I took my sketchbook to the International Women’s Day march and managed to jot down some 30-second croquis on the hoof.
This is a very exciting project for me – something I’ve been chipping away at for several years – an expression of the visual marvels of my adopted home town, San Cristóbal de las Casas in Mexico. “Sancris” as it’s known has an abundance of picturesque detail just in its streets and squares: multicoloured colonial-style houses, indigenous inhabitants in embroidered dress, dignified ladies in shawls, skilful graffiti, hippies with spectacular clothes and tattoos, imposing churches, two gangs of breakdancers… The more I look the more I want to draw it. This colouring-in book is a way to share the joy over the Sancris street visuals.
The book is in layout now and will be sold in independent bookshops in San Cristóbal, but you can contact me to order some by mail if you like!
Color San Cristobal by Linda Lonnqvist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.developmentcartoons.com/san-cristobal-colouring-book.
Whenever I was short on drawing inspiration, I’d add a bit to this jungle scene. This is drawn in a mix of markers and colour pencils.
Sketch of the day: a woman about to start selling deep-fried snacks. She was carrying her stock, hot sauce bottle, trestle and toddler while having a phone conversation. This was in San Cristóbal’s central plaza.
For the past three years I’ve been chipping away at a little project of mine: a colouring book featuring street scenes from San Cristóbal de las Casas in Mexico, the picturesque town I live in. There’s so much detail and colour going on that it’s hard to take much in while we stroll around… apple blossoms peeking over a wall; a house painted in turquoise and peach; Chamula women’s blouse embroidery fashions; a courtyard from the 1500s; a garage opened to sell multicoloured pastries; the breakdance crew at La Merced; street dogs rolled up to sleep; the spectacular piercings of an Argentinian hippie.
With this colouring book, I want to give us fans of Sancris a chance to sit down and contemplate it, one scene at a time. And here we can finally paint a house in magenta and purple.
I’ll be distributing in independent bookshops in Sancris, but if you’d like to order some, drop me an email on email@example.com!
A friend was telling me about the swamps in Argentina and inspired me to draw. Most of the imagery may actually be from the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Quick pencil sketches from a cultural event at Caracol Oventic, one of the civic centres of the Zapatista movement for indigenous autonomy.
Another enjoyable commission: painting some pictures for the 2020 calendar of the Building Learning Foundations education project in Rwanda. The project is a large operation, running communites of practice and self-study modules for teachers; printing books and ordering mathematics learning aids, and much more, all with the aim of improving the skills of 2.6 million schoolkids in English and mathematics!
Some sketches from the Forest of Dean. Perhaps I’m the only one this fascinated by the curve of the fallen tree trunk.
…both marble and plaster busts, of course. The Royal Academy of Arts has a nice feature – a room where they’ve busted out (ha) (sorry) their old …busts, and made them into a pleasure/education feature by adding benches and free paper and pencils. You can sketch the busts and practice drawing. Or if you’re me, you sketch a few busts, and a few sketchers.
The mauve Uni-Ball is a very unforgiving pen for sketching, especially moving tragets like the bearded art lover. But the HB pencils provided by the museum were even less satisfying when I used them for the readers on the bench.
I was lucky enough to see Paris a while ago, and sketch! It turned out to be a fantastic way to appreciate the art on display at the Musée du Quai Branly. When you draw, you have to watch carefully.
The Café Industrial turned out to have a similar colonial vibe…
Turns out that everyone likes to colour, even Masters students.
A small and delightful project: drawings for the office swap meet (which I’m also organising). My dayjob office is by far the most diverse place I’ve worked, but there are still subcategories of colleague. So I wanted to draw people who’d look like real colleagues… but not exactly like any one colleague. I think one or two (or three) did end up being very close to real individuals. I’ll see if they spot themselves!
I’m part of the excellent participatory action research project “Diversification strategies in smallholder coffee systems of Mesoamerica” where we find out what Mexican and Nicaraguan coffee farmers live off – aside from coffee. 2018 was a bad year for coffee farmers: the price of a pound of coffee fell below one dollar in August. Considering climate change, volatile prices, competition and rigging of the coffee market by Wall Street, coffee farmers do need other income sources too – and this project is about finding out which ones make the most sense for them. Between four universities, two coffee cooperatives, and my NGO the Community Agroecology Network, we’re asking coffee farmers about their vegetables, apiaries, fruit trees and milpas; what they sell, buy and exchange; during which months they’re short on money and what greens they eat then… It’s fascinating and I’ve certainly developed lots of respect for my coffee grower colleagues who marshal small armies of coffee pickers during the harvest, getting organic, top-quality coffee to the roastery and their clients overseas.
As a welcome bonus my team asked me to design a logo, that could also be printed on the project t-shirts. They gave me a draft:
I made a new version:
I presented the sketch to my colleagues and took comments:
The next version, a vector drawing done in Inkscape, was like this… among other things, I’d forgotten to add an arm representing the milpa:
And after changing the colour of the chicken and, by popular demand hand-lettering the text, we have this:
This was embroidered on 100 polo-neck t-shirts!
A sketch for something bigger…
Cheered up two promotional notebooks from Codebus Africa with some iterative doodles.
More croquis from the EZLN International Festival for Women who Fight! (Although the verb luchar in Spanish in this case means “struggle” as in “the ideological struggle” , rather than actually fighting. It also means wrestling, as in lucha libre. Fun with etymology.)
I drew these women during a really confused lecture on “Dismantling The Man into Things”. Hence the sceptical faces.
More sketches from the women´s encounter in March.
I drew these during talks on masculinity in childhood (halfway through which two boys in the audience started shooting us with imaginary pistols) and on social organization as love. There was a whooooole range of talks, some weirder than the rest…
These croquis are of varying quality depending on how still the “model” was and how much time I had to draw her. I chose faces that interest me.
7000 women make a noise like a low-frequency beehive. Every morning when we crawled out of our tents in the freezing, clear air, the hum was already going and it kept getting stronger as more people woke up and started looking for breakfast. The festival was organized by the Zapatista movement and hosted by Caracol 4 in Morelia. Nobody knew quite what to expect. I arrived with a contingent from Ama-Awa, the women agroecologists, carrying tents, food and water for three days. We were pleasantly surprised to find abundant flushing toilets, food outlets (although the queues did stretch out), showers and drinking water taps… all without the presence of a single man. And no alcohol either. My friend’s ten-year-old daughter could attend any session she liked without her mum having to worry. And there was plenty to choose from, ranging from lectures on land rights, Indigenous lesbianism, masculinity in childhood to art, dance and theatre and workshops for making reusable menstrual pads. And a Colombian batucada.
I sketched participants during the lectures, amazed at the sheer range of women there… tall, short, skinny, round, old, young, lawyers, hippies, gorgeous, ugly, of all colours, made-up and rolled-out-of-bed. Here are some of them.
History of the festival: http://luchadoras.mx/mujeres-zapatistas/
Amazing photos by Trasluz photographers
This was just one of the hardcore women who brought their babies to the event and stood with them in the hot sun for hours during the first day’s plays. Wearing layers of heavy clothing and knitted black balaclavas.
Would you buy a multi-coloured felt cow with goggly orange-rimmed eyes? Of course! They are endearing! These marvels of creativity are sold by scores of handicraft sellers in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, and once you start looking, you start noticing how amazing they are. The quality of the felt, the sense of colour combination, the finishing, the creativity… Felt bulls and chickens are classics, and the current fashion is for felt unicorns and Tyrannosaurus Rexes.
More sketches based on people flitting by… a happy man at a ramen restaurant, girls passing the coffee shop in Roma and La Condesa.
I had a little bit more time to draw these: a woman in the juice bar with impeccable makeup… and the tree and bike racks outside.
Sketches from Calle Pedregal around the corner from the embassy. People glimpsed on the street or in the juice bar, me trying to pay attention to the detail in glimpses, without staring, drawing without them noticing…
Agroecologists listening to a talk about alternative markets and food sovereignty in southern Brazil!
I tested a printout of the colouring-in pictures that got published earlier this year, and this is how it turned out:
I had a go with all my tools: watercolour, aquarelle crayons, conference markers… but ended up sticking just to colour pencils and Stabilo Fineliners.
I drew the cover illustration for Hanna Laako’s book about midwives, “Mujeres situadas, la partería autónoma en México”. It’s published as an Amazon e-book through the research institue ECOSUR’s publishing wing.
Hanna wanted a strong, dark pencil drawing in this style showing a midwife without succumbing to stereotypes: not a superstitious hippie, not a grimy backwoods witch, not a snooty middle-class yuppie… but her toolkit could include “Bach flowers” drops in addition to the stethoscope and books. Hanna specified the down-to-earth clothes with a touch of traditional finery, and we settled on a generic Latin woman as the midwife. To liven up the map of Latin America I added vignettes of midwifery demonstrations and humanized childbirth. Hope you all enjoy the book!
I’m working on the cover illustration for Hanna Laako’s book about midwives, “Mujeres situadas, la partería autónoma en México”. Coming out soon at an Amazon near you!
I was wearing a sweater against the afternoon wind, but got some sketches of fellow beachgoers…
The week-long carnival in Tenejapa in the Chiapas highlands includes several colorful elements, such as this “chasing of the cow”. The men dress in red ceremonial finery and, among other things, chase a woven-mat “cow” around the town plaza. (Later there’s “chasing the bull” at another plaza, looking exactly the same as “chasing the cow”, but at that event cameras aren’t welcome… so I figured sketchpads aren’t either). It’s a day full of symbolism and prehispanic references and local pride – also lost of whooping at jokes. It’s very contagious and after we left we spent the rest of the day going “i-e-e-e!!”
Nuorille suunnattu kirja “Jumalan Niskalenkissä“, johon tein värityskuvat, on julkaistu! Lasten Keskuksen ja Kirjapajan 85-sivuinen kirja on toimintapaketti seurakunnille, jossa käsitellään Raamatun “vähemmän tunnettuja” tarinoita pelien, meditaatioiden, keskustelujen, kuunnelmien – ja värityskuvien – kautta.
Tarinat tuodaan ajankohtaiseen nuorten elämään. Verenvuototautinen nainen oli aikanaan syrjitty – kuten koulukiusatut. Antaako oma vanhempi minulle anteeksi – kuten tuhlaajapojalle? Mikä saisi nuoren naisen lähtemään anoppinsa matkaan ja jättämään kaiken tuntemansa – kuten Ruut, ja meidän aikojemme pakolaiset?
Kirjassa on myös mielenkiintoista taustatietoa Raamatun teksteistä toiminnan vetäjille. Nautin sekä värityskuvien keksimisestä ja piirtämisestä että muuhun materiaaliin tutustumisesta. Kannattaa investoida €35!
Some sketches from the art festival CompArte at the zapatista centre Caracol Oventic. The festival took place for a week at the campus of CIDECI with concerts, changing art shows, workshops, documentaries and theatre; and at the weekend there were performances at Oventic too.
An intrigueing experience for sure. This time I had a bit more time for sketches as most people stayed put watching the performances of theatre, dance, poetry and music.
The girl band – like all the zapatistas, wearing Indigenous traditional dress and balaclavas – were a riot of energy and power.
As always, people couldn’t resist filming instead of watching. Or, in my case, drawing.
Bullying, refugees, forgiveness, outsidership and support, the wonder of being alive – the Finnish Evangelican Lutheran church is evoking these important current issues and linking them to stories from the Bible in a publication aimed at engaging young people. They’re publishing an activity pack re/introducing young people to Bible stories such as the good Samaritan, the creation, the resurrection, Ruth and Noomi, the prodigal son – and in the mix of games, meditation texts and music they’ve included colouring-in pictures by Development Cartoons.
My brief was challenging: drawing colouring-in pictures of Biblical stories that teenage boys would also want to colour. Boys!!! The book hasn’t been published yet so I don’t know whether I succeeded in that… Another, self-imposed, constraint was freshness. These stores have been depicted for centuries, from Ethiopian rock churches to kids’ books, so how could I draw Zacchaeus in something that wasn’t a tree, Jacob and the angel in something that wasn’t a greco-roman wrestle step and the road to Emmaus without it just being three dudes on the road?
Luckily the book team had prepared the ground and drawn parallels: the woman with haemophilia compared to sufferng from ostracism and bullying. Zacchaeus the rent collector as an outsider facing racism, and as a sinner who changes his ways. Ruth and Noomi compared to refugees leaving everything behind. For the Creation I was told “go ahead and put some dinosaurs!”.
The niche of Development Cartoons is illustrations for development, and I’m happy to include the Evangelical Lutheran church as a client. The EVL is, in my experience, a progressive force for good. It’s a solid institution, the state religion, and although it includes the word “evangelical” it has little in common with these fly-by-night churches that are such a foolproof business model, charging 10% tithes and exorcising demons… the EVL is very straight-laced and has been Lutheran since the time of Luther, the mid-1500s. The churchy people I know are as a rule kind, tolerant, supportive people who take “loving your neighbour” seriously (and have an excellent sense of humour). Its development arm, FinnChurchAid, is also a well-functioning NGO. So yes, I was proud to have this commission!
I used a mix of contemporary and iron-age settings and included a varying amount of details. There’s a fine line (ha) between putting enough detail to keep it interesting, and so much that it’s impossible to finish a picture. These are drawn for kids with about 30-45 minutes of time and pretty sharp coloured pencils.
These maps for a friend’s book draft came with the extra bonus that I got to read a few draft chapters about how Californians can enjoy their beaches now thanks to a peoples’ movement in the 70s, how Icelanders are managing their cod quotas and how Galician women are managing their estuaries to keep the shellfish coming.It’s been a real pleasure and a privilege. It was a pretty excting and positive read. Fingers crossed that it finds a publisher!
Meanwhile, here are some sketch versions of the maps. They’re done in nib and ink. Just imagine the book that includes puffins, otters, coral reefs, electronic fish quota swaps, a successful protest movement, whales, divers, adapting tradition, clams and abalone. You want to read it right? Yes!!
I was waiting for someone outside a mall in eastern Turkey and started noticing the women’s fashion, specifically the clothes of the ones following an Islamic dresscode with hair and limbs covered (lots dressed in the same way as women in secular places). At a first glance they all looked like they followed the same dress code: headscarf tucked in, overcoat buttoned over dress. But it quickly became apparent that the details matter. Older, more conservative-looking women had the ends of their scarf hanging down under their chin, younger and trendier ones tucked the ends into the scarf. Some had cardigans, others that strange overcoat with a double row of buttons, some floaty long vests. Skinny jeans and ballerinas were much in evidence. Muslim dresscode – here’s yet another example of how it’s not an oppressive imposition. Here are my three-second croquis done standing up in a little notebook.
More ink and nib work: people on the streets of Mexico.
I took a pile of my colouring-in pictures to a work party recently, reasoning that not everyone would like to join the bachata class or read a poem and this could be a nice activity for the less extroverted of us. It worked a treat! The table with the pictures and box of coloured pencils quickly became a centre for chatting and colouring.
I was also surprised over how different everybody’s style was. Antonio started by colouring the whole elephant an even grey, according to me the most boring part of the picture. Lupe coloured all the shoes and was the only one who finished in the sense of covering her whole picture in colour. Giovanna added patterns and psychedelic details to the forest scene. Both she and José Luis gave the little girl in the picture a green or blue elf skin tone. I think this could be a hit at other events too.
Drawings to illustrate “Good quality leadership” for school managers! These are details of the edited drawings.
From my sketchbook: some Mexican street images.
All We Can, the Methodist NGO, hired me to do graphic recording at their partnership conference in Ethiopia. I produced a variety of pictures: recap diagrams, sketches from the ‘Marketplace’ for networking, live posters to illustrate the discussions and presentations as they happened… And a bit of nonverbal communication at the field visit!
These are some of the images commissioned for the end-of-year festivals for Social Inclusion through Sports, an EU-funded development project in eastern Turkey. Some were new images and some based on existing ones. For this I had to use vector graphics, a different way of creating images so that they can be expanded without becoming pixelated. I used the open-source software Inkscape and am quite pleased with the results!
The above is the vector graphics version of the raster image used for the 2014 calendar – below.
This image, for different disabled peoples’ games (see also the ‘Take me With You’ inclusion brochure), uses a combination of vector graphics and scanned colour for the clothes from the watercolour original (below).
I illustrated the INTRAC book “Civil Society in Action: Global case studies in a practice-based framework“. The book collects 40 case studies of civil society from around the world, covering topics like policy advocacy, innovative altearnatives and the importance of social cohesion. The cases were originally presented at an enormous INTRAC conference. As an INTRAC programme manager at the time, I was part of the organising team and remember the buzz and energy (and monumental logistical challenges) with pleasure. These illustrations were originally used at the conference as end-of-day visual summaries.
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!
The Inclusion through Sports project in Turkey asked me to do drawings of their activities for their 2015 (and 2014) calendars. It’ll be nice for the project participants (and staff) to see the workshop, field trip or event they are doing in the appropriate month on the calendar!
The project ‘Start with Sports’ in Eastern Turkey also includes a module on disabled inclusion. It was both enlightening, inspiring and a lot of fun to draw these images for the training booklet! Turns out there are loads of games out there that don’t just level the playing field between able-bodied and disabled kids – but things like goalball where the disabled persons have an advantage.
Thanks are due to the Finnish Invalidiliitto for the original version of the booklet ‘Ota Minut Mukaan’ – we adapted some of the images for the Eastern Turkish situation.
After a day’s work as development policy officer with its world of budget analysis, policy research and moral and technical support for our partners, running the capoeira club Dar Capoeira was a mixture of fun, hard exercise and applying our capacity development lessons to a real-life small organisation. I had to work on teaching for different levels, advertising for the most sustainable groups of students, balancing the budget, motivating the best students to take responsibility, delegate instrument-building wokshops, stay in touch with the Brazilian Embassy… and design the t-shirts and logo! Most capoeira groups have an annual grading ceremony and although we didn’t grade, we made sure to celebrate and recognise progress.
Here are some images, the logo and t-shirts in action on the beach!
The people drawn are: group member Mateo choosing wood for berimbaus. Masataka got to be the model for the trickiest part of building berimbaus – twisting the loops on the wire. These drawings went on our second anniversary t-shirt (see below, modelled by Dar Capoeira members!)
Images for the ‘Social inclusion through Sports’ project in Eastern Turkey. These were for Training of Trainers manuals and the 2014 calendar.
During conferences the participants’ attention tends to wander after twenty minutes of presentation and after lunch. To counteract the presenters who ignored your request to only prepare ten slides, a live illustration of the key points – ‘visual facilitation’ is a marvel for keeping peoples’ attention. This can replace slides or complement text-based ones. My favourite method is to draw on an OHP transparency!
Conference drawings can also be done after the presentations and publicised for unpacking/recap sessions later. These drawings were for INTRAC’s fifth capacity building conference in the Netherlands in 2007.
“Rethinking M&E”, now sold out, was INTRAC’s first book with illustrations. As a researcher at INTRAC, my main task was writing parts of the book and editing text – which made illustrating extra rewarding!
These drawings were commissioned in 2007-08 for WorldVision’s Community-Based Performance Monitoring programme, which aims to empower communities to monitor the delivery of government services to them. The cartoons were used as training tools for WV staff. The CBPM concept was used by Tanzanian NGOs and CBOs when I worked there in 2010-14 as well – it’s a great idea and one I’m very happy to support!
And here’s a closeup of the CBPM process: