I'm really pleased with this not because it's that great an illustration, but because it was my idea (unlike my earlier covers for The Week which were the editor's). This was decided Monday lunchtime and a lot has happened since then, so I'm glad they went with my idea rather than another less important story. I'm doubly pleased because it was a real joint effort to get it to the final stage.
After pitching my idea, this is the rough sketch I sent for approval:
This was the image I had in my head - a pair of UN inspectors almost silhouetted against a ruined Syrian street, with a UN white 4x4 in the middle ground. I got the go ahead and worked on it a bit more. The UN guys were way too dumpy and badly proportioned so I adjusted them as well as putting more detail into the scene:
At this point the editor wasn't sure they UN guys were really connected to the rest of the picture and he wanted it to feel like you were looking over their shoulder at the devastation beyond, to increase the impact. So he suggested pulling them back much closer to the viewer. I really didn't want to do that as I was attached to my two-man silhouette, but I agreed to give it a try. I knew that I couldn't fit two guys that close without losing half the scene so I just pulled one back and put the other in the middle ground with the car. Of course the final image looks SO much better, the editor was 100% spot on and now I'm really happy we got a decent image that does the story at least some justice.