Recycling Book – Paper 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.  This one is a simplified version of the steps to recycle paper.  Sorting, Shredding, Soaking, Screening, Pressing into Sheets, Drying, and Rolling.

Paper Recycling Process

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 – Page 9

Here’s an image that appears on page 9 of a coloring book about recycling commissioned by Positive Promotions for Earth Day.  Since this whole project was a rush job, I don’t think I got the characters quite as consistent as I usually do.  I think the boy on the left side’s head needs to be larger in comparison to his body.  Oh, well.  I’ll try to do better in the future.   🙂

Boys tossing soda cans in a recycling bin.

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


In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d write something about recycling.

I live in Olathe, KS.  My city has a curbside recycling program that works really well for us.  We’ve actually found that we recycled so much of our trash that we had to have the city give us a bigger bin.

The bin they supply is a big, square trash can on wheels.  It is the type designed to be picked up by the arm on the automated trash trucks.  They pick up the recycling every other week on our normal trash day.  It’s great because we treat it just like a trash bin except that only recyclables go in it.  We don’t have to sort anything and they accept most types of plastics, aluminum and tin cans, and paper products.

We do find ourselves with recyclables that aren’t accepted at curbside.  Glass, for one, has to be dropped off at local collection points.  Plastic grocery sacks have to be recycled at the grocery store.  Fortunately, it’s not too inconvenient to do this since I run errands at least once a week and can easily incorporate this into my schedule while I’m out.

The city also collects yard waste separately from trash.  They chop the branches into mulch and compost the rest.  They use the mulch and compost in the city parks and it’s free to any citizen that wants to come pick some up.

They also have an electronics and battery recycling program.  For a fee, you can drop off electronics, televisions, car batteries, etc. and they’ll be processed and recycled.

Then there’s the hazardous waste program, which isn’t really a recycling program exactly.  They offer unused paint and chemicals for free to any citizen who wants them and will properly dispose of anything else.

The only problem I see with recycling is that now I fee guilty when I can’t recycle waste that’s made of recyclable materials.  For example, anytime I’m out to lunch and have a plastic drink bottle, fork, or plate that needs to be thrown away after the meal, I find myself annoyed at the restaurant that they don’t have a recycling bin available.  Also, anytime I have to throw away a broken plastic toy, storage bin, metal rod, or a small appliance I feel guilty because I didn’t recycle it.  But our city just doesn’t have programs to recycle every single type of recyclable our household produces.  So, I’m still stuck throwing things that are technically recyclable in the garbage.

I bet in a hundred or two hundred years people will be mining today’s landfills for recyclable and reusable materials.  So, when I do throw away recyclables, I suppose I’m contributing to a resource future generations will be able to tap into.