Charts and Illustration

Simple is hard, but it’s not impossible.

Charts and Models

Models don’t have to be boring tables.

We can use simple illustration and color to help our models stand out and deliver the information we want them to deliver.

Simple illustrations, in the forms of icons, and short narrative sentences can completely transform a model.  Turning a string of sentence fragments into an illustrated story you can actually read.

We are not confined to what Excel can do.

It’s time to escape the confines of Excel.  By mixing vector graphics tools, and an expert understanding of fundamental data visualization principles, we can create charts you just can’t build in MS Office.

Single Response Icon Array

Multi-response Icon Array

Hand drawn Illustration

Photos are too specific (and generic) sometimes.  Especially in our stock photo world.

Clean hand drawn images can be perfect alternatives.  Here are just a couple of the sketches I’ve drawn for reports and posters.

Cartoon Illustration

As a cartoon illustrator it is my job to take important ideas, often hidden within traditional academic communication, and adapt them into a format that is easy to engage.

You will find my cartoons in presentations, reports, textbooks, social media, and websites across the globe.  I share many through my blog at

Michael Quinn Patton

Michael reached out to me when putting the finishing touches on the 4th edition of his textbook on Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods.  He wanted to commission some of my cartoons as additional added value for the new edition.

When drawing cartoons I search for points of contention, problems, or frustrations to draw inspiration.  Challenges and problems are far more engaging than solutions.  Michael included a series of ruminations in his new edition and they were the perfect fodder for a set of new cartoons.

Here are just a few of the cartoons that appear in Michael’s book.

For the rumination: Convenience Sampling Is NOT Purposeful Sampling

For the Rumination:  Interviewing as an unnatural act: Overcoming the over-confidence of incompetence

For the Rumination: Keep qualitative analysis qualitative

David Fetterman

David Fetterman reached out to me looking for a cartoon highlighting the differences between three similar evaluation methodologies.  He provided me with several academic articles in order to find inspiration.

Here is one of the cartoons I designed along with the journal text that inspired the cartoon.

Collaborative evaluators are in charge of the evaluation, but they create an ongoing engagement between evaluators and stakeholders, contributing to stronger evaluation designs, enhanced data collection and analysis, and results stakeholders understand and use. Collaborative evaluation covers the broadest scope of practice, ranging from an evaluator’s consultation with the client to full-scale collaboration with specific stakeholders in every stage of the evaluation (Rodr?guez-Campos & O’Sullivan, 2010). 

Participatory evaluators jointly share control of the evaluation. Participatory evaluations range from program staff members and participants participating in the evaluator’s agenda to participation in an evaluation that is jointly designed and implemented by the evaluator and program staff members. They encourage participants to become involved in defining the evaluation, developing instruments, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting and disseminating results (Shulha, 2010). Typically ‘‘control begins with the evaluator but is divested to program community members over time and with experience’’ (Cousins, Whitmore, & Shulha., 2013, p.14). 

Empowerment evaluators view program staff members, program participants, and community members as in control of the evaluation. However, empowerment evaluators do not abdicate their responsibility and leave the community to conduct the evaluation solely by itself. They serve as critical friends or coaches to help keep the process on track, rigorous, responsive, and relevant. Empowerment evaluations are not conducted in a vacuum. They are conducted within the conventional constraints and requirements of any organization. However, participants determine how.

Conference Cartoons

I use cartoons to illustrate conferences for social media.

When I sit in a presentation, or talk to fellow conference goers, I look for ideas and concepts that would make good cartoons.  Then I immediately draw and share them on twitter alongside the conference hash tag.  If it’s good, a single presentation can generate a handful of cartoons.

It makes for a fun way to create broader discussion on social media in support of almost any live event.

Here are a few of the cartoons I created during the 2016 American Evaluation Conference.  The conference theme was on Design and Evaluation.