Editorial Illustration

Illustrations for New York Times articles
9 Weeks | Student Project


A series of illustrations to convey the tone and amplify the message of each accompanying article.


I chose 3 existing articles written for the New York Times that could benefit from illustration to convey information that cannot be expressed with text or photography.




Fresco (iPad)
An illustration can convey something that words and photos cannot. It does not have to be one-to-one. What is the heart of the article?


The Best brain foods you're not eating

Studies have shown certain foods may boost your mental health and affect the way you feel.

Tone: Calming, relaxing
Category: Wellness & health

McDonald's Ice Cream Woes Have Inspired Memes, Mockery and Now, a federal Lawsuit

The ice cream machines at McDonald’s are broken so often that there’s a website to look up the status of your local store's machine. App developers tried to fix the problem — with litigious results.

Tone: Informative, cautionary
Category: Business & technology

A Love of Trees or a Display of Power? The Odd PArk of an Oligarch

A billionaire former prime minister in the country of Georgia has transferred over 200 century-old trees to his park, even widening river beds to make way. Is it purely out of a love of trees or to show that he still holds influence in the country?

Tone: Eerie, mysterious
Category: Politics & international



The New York Times has over 1.6 million subscribers online. The average reader is educated, with most having a university degree and generally considered to be well-informed and politically opinionated. 

Research & Insights

As print becomes less in demand, the number of online subscribers is growing. Online content creates more need for imagery that grabs the reader's attention and supports the content of the article.
Editorial Illustration adds depth to an article and can add perspective or tonality to the viewers' experiences. It can also be used to break down complex ideas to be more understandable and relatable.


1. Brainstorming

I began by reading through each article and underlining sentences that sparked inspiration or key ideas. I created a mind map to brainstorm possible forced connections or elements that symbolized the tone or heart of the story. I sketched thumbnails and presented them to a group of my peers to get feedback on what resonated and conveyed the ideas accurately.

2. Sketching

I sketched the chosen thumbnail and refined it with attention to creating a composition that supported the idea.

3. Choosing colors

When the sketch was finalized, I explored color combinations that expressed the mood I wanted to convey.

4. Refinement

The final stage was to refine the line-work and add depth and texture to the image. I developed a rendering technique that allowed me to keep the steps straightforward and uncomplicated since editorial illustrations are often on tight deadlines. I applied the same technique to each illustration.

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