Soon you need to send out electronic Christmas/holiday cards to your stakeholders. How about a personalised one from Development Cartoons? I can make a lovely watercolour or cheeky vector graphic customised for YOU. The card can jog memories of important milestones (plus falling snow), celebrate good achievements (by serene candlelight), express you vision & mission (plus reindeer)…Your people will remember your organisation best if you make them smile!
I made some colouring-in pictures for Viole, 5… Witches! Referencing the fine Finnish tradition of ‘Easter witches’ and the previous day’s magic cauldron games. However, looks like I overestimated her desire to fill in little details in different colours.
I want to paint my house walls like these people in Hazaribagh village in India! Elephants! Giant lizards! Flowers, even in the store room! Big thanks to photographer Deidi von Schaeven for the photos. If you’re in London, head to the Brunei Gallery at Soas to see the expo, and tell me what it was like.
All We Can gathered the participants’ learning and commitments from their partnership conference using a method called cascading, or the snowball, or, we decided, the River. In this exercise, people think individually at first and then gather in increasingly large groups to select the best contributions. At the end, about ten peoples’ thoughts have been distilled into ten points. I drew the process explanation diagram and also the final result… Here’s the resulting poster, drawn live in the session!
The All We Can partnership conference involved a field trip to two of their Ethiopian partner organsations. I went to ADHENO’s project where they’ve spent twelve years developing conservation agriculture and reforestation. We saw beekeeping, the fuel-efficient stove workshop and the church where the project began. A great day with great people.
The All We Can conference aims – in pictures!
We’re in Ethiopia at the All We Can partnership conference where I’m working as graphic recorder. So far the drawings have garnered lots of positive comments from participants (and organisers)! A good start!
The All We Can partnership conference is starting tomorrow and we’re testing our equipment. This is a marker drawing scanned with a scanner app – nifty! – showing some of their partner organisations.
Here’s my friend Kai at the Brian Eno exhibition in Frankfurt. The room was… dark.
Friday saw Development Cartoons amid professors, farmers and students, and combinations of all three, at the 5th Latinamerican Conference of Agroecology, SOCLA. I provided the graphic recording for the agroecology team from ECOSUR in Mexico during a brainstorming session about key factors of success in agroecology projects. Here’s the result!
My next job is prrrretty exciting: graphic recorder at the partnership conference of the Methodist NGO ‘All We Can’ – in Addis Abeba! All We Can partners come from countries that range from Haiti to the Philippines. I’ll work with the rapporteuring team to add visual summaries of ideas and discussions to the proceedings, reflection and summaries – and we’ll see how well cartoons translate ideas across language and cultural divisions. Addis here we come!
Life drawing with a proper model, plenty of time and a choice of materials is a welcome change from my normal practice of dashing off line sketches of passers-by after studying them for ten seconds… Here’s a sample. She’s drawn on A3 and scanned on a dinky A4 scanner, with a few technical fixes applied (with very limited success) to the horrible scan line in the middle.
From the sketchbook: Do these featherballs look like chickens? No. They look like fluffy knots. Plus, they produce delicious fresh eggs and do the work of a compost. My views on the marvels of backyard chickens are expounded here!
This month sees Development Cartoons in action in Turkey. Here are some photos from the end-of-project festival of ‘Start with Sports‘ in the delightfully named city Batman. 400 project-participant kids had to be entertained and edified and I, with Eija and Cihan on the team, ran a series of 20-minute sessions for them on ‘Drawing sports’. We used stick figures to draw action poses. The sprogs behaved admirably well and produced some expressive football, basketball and badminton drawings.
Preparing for travelling and working, I’m getting some businesscards printed with the good people of Destroyer Designers.
Here’s a teaser!
To my great satisfaction Naïma (who asked me to illustrate her wedding invites) has reported that “The invites have gone out and have been delighting everyone. My parents burst out laughing upon seeing them, and they are apparently a hit with kids. Thanks again!”
Here’s what the final product looks like:
After struggling for a long time with how to get watercolours into a digital medium I’ve acquired a new scanner for the purpose – an Epson V37. According to illustrator lore this is slightly less great than the truly great Epson V600 – but on the other hand it weighs about two kilos less. So now I’m looking forward to tinkering with the settings to get all those pale subtle washes onto the screen!
Here’s a test scan from the sketchbook.
UN Women have a great cartoon competition open: the theme is “Gender equality: Picture it!”. It’s open to European cartoonists aged 18-28. Deadline 20th April 2015 – get drawing.
My Inkscape illustrations for the ‘Social Inclusion through Sports‘ project’s summer festivals are done and printed! Here’s a pleasing photo of what it looks like in real life. The good people at Sports Inclusion have printed eight of these.
The vector graphics are turning out nice… smooth as a pleasant workout. This pilates image is one of a series for the Social Inclusion through Sports programme’s end-of-project festivals, to be shown on the signs around the festival areas. These graphics can be blown up to the required size – a meter square – without looking pixelated.
For how many minutes can you hold the plank position?
My next commission involves signs for a sports festival: drawings that have to be blown up to 1×1 meters. This means processing them in Inkscape, an open source vector graphics programme, where my images can be scaled up without losing resolution. I’ve been using Gimp before but it’s good to keep learning!
I’ve had the honour to be asked to illustrate the invitation and menu for a friend’s wedding… featuring the bride & groom’s ‘spirit animals’ and the wedding venue. What a pleasure. Here are some of the pictures!
I’ve owned the domain developmentcartoons.com since 2007, when my friend ‘Lovely Chris’ designed it for me. Since then times have moved on, and I’m in the process of making this WordPress pop up at that website. Here’s what the world will be missing! A bit dark…. a bit wordy…
As a birthday present for my god-daughter I made her some colouring-in pictures, featuring the birthday girl in various adventures. This was fun both for me and the recipient!
I’m also working on a set of colouring-in pictures for adults! Watch this space for more, and feel free to get in touch if you’d like some of your own!
My most recent commissions have been to produce training and publicity materials for the EU project “Start with Sports” (full title ‘Technical Assistance for Supporting Social Inclusion through Sports Education’) in Eastern Turkey. The enthusiastic people at ‘Sporla Basla’ are involving kids, teenagers and young adults in games and sports with elements of cooperation, self-awareness and self-confidence, consideration and even CV writing. It’s been a pleasure to draw for their calendars, training materials and the Disabled Inclusion and Healthy Families projects.
I think development through games and sports is a great idea. (The Finnish NGO LiiKe Ry do something similar in Tanzania!) I’ve seen at first hand how people can flourish when they get good at something physical – in my case, I’m talking about the Brazilian martial art capoeira. With games you can really cheer up people, give them self-confidence, remind them that they are valuable, give them a space to make friends… an excellent base for the bigger development goal of a healthy, ingenious population who demand their rights!
For the Sports and Inclusion illustrations I was able to travel to Diyarbakir where the project HQ is, and see at first hand who is involved. I’ve lived in Turkey before but hadn’t been to the eastern parts. I gave a capoeira workshop to a motley crew of Inclusion through Sports enthusiasts ranging from nine-year-old girls to some Korean martial arts practitioners asking questions like “Doesn’t anyone win??”. It was a challenge but life’s not supposed to be so easy, eh?
You’d think that someone lounging in a hammock on the beach would stay still for more than five minutes. Not the case. My drawings of friends in hammocks ended up as express sketches – croquis – live drawing done with very little time.
But once they moved and messed up my portrait I could still work on the ropes and knots.
Hammocks define the outermost points of the person inside… it’s as if they wrap a plane around limbs and protrusions which makes for fun drawings. There’s something early-90s-computer-graphicksy about them.
And you get to feel like you did something creative on holiday.
This sketch was inspired by some hairdressers we interviewed in 2012 in Mirerani in Tanzania. Mirerani is a frontier-flavour mining town – the origin of all the world’s tanzanite, a precious stone. Our partner organisation was finding out about the social impacts of the tanzanite companies – and small-scale miners. Our interview with some women at the hairdressing salon turned into a major streetside spectacle.
Seven Survivor is a Tanzanian band who play the urban music mchiriku. This is a sketch from a gig of theirs in November 2013. (Another famous mchiriku band is Jagwa Music.) Mchiriku is a frenetic genre based on high-octane staccato drumming. The rest of the instruments and the rapping seem almost secondary to the drumming, which sounds as if the drummer is on speed; or as if he’s anticipating the end of the world any second and is trying to fit in a lifetime of drumming into a few short minutes. The pace and intensity of the drums ebbs and flows but never falls below ‘feverish’. It’s a rhythm that you can only dance to by jumping up and down, but you’d have to do that very quickly – almost vibrating! – to keep pace with the drums. The band also featured a lethargic mini-Casio keyboard player; a rapper (the lyrics are political and worth getting into), another percussionist using sturdy sticks on a small coffee table, and a guy shaking home-made maracas made with nailed-together bottle tops. Here’s a link to one of their gigs. And the main man – the drummer – was in some sort of trance with his head thrown as far back as possible. You’d need to really be at one with the flow to manage to keep that level of intensity going for hours.