August 2021 saw a tsunami of stories from Afghanistan in the news. Apart from a bunch of small graphics, I participated with “Chaos in Kabul“ and “Flights over Kabul“ both stories related to the Afghan skies and the complex situation lived there after the US troops withdraw. At Reuters, we did a good long list of potential stories, even I did a few kickoffs of some, but a packed agenda of long term projects for this year left most of them out.
Have you ever felt that you need a few copies of your self to materialise all the stuff in your mind? no? well maybe just me weirdo but I do. I would have loved to have some copies of me working on a few more stories from Afghanistan to get them in time to publish back then.
Those aircraft illos above are from stories that do made it, but you know I love to share pieces from under the rug, so… here you go:
For a day or two my desktop was full of guns blueprints, aircraft dossiers, technical documents of military equipment, tons of field photographs from our news feed, news articles… The home screen of photoshop and illustrator slowly turned red.
I usually start these things in photoshop, drawing outlines, then a base colour layer, a layer shadows and one more of lights on top. All always to scale and 2.5x the size I’ll need in the final version.
The cool stuff related to my job. ❤
The night vision googles were my favourites, weird device actually. I learn some of them are like a video game with this cool display of augmented reality. The visuals looks really nice, check this story from The Washington Post [ here ] or just google “US army augmented reality night vision goggles” you will see.
I love to learn new things, that’s one of the best things of my job actually. You never know what’s waiting for you tomorrow, what new curiosities are waiting there for you. And even if they don’t get published for sure you will learn something new.
The grey area of working in news
Beyond the research for the illustrations and the drawing itself, I made some maps and videos on a demo page with the proposal. Maybe all of this was pointing too high in the little time we had at the time since all the rest of the work has to be considered to complete the story.
Sometimes news are a bit cruel, you must do everything quickly before it’s no longer news. The tricky part of it is that most of us in this industry think quickly of the same things. It’s like a race against the clock, so, unless you can distinguish your story from others that have been already published, things are doomed, and may end here on my blog… which is fine, but of course it’s a sad thing to bring potential stories to the graveyard.
The summary of this failed idea contains a fair amount of learning, a lot of cool nerd stuff is on my head now. Although unfortunately none of this was published, it was not a complete waste of time either as I did not work on this exclusively. There are many other interesting things in the pipeline, some almost done, so enthusiasm always remains high.
About #infofails post series:
Graphics that are never formally published. Those are maybe tons of versions of a single graphic or some floating concepts and ideas, all part of my creative process. All wrapped up in #infofails, a compilation of my creative process and failures at work.
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