The picture that took me 43 years to draw!

I’m SO excited to share my first front cover design which is for the 2020 QTAC Guide to Further Study! Over 50 000 copies of the Guide have been sent out to schools across Queensland and northern New South Wales, which is just an amazing sight for me ‘sea’! This cover artwork is very close to my heART as it represents the culmination of my life-long journey of learning, so it has literally taken me 43 years to draw this picture! You can see more about this important Guide for Year 12 students at

The visual design brief for the front cover was to illustrate the theme of ‘education matters‘ and communicating the benefits of higher education for Year 12 students. I had many many ideas for the front cover and my own educational journey as a marine scientist to policy maker and project manager to running my own creative communications business sparked these ideas. Living my life of ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) where I now help people to “picture their ideas” became the inspiration for this cover art. And I just love that “my work makes the complex simple and the simple compelling“, which is a testimonial from the CEO of QTAC!

I’m really proud of this particular artwork as it has a special place in my heART for a number of reasons:

1. Until four years ago I didn’t even know my current job of a graphic recorder even existed, so my journey just shows the advantages of gaining a tertiary education along with thinking outside the box. So you CAN create your own career and turn something you love into something you live!

2. I was told at high school that I wasn’t smart enough to go to University and that I would probably have to repeat Grade 12… this was not good for my self esteem but I spent over 10 years at University, received my PhD in marine science and continue to be a Research Scholar today!

3. I have always been ‘drawn’ to the ocean and now get to follow my heART and draw attention to the importance of living with and loving nature through my children’s picture books, a dream come true!

4. Drawing out my own life-long journey of learning which is now being shared with 50 000 school students reminds me that I am living my life in colour and with ESTEAM!

A BIG thank you to the amazing and dedicated team at QTAC for the opportunity to create this cover art with you, it was such a great creative collaboration. And thank you to the special people in my life who have and continue to support my journey. You can ‘sea’ more of my creative journey and illustrations at and via my social media @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram and as Dr Suzie Starfish.

6 thoughts on “The picture that took me 43 years to draw!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.