward yellow or red and ruin the creamy feeling you're hoping for.
I found what I felt would reproduce in CMYK as a good cream combo, then imported the final scans in, tweaking the contrast, moving elements around in subtle ways and perfecting the final artwork.
Once the art was finalized, I shipped source artwork off for production.
Inside Feature Illustration
Next up was the two-page feature spread illustration which had to continue a consistent image and feel from the cover, to connect them visually.
Beth provided a PDF of the page spread with a headline in place. I used this to trace and ink in the headline and figure out where drawn elements needed to be placed.
I used some elements from the cover for consistency, then began sketching out other elements to fill the remaining space in a balanced way. This is where I built art elements on the fly, allowing the concept of the article and elements already created for the cover to spark new ideas.
Printed Magazines: Wow!
A few weeks later, a package arrived at my door with a package of final, printed copies of the Associations Now August magazine, featuring my illustrations on the cover and feature spread. I'm very pleased with the cream color and how well the illustrations look on the page.
Thank you Mark Athitakis, Beth Lower and Lisa Junker from Associations Now for your faith in me to produce the cover and feature spread illustrations. I'm very honored to have been chosen.
If you are interested in getting a copy of the August issue, let me know. Lisa, the magazine's editor has told me she has limited copies of the magazine available for those who ask nicely. :-)