Infographics & Illustrations

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. AND time-lapse videos of these drawings are also a great way to grab your audiences attention!

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):

  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Proposals
  • Podcasts, Webinars, Zoom calls, Skype, online chats
  • Papers (including journal articles)
  • Plenary’s
  • PhDs
  • Policy
  • Team planning days
  • Preparation (for talks, interviews etc)
  • Strategy days
  • Websites
  • Office spaces and walls
  • Phone calls, emails, online streaming services
  • etc….!
An example of infographics and illustrations that have been created for publications, team planning days, fact sheets, proposals, presentations and podcasts

Creative collaborations

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 and a visual design brief to discuss the elements of your story and what you want the visual story to say/picture. I then provide you with a visual design brief I then develop a mock-up and together we revise the drawing to create your visual story.

The majority of my infographics and illustrations are created remotely with my clients.

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! Check out here soon 10+ ways to USE your visual stories.

*Please note: when using and reproducing the artworks to value the artwork and the artist’s rights please include the artist’s copyright and attribution to the artist when using and sharing the artworks; and do not alter the artworks or use the artworks for commercial purposes (or for profit) without the written permission of the artist.

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!

Illustrating Innovation

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

A wonderful quote from a staff member, “It’s a great illustration – really gets you thinking every time you walk past (which for me is a lot of times each day)!”

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. These infographics will become part of a Discussion Paper by CSIRO, which will be exciting to ‘sea’!

The team at CSIRO were so happy with how the scenarios were drawn out that they put the artwork on t-shirts and want to make our next drawing project a bit more challenging!

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Patagonian toothfish

It’s not everyday you get asked to draw attention to Patagonian toothfish by the CSIRO! Patagonian toothfish support Australia’s highest value finish fishery. Due to their fisheries importance in Australia I have been creating a tailored infographic for the research team who are looking at investigating the relationships between oceanography, toothfish prey fields and catch rates in the Southern Ocean.

Below is a sneak peek of the process of illustrating this research project which includes some particularly sophisticated modelling techniques and oceanographic models to provide the fishing industry and managers with an understanding of the environmental, ecological and economic drivers of toothfish fisheries.

I loved creating this science illustration. More coming here in 2023!

Patagonian toothfish_Infographic_DrSuePillans2022_sneakpeek

Traditional Owner RIMReP journey

I was engaged by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to create an infographic to picture the important story of the Traditional Owner (TO) journey through the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP). GBRMPA wanted to increase Traditional Owner awareness and understanding about the RIMReP, how it will support improved protection and management of the Reef and the various ways Traditional Owners can be involved in RIMReP.

I was able to discuss the creation of this important story with four Traditional Owner members who advise GBRMPA/RIMReP on how best to engage, provide their own perspectives on the program and its outputs and outreach with community.  I co-designed this illustration with the TOs and the RIMReP team as a journey to help explain what RIMReP is, what is planned over the next 5+ years and where TOs can get involved through their sea country monitoring and management.

It was a great pleasure and privilege to be asked to create this important illustration. A sneak peek of the illustration is below.

RIMReP To Journey map_

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’!



Adaptive Management Cycle

Being able to picture how your policies, processes and procedures interact and flow within an organisation is a powerful way to communicate to your staff and colleagues how and why you do what you do. So it was a great pleasure getting to work with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority again to create an infographic which pictured their Adaptive Management Cycle regarding the Outlook Report and associated strategic and operational programs.

This illustration was created for staff and colleagues, so it was important that the infographic was created with the audience in mind. To that end, even though this cycle is a complex one, I tried to ensure that the look and feel and flow of the illustration were simple and clear to the eye. I hear that the artworks are now on staff desks and some of them are even framed works of art!!

Adaptive Management Framework_GBRMPA_DrSuePillans2022

AND as you can ‘sea’ the artwork has also been presented on the BIG screen at the AMSA 2022 Conference, which created quite the buzz for the Conference participants sending me images like this live from the presentation by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority!

GBRMPA_Adaptive Management_AMSA2022_DrSuePillans

Surf Safe Noosa

It was a great experience working with Queensland Fisheries and the Noosa World Surfing Reserve (Noosa Biosphere) who engaged me to create an infographic which would deliver surf safety messages about reducing the risk of shark bite in a way that resonated with the audience (ie. surfers) and the place (Noosa) – for the Surf Safe Noosa campaign. I created an infographic that told a story about the different conditions to look out for when surfing at Noosa, including the important message that sharks share Noosa waters.

Surf Safe Noosa artwork_DrSuePillans2023

This visual was designed as both a ‘big picture’ story and so each picture could be used individually. The key messages were then made into postcards to be made available to the public, surfers and visitors to Noosa; now available at Tourism Noosa Visitor Centre and local surf stores.

The Surf Safe Noosa campaign was designed to help surfers understand the local conditions and stay safe in the water. You can ‘sea’ more about this important project at Surf Safe Noosa. All Year Round

Surf Safe Noosa_postcards_Dr Sue Pillans 2023


Surf Safe Noosa_Infographic_DrSuePillans2022_sneakpeek

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:


Collaborating with Sue has been a great experience. Her beautiful infographics have brought life and accessibility to complex information“, Monica Haynes, Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project, Terrain Natural Resource Management

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:

The creative collaboration process starts with ideas and information and is translated and transformed into illustrations to help “picture your ideas“.

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“!

“Your pictures certainly made our slides and lengthy presentations more visually compelling and accessible, and lent a sense of flow, signposting and cohesion through people being able to see the stepwise methodology as an illustration. The pulling out of key words and messages was also very effective in focusing people’s attention on the main issues. Having been forced to condense what would have been a 2-day workshop into about 3 hours of presentations, your illustrations were vital in helping present the material in a concise and efficient manner, and to lend a sense of storytelling”, Dr Natalie Dowling, CSIRO

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.

Drawing out the central theme of this presentation helped to picture the overall objective of the research project to share with stakeholders through the Powerpoint presentation/Webinar

Illustrating organisational purpose – what’s your WHY?

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.

Strategy Story_DrSuePillans

Your why story_DrSuePillans

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!


It was an absolute positive experience working with Dr Sue, as she quickly and accurately captured the technical content of the port industry. We look forward to working with Dr Sue again“. Sprott Planning, Australia
Dr Sue helped us uplift our interactive workshop at the recent GreenPort conference in Baltimore with amazing, creative and colourful mind maps“, Sprott Planning, Australia

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

Shark risk management_Visuals_Dr Sue Pillans

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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 (below) was also created to illustrate the story behind this project and you can see more at

Circular-Food-Economy Artwork_DrSuePillans

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:


A series of infographics created to illustrate Indigenous Heritage Values in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to be used in Fact Sheets with Traditional Owners and stakeholders (as below).

How my drawings were used in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Information Sheets.


Mock-up designs for the front cover artwork of the 2020 QTAC Guide to Further Study with the final front cover artwork below and you can find out more at


The final front cover artwork for the QTAC 2020 Guide with the QTAC Team!!

Drawings for PhDs, talks, preparations, websites and more!

Drawings created to illustrate the different aspects of a PhD Thesis on creative education, some of which were used in a published article about this research (see below).


Illustration created for an International industry Conference presentation/proceedings.
Illustration created for an article on how to use science to inform policy, written and drawn by me!

Icons for websites

Intervention icons created for the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to illustrate the measures being investigated to help protect and repair the Great Barrier Reef which appear on their Reef Restoration and Adaptation website

Icons & scenarios for Resumes & Interviews

I create icons and scenarios to help picture resume’s and visualise interview preparations

Listening to interviews/podcasts

Infographic created to help illustrate the health care delivery challenges of the ‘Silver Tsunami’. Created by listening to recorded interviews with health care professionals.
Visual stories can be created just by listening to discussions or synthesising information. A great way to engage your audience, clients and stakeholders remotely!

Conference and workshop illustrations (created on site)

Infographic created for the Plenary talk given by Professor Pete Mumby (University of Queensland) at the CCRES Stakeholder Forum held in Manila, Philippines.
Infographic created for Melanie King, Senior Advisor for the CCRES project, for her Keynote address at the East Asian Seas Congress in Danang, Vietnam.

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. The example below was created using an iPad, which I don’t do anymore as I prefer hand drawn visuals, but it gives a good example of how you can use visuals and audio to bring your story to life.

Sustainable Sediment Management Story (North Queensland Bulk Ports)

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, images and video’s are Copyright © 2023 Dr Sue Pillans 

For more information about my Infographics & Illustrations please