Looking towards the future needs of educating the illustrator and developing an expanded practice

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Illustration can no longer afford to be parochial. The days are over when the beautiful crafted picture was the quintessential virtue. Illustrators have branched out into animated film, graphic novels, Web and exhibition displays, to name a few options.’ ARISMAN, M (2007) In: Heller, S & Arisman, M. Teaching Illustration. Allworth Press, U.S. Since the publication of; Pen & Mouse. Commercial Art and Digital Illustration by Roanne Bell & Angus Hyland in 2001, arguably one of the first books to begin discussing illustration, rather than an illustration annual or listings resource book, there has been a proliferation of such publications catapulting illustration as a field of practice. In the advent of blogging and social media, the popularity of illustration as a subject has grown in tandem with the ever-broadening scope of what it means to be an illustrator today. "Art = Design = Art...? The boundaries are not so clear now. I would like to make them much less clear." Gaetano Pesce 1988 POYNOR, R. (2002) Design Without Boundaries: Visual Communication in Transition. Booth-Clibborn Editions. This paper seeks to explore the expanded field of practice that is illustration today, and to discuss how education needs to reflect this changing landscape, beyond the preparation of graduates for a professional business life that might not be viable, sustainable or desirable, using case studies from the illustration programme at the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom, to offer possible directions. For the so called ‘laptop TV generation’ what pedagogy strategies are necessary for the education of illustrators and how might the future of the studio look? In modern life we are inundated by information and the proliferation of images, in a sense nothing new as Guy Debord explored in Society of the Spectacle 1967, but with the accelerated distribution of images via the web, the importance of developing critical consumption skills, to not simply see the internet as a merely a marketing tool, are perhaps pertinent for the future illustrator. The importance of preparing an illustrator with the skills necessary to flourish as a practitioner, are ever changing to reflect not just the multitude of platforms which illustration is applied today, but also for transferable skills to enable illustration graduates to navigate through the wider area of visual communication and graphic design. As careers become increasingly non-linear the need for continued learning, as an illustrator is paramount, not simply for engaging with new technologies and evolving markets or audiences for illustration, but also to explore new models for self-publishing, beyond the vibrant comic/zine scene. To also help further the public acknowledgement, and the establishment of a critical discourse within illustration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016
EventRadical teaching; new approaches in pedagogy - ICON9 The illustration conference - Education symposium - The Hilton Hotel, Austin Texas, USA, July 6-9 2016.
Duration: 6 Jul 2016 → …


ConferenceRadical teaching; new approaches in pedagogy - ICON9 The illustration conference - Education symposium
Period6/07/16 → …


  • Keywords Hybridity
  • Interdisciplinary Authorial illustration
  • Self Promotion Commercial Practice
  • Research Illustration
  • Moving image Interactivity
  • Social Engagement Reportage
  • Documentary Voice Illustration as Performative Act


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