Illustrated Worlds: A paper presented by Richard Levesley and Mark Bosward, as part of the Varoomlab symposium ‘Spatialising Illustration’ at Swansea Metropolitan University, Jan 2013.
The intended audiences are students, practitioners, researchers and academics.
'Illustrated Worlds' examines how illustrators develop and realize their own authorial voice through the creation of personal worlds, and how the development of this individual visual language contributes to education, to the illustration profession and to commercial success.
The authors wrote this in the context of their own practices, both as educators and illustrators and conducted primary research through emailed interviews with a range of professional illustrators. Research also looks at case studies; Graham Rawles ‘Lost Consonents”, Graham Carters multidisciplinary work, and Scary Girl by Nathan Jurevicius.
It is a useful study in that it clarifies how an illustrator uses a personal set of ‘rules’, coupled with symbols and signifiers that resonate with the audience, and which are from real experience, and how these give authority and credibility to an imagined world.
From an educational point of view, the idea that self initiated work and commissioned work can have a close and symbiotic relationship, is a positive message, and one which could encourage students to take more risks with their work.
It also suggests that this approach engenders greater multi platform and cross-disciplinary opportunities (i.e. animation, interactive media and toys).
The interview evidence supports the claim that many art directors do want to buy into an illustrators personal world. However, the study doesn’t fully examine the limitations (if any) that this could bring – typecasting and a narrowing of opportunity for example.
Bosward, M. and Levesley, R. (2016) '"Illustrated worlds," VaroomLab, (2), pp.91- 105