Yesterday was a rather unsatisfactory day, my first working on illustrations for ‘Social Leadership: Power and Potential’. This is not uncommon: illustrating a book is a little like finding a voice in that sometimes you have to search around a bit.
In the end, i have decided to go with ‘forces of nature’ as the theme, which i hope ties it into the broader metaphor i use of the Organisation as an Ecosystem, as well as the various Landscapes i’ve explored before (‘Trust’, ‘Communities’, ‘Quiet Leadership’ etc).
I also knew that i wanted a reasonably naive style: quick to draw, and lots of small components that can be used around the pages – because this work is itself a rapid iteration. It’s not a masterpiece, but rather a practical Enquiry Framework.
So forces of nature it is: starting in the harbour, with the waves, and moving into the forest, where the leaves are blown through the air. There may be a lot of lightning. And perhaps a windmill.
Illustrating work is, itself, the most difficult thing: writing is easy, research is logical, even developing ideas has a certain pace to it, but illustration can feel like a mountain, and the challenge is more physical than mental sometimes. To be hunched over the screen for a week or two is a challenge.
That’s one of the reasons why i illustrated the upcoming Humble Leader book in old fashioned pen and ink, to give myself a break, as well as to differentiate it from the usual Guidebooks.