The evolution of Sammy and Frances
Sarah Davis is a Sydney-based illustrator who has been producing eye-catching pictures for Edunity for a just over four years, and has played a major role in the evolution of our much-loved Western Water mascots Sammy the Snake and Frances the Frog. Edunity spoke to Sarah to get a picture of what goes into a great illustration.
How has your process/technique in producing Sammy/Frances images changed over the years? Have you found that modern software has been helpful?
Edunity originally approached me to give Sammy and his froggy friend Frances a bit of a modern makeover. It was interesting taking someone else’s designs and trying to reinvent characters that had already been created. I tried to retain all the original elements, but give them more expressive personalities and open friendly faces. Sammy is a tricky character because he’s part snake- part garden hose, and I had to try and make that look natural! And in the case of Freddy the frog, he needed to undergo a gender change and become Frances! The original Sammy and Frances were hand drawn, but my versions were produced digitally, usually as vector graphics, which means the images can be used for a wider range of purposes.
What are the most important considerations for you when producing a set of illustrations?
For a job like this, kid-appeal is important, as we want Sammy and Frances to be good role models for water conservation – and if kids don’t warm to them, they won’t want to be like them! So they had to be personable and friendly. From a technical point of view, the end use of the illustration is important – whether it’s intended for use on a wide range of merchandise, or a print book, whether it’s destined for one colour or 4 colour printing… that sort of thing.
Do you have a favourite Sammy or Frances illustration?
I like Frances in the shower for some reason – I think the idea of a frog in swimmers is kind of hilarious.
Sarah Davis works in a wide range of areas, including commercial illustration for advertising, film, editorial publishing, and toy design. To learn more about her work visit sarah-davis.org
Sammy and Frances evolve: a timeline
Original pictures, created in 2005, show Sammy without his trigger nozzle.
Sarah was asked to ‘reinvent’ Sammy and Frances to keep up modern water saving trends, and to keep a wider range of students engaged.
Recent illustrations have employed the use of imaging software to assist with colouring and layers.
This year Sarah produced a set of new images for our Sammy and Frances Save Water big book for preschool children.