I recently completed an educational project with a publishing house. My relationship with educational illustration is decidedly love-hate: Deadlines and budgets are always extremely tight and the illustrator has very little to no conceptual input.
On the flipside, I get a huge kick out of the practical application of the illustrations. Kids from everywhere in South Africa- some in remote areas with very little visual stimulation - will see and use these illustrations. So the illustrations HAVE to be good enough. I still remember the influence that some textbook illustrations had on me as a child - especially biological and historical sketches that looked unfathomably difficult to draw. So I am very aware that kids will see this, maybe try and copy it (like I did) and base some of their perceptions on it. Which sometimes freaks me out and sometimes excites me.
Below are some drawings portraying a Xhosa wedding. And here, a link to the wonderful blog of the photographer Monica Dart (www.monicadart.co.za) whose Xhosa wedding images I used as reference.