Behind the scenes: Reprofutures

27 April 2022

When I work on any illustration project, I always provide rough sketches to the commissioner before I begin any finals. It's an important part of the process, not only allowing me to develop the illustration by working out the best compositions and subjects, but also to make sure I'm approaching the project in a way the client is happy with. 


Typically, I'll submit several rough sketches per final design and while it's always nice if a client picks one of these 'off the shelf' roughs, it's not always the case. And generally, that's no bad thing. Often, bouncing ideas back and forth between the client and illustrator results in stronger work. It also gives a good opportunity for a client can react to the rough and make changes that perhaps were omitted from the original brief. Of course, it's important to recognise both the client and illustrator bring different strengths to the table and a balance should always be sought to keep everyone happy. As a rule, I limit the amount of rounds of amends I offer to 2 or 3 to avoid being stuck in an unproductive loop. 



Recently I completed some work with a researcher (Dr Charlotte Jones) from the University of Exeter on an interesting and engaging project. The Reprofutures project was started to investigate the support and guidance on offer for people with VSCs (variations of sex characteristics) in both a clinical setting and socially. As projects go, it ticked a lot of my boxes. It had an interesting subject matter combined with realistic deadlines and importantly, a generous brief guided by some clear constraints and needs, which were communicated clearly.


In this case, a lof of the rough work I did fitted the bill first time around, but some needed further tweaks. I thought I'd share a few of the images of the illustrations that did need changes alongside the roughs so you can get an idea of the process. 


In this one I was asked to change the position of one of the women, so she was alongside her partner rather than above. The client wanted to make sure that the partners felt equal rather than one looming over the other.


Here I was asked to change a few of the figures to male, to ensure a more even gender split. We also decided to lose the background so that the main illustration would speak more to the spot illustrations throughout the rest of the report.

Lastly here I was asked to switch the position of the man and the woman and to age up the man slightly. 


As you can see, the changes aren't radical but in my view they help arrive at a stronger final product. Because of the clear brief I recieved at the outset, we didn't need to make big changes down the line. 


Click here if you would like to see more of my work on the Reprofutures project.