After a brief brain storm I decided to go with the "expat life" theme. It's personal enough to my experience while still being versatile and relatable.
Shortly after starting to collect ideas I realized that I was mainly interested in showing the struggles and challenges that come with living abroad - there I found the specific experience.
The first brainstorm
Next I tried to classify the single points into the two categories: simple objects and ideas on the one side and abstract concepts on the other. Some of the list items may still be too vague or to complex, but I'm positive I'll be able to find eight suitable ones during the sketching phase. I'm excited to see the results :)
The final list
UPDATE: SET ONE
To draw the first set of spot illustrations I started with the thumbnails. I tried to choose the items that I could draw directly, without needing a concept. Finally I chose the four of them I liked best.
Next I tried to do draw some more detailed sketches
And then I made some colour tests. I chose a limited pallet to help me achieve a more chesive look.
Finally I started to work on the final spots. As elements of style I decided to avoid lines as much as possible (something I never did before) and to use a relatively small brush to imitate the hatching texture I normally get from colored pencils. I tried to keep the shapes organic and simple. I didn't use any shading, although I might add it later if I notice it's necessary for the second set. Content wise the images are still quite generic and more related to "travel" than to "expat life" but I hope they will be clearer once the more conceptual elements are ready. For the passport and the plane tickets I decided to use a fake alphabet to convey the idea of words without distracting the reader with too much detail. Some of the spots are still more detailed than the others, but I hope the colour and style choices help unify them despite the differences.