Book illustrations

It’s great to be able to liven up books with illustrations. I’ve illustrated books for NGOs, a Church organisation, and academia.

1. Sustainable coasts maps

For the book “Seas of Hope“, ocean researcher Dr Andrea Saenz-Arroyo asked me to draw old-style ink maps showing the places mentioned in the text, and an iconic drawing.

I did these with Victorian-era tools, that is, nib and ink. Andrea gave me photos and ideas of what she wanted; then I presented her with the drawings. Then she selected which ones she wanted on her maps. The other drawings can be sprinkled in the text to lighten up the pages.

2. Abstract concepts for an NGO

Monitoring and evaluation, or M&E, is a simple concept (working out whether you’re going according to plan, and whether your work is having an effect) that tends to become more complicated the more we try to simplify it. I spiced up INTRAC’s book “Rethinking Monitoring and Evaluation” with some irreverent illustrations in nib and ink. In this case it helped that I was also editing the book – familiarity with the messages makes it easier to come up with striking illustrations.

3. Colouring-in pictures for an activity book

The youth section of the Finnish Evangelic-Lutheran Church, Nuorten Keskus, commissioned an activity book to introduce young people to some of the less “famous” Bible stories. They chose ten verses that are relevant to everyday life, to make us think more deeply about forgiveness, exclusion, loss, identity… The activities include games, podcasts, meditation texts and colouring-in images by Development Cartoons. The idea is that the participants could colour during the listening parts of the programmes.

For me some of the images were straightforward to draw – Genesis with its animals, for example – but others like the Good Samaritan or Psalm 139 (about how God knows us) were trickier. My brief was to give a present-day interpretation to some of the drawings, so some feature bronze-age life and others, hoodies and smartphones.

If you’d like to get in touch about an illustration project, drop me an email on!

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