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Illustration Creation: Thanks, but No Thanks

Sketches, revisions, and final art for the article “Thanks, but No Thanks.”

One of my (many) goals in 2013 is to be more social. My husband and I are homebodies, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that we humans are essentially social beings. On the other hand, sometimes we get invited to social engagements that we just don’t want to attend for various reasons: sounds like too much work and/or money, have more pressing things to do, it’s been a long day, etc. The article “Thanks, but No Thanks” (Jan/Feb 2013) addresses the challenge of saying “no” without feeling guilty, or worse, making up a lie.

For the illustration, I called Aaron Leighton, whose graphic style and upbeat tone seemed perfect for the assignment (you may remember him from “The Art of Conversation” in our July/August 2012 issue).

For many illustrations, one of the big questions I ask myself is whether we should illustrate the problem (feeling stressed about having too many social invitations) or the solution (saying “no” gracefully). There’s no right or wrong answer, and Aaron offered us a sketch for each. We decided to go with the solution, and only asked him to adjust the colors.

In the end, the final illustration (bottom right) perfectly captures a woman saying “no” with confidence and grace.