Back to school means I’m juggling my time to squeeze in illustration projects. I provided the cover illustration in the newest issue of The Dominion: news from the grassroots.
My illustration communicates some of the issues facing queer and trans youth in high school sex ed classes, including bullying and being erased from the curriculum.
Here’s how sketches developed from my notebook to a digital piece.
My first sketches had queer and trans students standing in a high school hallway in front of lockers instead of being in ‘sex ed’ class. The second round of drawings showed them leaving class because they were fed up. Third sketch was situated in the classroom and this is the one I sent off to the excellent editors at the Dominion.
The story is the moment when a queer couple, holding hands at the back of the class, realizes they are not being included in the sex ed curriculum. School is teaching something else entirely: how we’re supposed to be ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, and there’s only one way to have relationships. The classmates react to this moment. Editorially, we wanted a balance of responses from the students- some are shocked, some are questioning, and some are supportive of the couple at the back of the room.
At the blackboard, in the first few versions, the teacher is using a metaphor to explain sex ed. In the end, this was a bit too subtle. Maybe I’ll find room for this metaphor in a poster some other time.
I also worked with the editors to find a colour palette that would work for the piece. A lot of information that gets added to a magazine cover, so finding a balance of colours for the foreground and background was tricky, but working digitally has an advantage of being able to easily change colours. You can see we began with white/greys, then a moss green, and in the end, we went bold with an eye-catching green for newsstand appeal.
For news from the grassroots, I encourage you to subscribe to the Dominion: visit www.dominionpaper.ca