Composing Scholar Stratagems

Scholar Strategies

Recently I’ve just finished 1 out of a handful of illustrations for Scholar Strategies, here’s an excerpt from their official description:

“Our mission is to guide each of our students towards successful completion of secondary school or post-secondary school preparation and application processes.”

logoThe illustration is meant to convey what the company does, in empowering students and helping them meet their full potential. A diamond in the rough into an ace of spade, that was the visual pun I chose to implement, how obvious or how low-key it’d be is a point of decision to be made later on.

We agreed on a female mentor figure to represent the classic image of nurturing and guidance, without restricting the nature of the guidance to just one between a teacher and a student (since the company does different things than give cram lessons). The client and Anthem also asked for a softer, slightly cartoonish approach to the overall feel and execution.


The initial sketch is rough not only in quality but also rough as a conceptual phase. The kid looks a little young and the lady isn’t particularly interesting to look at. This is akin to flinging a fishing line into the pond. The only thing I kept from this is the argyle pattern on the kid’s jacket acting as the diamonds in the rough.

I enjoy the visual pun of having them act as narrative elements; transforming into the spades, representing the empowerment and knowledge the company gives to its clients.

diamonds-in-the-rough-ace-of-spade-bI drafted a cleaner line-work of the image. I added the graph-like shapes to represent information. While still far from a final image, at this point there were several things I had to be increasingly more sensitive of: feedbacks of the client and how it’d be presented on the website.

The client liked the visual pun but said that something about the spades haven’t quite hit home yet. 

TryoutsI sought out to implement the logo more actively into the illustration. If you’re wondering why I painted more than was asked to; I was just being safe. The logo now represents the service and empowerment they provide their clients; not to mention they frame, and complete the image better. The presentation also helps add a more modern, iconic flair to the illustration.

The complete image:

Scholar Strategem

Hope you’ve enjoyed a brief insight to 1 of the many different processes an illustration might lead to. Good night, world.

Many thanks to Anthem and Jason Li for the help and over-the-shoulder feedbacks.

Posted Friday, August 28th, 2009 under Work: Commercial.

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