Project description

I’m a graphic artist at The Seattle Times and work in a small art team creating visuals for both our print and digital platforms. I work across all departments in the newsroom on subjects ranging from the environment to politics to sports. Trained as a science illustrator with a background in biology, I bring data and facts to life. I specializes in layering information in data-driven visualizations and infographics, mixing traditional media, like watercolors, acrylic and clay, with digital tools to help accurately represent the world around us. I especially like collaborating with videographers and reporters to create more immersive storytelling experiences.

Here is a sample of my work last year.
1. King County’s transportation spending – traditional data visualization of explaining the numbers
2. Teacher diversity in Washington State – data-driven narrative with an interactive map, and charts/graphs that help tell the story
3. Fresh hop beer brewing – video interactive with infographics, maps and charts mixed in
4. Orcas in peril – Interactive map and infographic on killer whales along the West Coast
5. Lead in Seattle Public Schools’ drinking water – interactive map highlighting lead levels in all public schools in Seattle
6. How to buy a home in Seattle – Interactive guide with graphs/charts and illustrations to explain Seattle’s unique home buying process

What makes this project innovative?

My portfolio work shows a wide range in subject matter, style, medium and presentation. It goes from simple bar charts to icon driven infographics to complex data visualizations depending on what is appropriate for the story. I strive to be creative and imaginative with how data and information can be presented on multiple platforms with multiple techniques. In the Fresh hop beer brewing project, I collaborated with a videographer to weave in maps and infographic animations into the video narrative. For the Orcas in peril infographic, I actually sculpted and painted a clay model of a killer whale to give readers a full view of an orca since all of our photos for the story only showed parts of the whale.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

For many of these projects, the best measure of success I received is direct feedback from a reader. For the transportation spending project several readers emailed me to say that they learned a lot from the data visualization and that it was both beautiful and informative. I also received a few questions from readers on things we didn’t cover in the graphic, but they were curious about. Those emails are even better than the compliments, as it means that we’ve not only explained our data to readers but did so in such a way that they are now wanting to learn more about the topic.

Source and methodology

For many of my projects, I start with my own research on the topic by reading a much as I can on the subject. I then go over my findings with colleagues before I create plan for the visual. I then send out drafts to experts in a subject field for their review/ accuracy check. For data projects, I gather data from public sources like the government, or other agencies, often times requesting a particular data set. When analyzing data, I like to have another colleague recalculate my math on their own and then we compare our results/process to get those calculations.

Technologies Used

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Qgis, HTML/CSS/Javascript, Leaflet, Excel, photo, video, and a toaster oven (for baking my clay model).

Project members

Frank Mina, Laura Gordon, David Gutman, Dahlia Bazzaz, Lauren Frohne, Lynda Mapes, Neal Morton, Mike Rosenberg


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