Recycling Book – Plastic Recycling

Here’s a page for a coloring book about recycling commissioned by Positive Promotions for Earth Day.  Text explaining the illustration is to be added in production.

There were four pages in this project meant to explain the recycling processes for different materials to young children.  Initially I was to copy the original illustration, but in my style.  Unfortunately, the original illustrations were quite fanciful.  For example, the image below is about how plastics are recycled.  The second step in the original had a worker chopping the plastic up with an ax, like a lumberjack.  Very easy to understand, but not at all how it works.  That fit well with the silly cartoon characters from the original design, but not with my more realistic cartoon characters.

So, for my versions of the recycling process illustrations, I had to find a balance between the silly original concepts and what actually happens in a recycling plant.  I couldn’t make it completely realistic because the function of much of the equipment actually used is not obvious to an outside observer, and particularly not to young kids.  But I couldn’t make it too silly or it wouldn’t fit the style.

So, for this image, my version of step two has whole plastic items coming down a conveyor belt into a machine and shredded plastic coming out the other end.  Still not exactly how it looks in a recycling center, but close enough to be clearly understood without being too silly.

So, the simplified steps for plastic recycling for this page are:  Sorting, Chopping, Melting, Forming into Pellets, and Making New Products.

Plastic Recycling Process

Recycling Book – Cover Art

I recently completed an educational coloring book project for Positive Promotions to be printed in time for Earth Day 2020.  This was an unusual project in two ways.

First, it was not a new work, but a reillustration of an existing book originally illustrated 25 years ago.  The previous illustrations were perfectly nice, but in a somewhat dated style.  They wanted to update it.  So, in many scenes, I was more-or-less copying a previous illustrator’s work, but in a modern style.  A few elements were even just tracework, merely updating the line style to match my illustrations.  There are no copyright or plagiarism issues because the publisher owned full rights to the previous work and instructed me to copy it.  However, I have excluded the most direct copies from what I’m sharing here because I feel weird claiming that as my work.  The samples I’ll share here for this project will only be the work that’s completely original or significantly different from the source material.

The second unusual part of this project was that it was a rush job.  The project was one color cover image and 15 pages of black and white illustrations, usually several illustrations per page, all work to be done in two weeks, start to finish.  So, this job was completed at top speed, working weekends and way more hours per day than I want to admit.  Then, on top of that, there was a miscommunication on the ages of the characters that caused me to have to go back and redraw parts of most of the sketches before I could move on to the finals.  Whew!  This was a stressful project.  But I got it done!

Anyhow, here’s the first image.  This was for the cover and is the only color illustration in the project.

Three children toss recyclables into a divided bin