Draw attention. Illustrate your point.

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Pictures speak a thousand words. A catchy illustration that is conveying a message has a few advantages over written text.

I tried to keep the following points in mind when making this illustration for Haskel School, Gateshead for their fundraising campaign, "The special match".

Please read on.

1. Getting peoples attention. A written text might be fascinating, funny and captivating, but nobody will know that if they don't read it. Especially if someone is skimming through a feed or an advertisement booklet, they will stop and focus on something that catches their eye. A drawing that is designed to draw attention when seen at a fleeting glance solves that problem. Now that the attention is caught it needs to be held long enough to achieve a desired purpose.

2. Holding peoples attention. If an illustration can't hold the person "captive" for at least as long as it takes to let the person learn of its message, then it doesn't fulfil its purpose. Whatever the image is meant to convey; a message, information, a mood, a smile, something about the illustration should have the power to make the viewer, if only subconsciously decide to "investigate" this catchy sight.

Written text can also achieve this, but only in the first few words or sentences, as the average person reads a text from the start, whereas an illustration is looked at as a whole. Also, these first two stages happen in an illustration in approx. 1 to 2 seconds.

3. Conveying a message. There is a downside with illustration. It tends to have more potential for ambiguity. Whereas with text you can be quite specific about what your message is, illustration can sometimes be subject to a broader range of interpretations. It does require more skill to make the message as clear to all with illustrations, as it is with words, the language we're used to use to communicate.

On the other hand, the viewer's mind is accessed through the "back door" so to speak. In a text, it is written black on white. The possibility to be more vague with one's message in an illustration can actually be a huge asset, as it is able to enter the viewers mind without him or her realising it. This can be quite useful and quite dangerous at times. Use illustrations with caution. They are powerful.

In this illustration the message is that Haskel, a special needs school needs the support of outsiders. It also shows that it is very much part of the community and the pupils are very much part of the society of their peers in the mainstream institutions.

The picture should also convey the feeling of joy. Joy of seeing those less fortunate thriving and feeling good. Joy in taking on the responsibility, carrying the burden and the joy of giving to others.

I also hope that the first glance at this illustration is pleasing and that it invites the viewer to continue "reading" the drawing.

initial sketch - thinking with my hand

finished line work

Haskel matching campaign - special match
finished ad

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