Key Steps in Illustration: Giving Instructions – Revisited

When I created my illustrations on how to make a cup of tea, I tried out different things, including how to create a GIF. Exploring new things is something I should keep up doing – according to my tutor. Her feedback was that my final piece, however, remained a bit unclear, and looking back at it, I have to say I agree.

There is a lot going on in the picture, with all elements at a similar scale. The arrows are probably too small, and it’s probably a bit to difficult to follow the reading direction of the piece.

kat-illustrates-giving-instructions-tea (21)

One of her suggestions was to play around with different scales, to make the composition more interesting and to suggest rhythmn. Also she suggested that the symplistic collage format I used for the GIF works well.

So I decided to combine the two points, and create a new piece that is a bit simpler and used different scales of the elements I use. I also decided to cut out a few steps – because my instructions were probably a bit too detailed in the first place. I guess it’s something that one of my translation teachers used to say: People should have a general idea of how things work, which means that you don’t have to go into every little detail, but focus on the key elements. I used the elements from the GIF collage, and recreated the illustration, using different scales, larger arrows, a reduced colour scheme.

kat-illustrates-Giving Instructions New1.jpg

I also tried it with background other than white, staying in the same yellow-brownish colour scheme.

Giving Instructions New3
Giving instructions – revisited

I think compared to the initial version, it works better. It is clearer too look at, and even though there are a few steps missing, I feel that you still get the idea better because the reading flow seems to be more logical.

One key learning is that – especially for instructions – it is essential to cut your idea to the most important elements and not to overload the things you want to convey. In terms of compositions it is important to work with different scales to lead the eye through the image.


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