Using Illustration to Help People with Low Literacy Levels Stay Healthy


Rural Sierra Leoneans have very little access to dental care. In order to improve access and raise funds, King’s College London Dental Institute wanted to gather data in the field. But to do so would mean getting permission from rural people who had very low literacy levels and for many of whom, dentistry would be a foreign concept. So the Kings team contacted me to create a simple information sheet and permission form that would empower semi-illiterate people to be part of the project.

From previous experience, the Kings team knew that Sierra Leoneans would not want to take part in the survey or the study unless they felt comfortable and safe. Therefore, the images were to be informative but also fun and warm. They were to reflect the cultural and racial heritage of the people being interviewed. They were also for all ages, so they had to be simple but not too juvenile.


Illustrations had to be demonstrative, warm and easy to identify with.

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Colour-wise I originally began with the bright red of the Kings College branding but feared that it was too reminiscent of blood for a dental project! So instead, I took inspiration from the warm reds of the Sierra Leonean soil and used a less saturated tone of the Kings red to soften the colour palette.


a warm colour palette taken from the rich colour of the Sierra Leonean soil


My initial sketch for this project included a ‘thumbs up and down’ — visual shorthand for approval or disapproval. However, after researching symbolic gesture in Sierra Leone I discovered that ‘thumbs up’ can have a very rude meaning indeed in Sierra Leone! We therefore replaced the sign with a universally comprehensible smiling and frowning face.

Although this project involved pretty graphics, its most important goal to help rural Sierra Leoneans understand the survey that was being carried out and help them give their consent. This would give them access dental care and empower them to improve their future health.

I am delighted to say that the project has secured funding and is now going through tests before it is applied in the field. I look forward to the results and incorporating the feedback in my practice!


Images made in Photoshop and formatted in Indesign



Illustrations to honour the Nansen Award 2015 Winner – Aqeela Asifi

Aqeela Asifi – Winner of the Nansen Award 2015Aqeela 1 FINAL

The UNHCR helps us celebrate great feats of bravery and kindness to refugees – those who win it are truly extraordinary.

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Aqeela Asifi’s story and achievements are astounding

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Today we have the highest rates of displaced people since WWII. Let’s celebrate those who work to protect, educate and give those people hope.

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Illustrations for the UNHCR – Mahmoud’s story


Yesterday I created a set of four drawings for the UN Refugee Agency to illustrate the experiences of nine year old Mahmoud, who’s story of relocation from Syria to Sweden is a truly touching one. watch the video HERE. 

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He fled from Syria and after living an unhappy life in Cairo, Egypt, was relocated this year with his family to Sweden. Watch the video and see how he changes from a scared, quiet little boy into a smiley, inquisitive, happy one. Follow the brilliant work of the UNHCR HERE

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The brief was to produce images for a social media campaign that would help spread good news stories from the UNHCR. An inspirational subject matter, a tight turnaround and one very dynamic social media manager made this a truly rewarding and enjoyable challenge. Hopefully the images will be useful in directing people’s attention towards the UNHCR and their work.

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Visual Minutes for Met Office #isituseful


A few weeks ago, I went off into the beautiful wilds of Devon to take visual minutes for the Met Office on behalf of the marvellous and mighty SCRIBERIA.

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We were attending a meeting of Euporias – a project run by 30 international experts in climate service development who gathered to discuss and identify the key principles that should be considered when developing new climate services.


Over 3 days, the Euporias team identified their new set of Principles, and I was there to capture the whole thing. The visuals created were used as a way of communicating the results of the meeting to the climate community and the public as a whole. They were also a great way of keeping track of the huge volume of ideas being produced so that refinements could be carried out and final concepts could be reached.

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They were a lovely group and they did some hard and very useful work!

In other exciting news, there were also beavers in the local river…


Here are the final images. Each is about 3 meters long

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Melissa Fleming – Let’s help Refugees thrive, not just survive.

Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and she has given an extraordinary talk on TED about how to help refugee thrive. Rather than letting people languish in the misery and boredom experienced in refugee camps, why not teach them vital skills that will help them one day rebuild their shattered homelands and at the same time keep them focused on nurturing future peace? This is a beautiful talk and seems to suggest a very tangible and sensible solution to one of the largest humanitarian issues of our world. Do listen to it HERE and hopefully enjoy the illustrations I’ve done to go with it.

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Work for the British Museum and Oxford University – EMPIRES OF FAITH

Back in June I did a job illustrating live at a conference at Oxford University in conjunction with the great British Museum. Over two days in June this year, a group of staff from the British Museum and guests took on the problem of trying to define religion and think about how religion affects, or is affected, by the sort of objects that make up the British Museum’s collection. It was all part of a research project with the EPIC name of Empires of Faith. BAM BAM BAAAAM

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Whilst these brilliant minds argued away about some really meaty academic topics, I sat at the back and drew drawings of some of the points they were coming up with. Never  has my tiny brain hurt so badly! So much great thought goes on behind the scenes at Universities across the world, but it is rare that we ordinary Joes and Josephines get to see it. Perhaps these illustrations will help bring these topics to life for a wider range of people. Anyway, here is the result, and I think everyone was happy.

Please read the British Museum’s  very good blog on the topic :


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Averil Cameron day 2 Bruce Lincoln Day 2 Matthew Canepa Day 2 Rubies day 2 Simon Coleman day 2