Case study: Illustrations to enhance video course

Bespoke illustrations for Tristan Gooley aka the Natural Navigator to enhance video course experience.

Pallant Digital approached me to create illustrations to help explain some of the key concepts in a video course for one of their clients, Tristan Gooley aka the Natural Navigator. His new video course, The Beginner's Guide to Natural Navigation helps with natural navigation and is available via his website.  

Tristan Gooley’s Beginner’s Guide to Natural Navigation explains natural navigation in 12 well-structured chapters. There are over 100 clues, signs and methods to help navigate by nature.

I am a fanatical fell-runner, so navigation skills are of the essence. At the age of 18, I decided to draw an (almost) straight line on a Swiss map and walk along that line through the alps for 1 month, navigating using maps and compass. Of course, we had no GPS in the ’80s. So this project was right up my street!

Frame-by-Frame animation to help explain a complex idea

Natural_Navigator_Illustration_02_Sandra Staufer
Illustrations for Tristan Gooley aka the Natural Navigator, THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO NATURAL NAVIGATION. ©sandrastaufer 

The brief

The brief: to create 20 illustrations to explain certain navigational clues which underline the video course, The Beginner's Guide to Natural Navigation

The brief was to help the hiker find his/her way, direction, ascertain distance. Whilst I was drawing the various tips, I tested them out on my own walks.

I created one ‘banker’ illustration to ascertain the style which needed to be carried through the illustrations consistently:  type, colour palette, format and stroke. This helped to create a group of drawings suitable for the video course. Any additional illustrations can be added in the same style later as required.


My approach

I felt it important to apply a more realistic style to tell the story. I drew on an iPad Pro using Adobe Draw in layers. There was a short time-limit on the project and this homed me into a ‘no-frills’ approach. The final artwork was produced at high-resolution (ratio 16:9)  in case they were going to be used in different settings, e.g. print. 

The illustrations were then animated by Ranald Lloyd-Williams, RLW Film and a few back-and-forths were required to get the sequence right. Good communication with the animator was key, so as to understand how best to supply the illustrations in terms of labeling and grouped layers to make the animator’s task as easy as possible.

The project management was undertaken with www.freedcamp  to get each task through to sign off and to assure allocated times were adhered to keep the budget in check.

The solution

The illustrations help explain sometimes difficult concepts to imagine. They also help to focus on that clue and break up the chapters of the video course. 

The course has a member-sign up and offers exclusive ‘members-only’ course discussion area, where Tristan answers questions and adds bonus examples. I can really recommend it to avid walkers, runners and nature-lovers. It is extremely informative even for experienced walkers; it is inspiring, especially after this COVID-19  period, where we all have had time to reconnect with nature.


Recently I walked in the Scottish Highlands, not along one line this time, but using a GPS watch. Somehow, I lost my bearing and struggled to obtain direction. I was extremely happy to be able to rely on one of Tristan’s clues for navigation gained by watching the useful video course.

"We turned to Sandra for her illustration expertise to create around 30 illustrations to help explain natural navigation techniques in a video course we created for a client. Sandra's illustrations helped communicate complex points in a truly beautiful way. I have no hesitation in recommending Sandra and look forward to working again with her in the future.

Ben Davis, Pallant Digital