Before and After: Turning Investigations into Illustrations at SRCCON

Last week, Allison McCartney and I gathered a bunch of journalists, developers, and designers and gave them some crayons and markers to doodle for an hour. We giggled, we cried, we got weird.

Our SRCCON session started with a brief history of visual journalism followed by a warmup blind contour portrait sketch (very cubist, very chic).

From there, we dove straight into the ideation and sketch process. Everyone broke into groups and chose a (mostly fictional) headline from a hat and were then let loose to whip up a few concepts for news illustrations.

Over the weekend, we edited the submitted sketches to create mockups of potential illustration proposals that you can now bring back to your newsroom editors. Here’s a sampling of the before and afters…we tried to stick as close to the original ideas as possible.

1. Chiptole’s Norovirus Outbreak Causes Boulder Residents to Fall Ill and Evacuate

2. Report Finds Viagra to be Statistically Ineffective Among Men Over the Age of 50

3. Pot Becomes Legal In All 49 States Except California

4. Report finds Organic Produce Giant in Oregon Involved in Elaborate Price-Gouging Scam

5. SoulCycle Instructors Caught in Massive Identity Theft Ring Targeting Gym Members

6. Study Finds that Ohio Police Unit’s New Tuxedo Uniform Has Led to a 50% Decrease in Petty Crime

7. Investigation Finds Well-Funded BioTech Startup Dumped Toxic Waste Into Oakland Wildlife Sanctuary

8. Florida Man Shoots Teenagers Hunting Pokemon Outside His Home

We tried to get to as many as possible so a few sketches will likely be added later (some of the submitted files were too small or were corrupt so we’ll see if we can dig up the originals). For those who missed the session, this doc contains our guides to ideation, critique, and illustrating for the news.

Thank you to all the participants and SRCCON for giving us an opportunity to have lots of giggles. And remember: you are all stars.