Exercise 2: Getting the gist

Brief #1

“Choose an editorial from a newspaper or magazine. Read it for information or pleasure as you would ordinarily. Read it again and this time highlight or underline key words which you think are important to conveying the meaning of the piece overall. You may find that you are choosing a single word per sentence or that your selection is dispersed throughout the text and denser in some areas than others”.

The words that result from this process are your starting point. You can now say to yourself “I’m going to create an image about….”

Now have a go at an illustration for your text. Try a number of different ideas or variations. Keep the drawings together with the text so you can refer back to them”.

Chosen editorial – BBC News Coronavirus: Rescuing China’s animals during the outbreak 29th February 2020

  • The words I selected are underlined in bold.

Pet owners who fall sick or are caught up in quarantine can’t take their animals with them, and despite reassurance from the World Health Organization that animals can’t carry the virus, others are being dumped.

“I have rescued lots of dogs this month, most have been abandoned by their owners,” one volunteer from Furry Angels Heaven in Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, told the BBC. She said she has 35 dogs and 28 cats in her apartment in addition to the animal rescue centre she helps operate.

“It’s a bad situation here. We are not allowed to go outside and I am afraid my dogs and cats will be out of food soon. I am worried if I or my family get infected with the virus then all of the dogs and cats could be killed by policemen.”

Without income from its regular paid work at the moment, she fears the animal centre’s savings could be used up soon.

An experienced rescuer in Shenzhen who did not want to give her name also said Chinese New Year was a busy time of year for animal abandonments, but that she has never encountered one every single day.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51614957 – link for the article.


  • Animals.
  • Dumped.
  • Abandoned by their owners.
  • Out of food soon.
  • Could be killed by policeman.
  • Animal centre’s savings could be used up soon.
  • Abandonments every single day.

Brief #2

“Read the text again. You may well find that your understanding of the text changes as you re-read it. This time focus specifically on the words that you have already selected. With a different colour, jot down the words that summarise the meaning of the entire text. Depending upon the nature of the content, this may be one single sentence or a string of words. This process of distilling and condensing the text will help focus on the message that needs to be communicated”.

After reading and highlighting this article I had a specific idea in mind, I wanted to only focus on these poor animals. Moreover, I wanted to create an illustration that portrayed some of the emotions that these animals may be feeling. Which I imagined would be sadness, abandonment, loneliness, hunger, and a lot of afraidness.

I decided to illustrate a cat and a dog with the emotional expressions I mentioned previously. Consequentially I decided to illustrate them with big collars with numbers on them so it would represent the large amount of pets that are being dumped, and how this takes away their individuality as a living being and they may be treated or perceived as a statistical number.

Additionally, to furthermore represent their emotional and physical state I decided to illustrate them in a cold, dark and scary cell. Where they are being looked up and taken away from their rights to live and be loved.

My first sketch

After creating this first illustration I liked its structure and feeling that it gave me, so I decided to keep working on this idea.

Started coloring in
Shading and giving it depth

Additionally, I decided to make their fur darker and dirtier so it would potentiate even more the feeling of abandonment and their horrific state of life.

Furthermore, I also decided that I wanted to try and make it as realistic as possible, and I also focused on their sad eyes.

Illustrating the eyes
Shadin in the cat
Final coloring touches
Changing the background color to create a more sad feeling
Adding the bars to represent the emotional and physical cell they’re in

My final illustration.


After finishing this illustration I was pleasantly surprised with the result, I think I did a good job of capturing the emotional and physical state of these innocent animals.

On the other hand, I enjoyed creating this piece because I felt like I was giving a voice and protesting (at a small scale) for these animals and the injustice they are living.

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