Great Eagle Wood: Illustrated Book Launch

Great Eagle Wood: An illustrated allegory on Economics. Published by Cork University Press
Great Eagle Wood: An illustrated allegory on Economics. Published by Cork University Press

This month sees the launch of a new book, Great Eagle Wood, by Cork writer and academic, Derry Cotter. It is an allegorical tale about how economies work, where the various character archetypes are written as animals. It’s published by the Institute of Accountants in Ireland and is a sort of Animal Farm about general economics. For a dismal scientist, Cotter explains the complexities of money in a simple and fun way.

The Bottom Line. Great Eagle Wood: An illustrated allegory on Economics. Published by Cork University Press
The Bottom Line. Great Eagle Wood: An illustrated allegory on Economics. Published by Cork University Press

The illustration brief identified ten points which were to be illustrated with the instruction that the body of the book would be monocolour. This was a departure for me as I don’t take on much mono work. Nevertheless, I had fun with the project, creating characters and imagining scenes in the text -above is the accountant at the Bottom Line. Accountants are foxes, naturally. So are barristers. We have Beaver blue-collar workers, Duck merchants, a depressive Bear and my favourite; an overly optimistic Bull. All presided over by the Great Eagle himself.

All the interior illustrations are drawn with a soft pencil on Fontaine demi-satin watercolour paper. Mmmmm, smooooth.

It will be launched in UCC’s Aula Maxima [invitation only].

Financial Report Illustration Project

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan organisation have just launched their new financial report, designed by Toronto-based design studio, The Works. The studio art director’s vision for the project used illustration to convey the central theme of this year’s report which is ‘balance’.
Although The Works had a clear idea of the principal image which is one of a high-wire unicyclist, they wished to use other characters throughout the design to focus on other activities of the OTPP.

Several rounds of sketches were made to present ideas for various aspects of the report. However, after consideration by the designers and the client, the concept was kept to one character.


You can see here, the development of the central character. The sketch at left was my first rough rendering which was changed according to the designers’ comments. The final illustration kept close to this last drawing, save for the objects being juggled. A nice idea was to show the reverse of the unicyclist on the back cover:

It was fun trying to get the model to balance just that little bit longer while I set up my easel on the other side of the line. A thorough dousing with fixative spray helped him to maintain the pose. The report is now in print and online on OTPP’s web site. and the model has finally been removed from the unicycle and returned to his family.