Infographics & Illustrations – words and pictures for people
I love to live my life in colour and help others to live a colourful life through my visual storytelling. I use a range of drawing techniques to help people ‘picture their ideas‘ from creating infographics and illustrations to telling animated stories through hand drawn digital drawings. Infographics are like mini ‘visual stories‘ combining text and graphics to visually communicate often complex issues, data and/or information. Today we are bombarded by information, data and signage so infographics are a great way to simplify, grab your attention and tell your story.
To me a great infographic cleverly uses words and pictures so the message or information is easy to understand. An eye catching infographic or wall mural can also be like ‘eye candy’ for the eyes and brain too!! Sometimes clear and simple illustrations can also help to capture the message, idea or concept you are trying to communicate in presentations, online platforms, reports, proposals, posters, templates, journal articles or even on your office walls.
When I picture your ideas I help to make the complex simple and the simple compelling and I can picture any idea, topic or concept from and for the following (both live or pre-post event/project via phone, online streaming services, emails etc):
- Podcasts, Webinars, Zoom calls, Skype, online chats
- Papers (including journal articles)
- Team planning days
- Preparation (for talks, interviews etc)
- Strategy days
- Office spaces and walls
- Phone calls, emails, online streaming services
The majority of the infographic and illustration work that I do is created remotely with my clients, so everyone can share their stories.
Creating visuals for people, teams and organisations is a Creative Collaboration which takes time due to the interactive and iterative approach I use to ensure the visuals I create reflect the important stories my clients want to tell and share. The process starts with a good conversation about your story and what you want the visual story to say/picture. I then develop a mock-up and together we revise the drawing to create your visual story. OR, you can give me a design brief and I will interpret and illustrate the information to create your visual story.
Please note: I am not a graphic designer and focus all of my creativity on interpreting and synthesising your information and ideas to create unique and tailored hand-drawn infographics and illustrations. You will receive the hard copies of the original drawings to scan and reproduce electronically noting I still retain IP/Copyright of the visuals. A Visual Design Brief outlining the Revisions Policy and the payment schedule is required as part of all of my creative collaborations. And you can see more of my ‘handy’ work below!
Examples of my infographics & illustrations:
Here are some examples of infographics and illustrations I have collaboratively created with a range of clients to help synthesise and summarise often complex issues – from marine spatial planning and using science to inform public policy to animating sediment stories, indigenous heritage values, reef catchment repair technologies, fisheries harvest strategies, marine research techniques and shark risk management.
The great thing about these infographics and illustrations is that they can be used in a number of formats for different audiences from meetings and conference presentations, posters for community groups and schools, templates, office walls and action walls for group work/activities through to features in reports, newsletters, journal articles, online presentations, publications and on your websites and social media. I also create tailor-made templates and action boards for group work, meetings and conferences to help inspire ideas!
Wall illustrations (and living murals):
Seeing the BIG PICTURE in work spaces, offices, board rooms, classrooms, events and public spaces is a great way to engage people and take them on a journey. I love creating visual stories which people can see themselves in as it is important in this fast-paced world to put your people in the picture! Below are some examples of my wall illustrations and living wall murals which can be tailored to suit any space and any topic!
I recently illustrated a wall mural for Powerlink based on the feedback of their staff which I graphically recorded (ie. visualised into words and pictures) and then drew out to create the big picture of their innovation story. The artwork is also a living mural as innovation ‘updates’ can be drawn onto the wall for all staff to see. Thank you to the team of people who helped this creative collaboration come to life. Below are photos illustrating the process of this wall mural:
Step 1: Graphically recording staff feedback on “innovation” at the Powerlink Open House Day
Step 2: Mock-up drawings based on a range of information including staff feedback and strategic input to create the visual story of innovation
Step 3: The final visual story on the office wall which is also a living mural where staff can provide innovation updates for all staff to see
The before and after wall:
Infographics are a powerful way of sharing your stories through words and pictures. My infographics are based upon your organisations/team/individual story and I have drawn out a diverse range of topics and issues from strategic plans, stakeholder input, science, regulations, community workshops, Indigenous knowledge, PhDs, publications and front covers, preparation for talks and workshop templates, illustrating Webinar content to action and inspiration walls for events and conferences. You can see examples of my hand-drawn infographics and illustrations below.
Drawing out Deep Dark Futures
As a marine scientist and artist it was a thrill to be asked by CSIRO to create a series of future scenarios for “Deep Dark Futures” of the mesopelagic zone… which is the zone that extends from 200-1000m below the surface of the ocean. Also known as the “Twilight Zone”!
Creating this series of future scenarios was very exciting, as who doesn’t want the opportunity to draw out the wonders of the deep ocean! But it was also challenging due to the number and diversity of complex scientific concepts I was engaged to illustrate (for a targeted audience), along with designing visuals that provided positive and hopeful solutions for our deep oceans, which face some of the worlds most pressing challenges. The team at CSIRO were so happy with how the scenarios were drawn out that they want to make our next drawing project a bit more challenging!
These infographics will become part of a Discussion Paper by CSIRO, which will be exciting to ‘sea’!
FAIR data at CSIRO
After graphically recording live the CSIRO Coasts & Oceans Research FAIR (FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) Workshop I was engaged to create a series of infographics to be included in an internal strategic Blue Paper. These ‘illustrated’ the importance of FAIR data based on staff input and I really enjoyed working with the team, particularly being able to create my own marine alphabet!
AND the works of art now hang on the walls of CSIRO for all to ‘sea’!
Water quality and the Great Barrier Reef
It is a great pleasure working with Terrain NRM to help them illustrate the important new ways Wet Tropics farmers in Queensland are working to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef (as part of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project). This creative collaboration involves me drawing out the following catchment repair technologies which are then transformed into fact sheets for farmers:
- Denitrification Bioreactors
- Constructed Wetlands
- High Efficiency Sediment Basins
Denitrification Bioreactors The first in the series of fact sheets for farmers is bioreactors and the denitrification process, an on-farm technology for removing dissolved inorganic nitrogen from water. Catchment repair technologies like this are being implemented as part of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project.
As you can ‘sea’ from the photos below the creative collaboration to create drawings for complex issues such as this is a staged approach which includes me: interpreting the information and science presented, creating the Mock-Ups, illustrating the information in black and white and finishing up with coloured illustrations — which are then turned into informative infographics!
And you can see the fact sheet for farmers here: https://terrain.org.au/projects/wet-tropics-major-integrated-project/program-design-documents/
Constructed Wetlands The next in the series of catchment repair technologies that I am drawing out for Terrain NRM is ‘Constructed Wetlands’. Constructed Wetlands can trap sediments and remove nutrients, pesticides metals and pathogens in water. And you can see the fact sheet for farmers here: https://terrain.org.au/projects/wet-tropics-major-integrated-project/program-design-documents/
High Efficiency Sediment Basins The last in the series of catchment repair technologies that I am drawing out for Terrain NRM is ‘HES Basins’. HES Basins can stop coarse and fine sediment and associated nutrients and pesticides from entering waterways like the Great Barrier Reef. The fact sheet for farmers will be available here soon.
Illustrating Webinars, Zoom calls & Online chats
As we move towards online platforms to share our stories and discuss our ideas tailored infographics and illustrations can help to synthesize and simplify messages, elevate discussions and engage with audiences. To help improve Powerpoint slides (or alike) for Webinars, Zoom calls and online chats I have been working with teams and organisations to illustrate presentation content to help replace all the text, as a picture paints a thousand words!
A General Methodology for Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Harvest Strategy Development
Below are examples of how I created an infographic for a CSIRO webinar which summarised a large Powerpoint presentation in which each of the steps were also drawn out and then used throughout the webinar. Thanks to Natalie and the team for having me along to help “Picture your presentation“!
The images below show how the final infographic was used throughout the Webinar presentation, from using the central theme and each of the steps in the process to presenting the final process. By drawing out each of the steps in this process the infographic can then be used in so many different ways to help engage with stakeholders, including using the individual elements and overall process in reports etc.
Illustrating your WHY through art
It is always a great privilege to be asked to draw out an organisation’s strategy to illustrate their WHY. And working with TierraMar to create their visual story was a great experience and I loved creating the BIG PICTURE of their important story.
International Conference Workshop Templates:
It was great to be engaged by Sprott Planning & Environment to create some unique templates for the 2018 American GreenPort Congress. My clients are hosting a workshop at the Congress and wanted to engage participants with templates that would be visually appealing and gather their feedback without using the ‘usual’ butchers paper exercise! As you can ‘sea’ the creation of these templates is a staged process working from the initial discussion with my clients through to the creation of mock-ups and then the black and white drawings to the FINAL coloured templates!
Proposals and presentations:
It’s always a great delight for me as a marine scientist to be able to illustrate concepts and information to help managers and stakeholders of our marine resources. Here is a sneak peak of some drawings I have created for a proposal and presentation to help picture the importance of protecting marine biodiversity and managing fisheries in The Coral Triangle.
Community shark management workshops
I was part of a research team carrying out community workshops along the NSW coastline for the NSW Department of Primary Industries to ‘draw out’ beachgoers behaviour regarding sharks. This project focused on “Reducing risk in human shark interactions in NSW: a participatory approach to management and planning“. As a graphic recorder I created visual stories live at community and school workshops to picture ‘Have sharks changed your beach experience?‘.
Following the workshops I created visual stories to illustrate the key findings and conclusions of the research. These visual stories help to draw out the community’s feedback regarding beachgoer behaviour and sharks, as well as provide visual posters for the community groups who participated in this research project so they can ‘sea’ themselves in the picture. You can ‘sea’ the summary of the findings and recommendations in the Summary Report and you can see more about picturing this research project at https://drsuepillans.com/recording/schools-universities/
Digital Circular Food Economy:
It was great getting to create a range of artworks for the ‘Digital Circular Food Economy’ project for the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). This was a creative collaboration carried out over many months to illustrate the Why & How of this 3-year project. A time-lapse video was also created to illustrate the story behind this project which you can see at https://research.qut.edu.au/circular-food-economy/
Client testimonial: “ I am totally in awe of Dr Sue Pillans and how she helped bring our ‘digital circular food economy’ project to life. Some of the concepts we wanted to communicate to a non-scientific audience were complex, and Sue was able to coax out our ‘science story’ before creating the most incredibly beautiful and engaging art work. She has unique skills in science communication through art – it means we can reach a wider audience and inspire the with beautiful, original artworks”, Associate Professor Carol Richards, Food Systems, Business School, QUT
Action and Inspiration Walls:
It was great to create these simple but very effective Action and Inspiration Walls for a big Conference. These ‘action walls’ were built into the Conference Agenda as a series of group work exercises carried out throughout the day to help inspire ideas. As you can see there were A LOT of inspired ideas for strategy, action and imagine if!
Infographics for publications & presentations:
Drawings for PhDs, talks, preparations, websites and more!
Icons for websites
Icons & scenarios for Resumes & Interviews
Listening to interviews/podcasts
Conference and workshop illustrations (created on site)
Hand Drawn Animations:
As hand drawn animations take a considerable amount of time to create with clients this type of visual storytelling needs to be booked many months in advance as I only create a handful of these animated stories per year. These examples show how you can use visuals to bring your stories to life.
Sustainable Sediment Management Story (North Queensland Bulk Ports)
Mud crab sampling in Moreton Bay Marine Park (CSIRO)
Each of my drawings are created in some way with the “help” of my pawsome creative companion!
*Please note the use of my graphics and visuals need to be attributed to me and remain unaltered unless written permission is given as all graphics and images are Copyright © 2022 Dr Sue Pillans