Part 1: Getting Started

Exercise 2: Getting the Gist


This exercise required me to choose an editorial from a newspaper or magazine. I had to read the article several times, highlighting key words/phrases that summed up the meaning of the text as a whole until this could be condensed to a single word or phrase. This process made me focus on the message that was to be communicated in the illustration I was then asked to create.

Choosing an Editorial

I originally decided to use the internet as my source for a newspaper editorial, however, I found this harder than expected as most online paper require a subscription. I chose an article in the Evening Standard by Rob Rinder, which I first found in the paper, titled Guiltily paying to plant trees when we go on holiday doesn’t begin to repay our daily environmental debt. This topic interests me and I think it is a very current issue that humans are finally being forced to take notice of (some of them anyway).

As suggested in the brief, I began by reading the article as I would normally and then reread it several times, trying to select the key words/sentences, until I could condense this down to the message of the article.


Although I felt I had grasped the main message of the article, I found it much harder than I expected to initially come up with any ideas. I drew out some very rough sketches, hoping this would result in some solid way forward.

I was not particularly inspired by what I had come up with, but two possibilities did develop from these sketches. The first was to have money being thrown down onto a huge pile of coins, almost completely submerged in water (i.e. the sea). I thought of having a person standing on the pile at first, but then changed this to a tiny sapling growing out of the money.

The second idea was for the Earth to represent a money box, which a hand is dropping coins into (I thought this reflected the action of paying for one’s sins – indulgences). I then decided that the bottom of the Earth would be melting.

Out of these two ideas I thought the world money-box was more striking and easier to understand. I felt it also communicated the article’s message more succinctly.

Using both these sketches as templates, I moved into Illustrator.

Working in Illustrator

I began by roughly outlining the sketches using the pen tool. I did this for both of my ideas.

Rough Outlines
Rough Outlines

I decided that I wanted to continue with the world money-box idea. I neatened up the lines and then, using a template, plotted out the detail of the land masses. I tried to keep the design quite simplified.

Using a template to create a more accurate depiction of the world.
Outlines more less complete

Once I was fairly happy with the layout and placement, I added colour.

Adding colour

I decided to try and make the image more dynamic by suggesting the drips are coming out of the illustration.I thought this was more effective,

The Final Design

Final Thoughts

As I was pleased with my choice of editorial, I was quite worried that I would not be able to come up with any decent ideas. However, I felt my final design was fairly effective at conveying the message of the text. If I had more time to work on it, I would have added more details, e.g. shadows and also tried integrating it into a mock-up article, with the wording.

As an exercise in terms of illustrating what is being said in text, I thought it was a fairly successful attempt. However, in hindsight, I do not think the style of my illustration would suit the Evening Standard as it is quite cartoony. If this was a requirement of the exercise I would attempt to take the same idea and make a more ‘sophisticated’ version.


Rinder, R. (2019). Guiltily paying to plant trees when we go on holiday doesn’t begin to repay our daily environmental debt. [online] Evening Standard. Available at: [Accessed 3 December 2019].