How is il­lus­tra­tion talked about?

There is no canon of il­lus­tra­tion the­ory. Books that are pub­lished on il­lus­tra­tion are for un­der­grad stu­dents, and pri­mar­ily help them to get into the in­dus­try.

Lawrene Zeegan on what il­lus­tra­tion is:

All of these are in­dus­try-based and client-re­spon­sive. This lim­its the way il­lus­tra­tion can be dis­cussed.

Steven Heller in Illustration: A Visual History:

Illustration is a clearly de­fined act of mak­ing art, the goal of which is to il­lu­mi­nate a painted (or for that mat­ter any) page - or as say most dic­tio­nar­ies, a vi­sual rep­re­sen­ta­tion (a pic­ture or di­a­gram) that is used to make a sub­ject more pleas­ing or eas­ier to un­der­stand.

Full of as­sump­tion: Making im­ages (rather than find­ing them, han­dling them), the idea that il­lus­tra­tion has a role to make a text eas­ier to un­der­stand (rather than sub­vert­ing it, mak­ing it harder to un­der­stand)

Alan Male (2007) in Illustration: A Theoretical and Contextual Perspective has a de­f­i­n­i­tion that op­poses il­lus­tra­tion to pho­tog­ra­phy (maybe this comes from a fear that il­lus­tra­tors might be re­placed by stock pho­tog­ra­phy). Of course pho­tographs in these con­text func­tion as il­lus­tra­tion.

Shaughnessy (2013) in Making great il­lus­tra­tion:

What could be more nec­es­sary for au­thor­ship than the pos­ses­sion of a voice?

This is the idea that style/​voice is what makes you recog­nis­able as an il­lus­tra­tor and gets you work. This might be why there is­n’t much thought about au­thor­ship/​voice in il­lus­tra­tion dis­course. Also the idea that il­lus­tra­tion has a job to do is re­duc­tive - there is­n’t re­ally ever a way to clearly com­mu­ni­cate the brief” to every­one.

Understanding Illsutration (2014)

Illustration is an im­por­tant global eco­nomic force, pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple. Financial trans­ac­tions un­der­pin its cre­ation, ap­pli­ca­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion

This is true, just like any other dis­ci­pline. But also the il­lus­tra­tion in­dus­try is where il­lus­tra­tion prac­tice is the least in­ter­est­ing.

Illustration is a cre­ative in­dus­try and a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non at the same time.

[Writing with im­ages]

How could we talk about il­lus­tra­tion?

Things at aren’t be­ing rec­og­nized enough

  1. Appropriated il­lus­tra­tions, usu­ally moved from a fac­tual to a fic­tional con­text Javier Marias [your face to­mor­row un­cle], [Murder on the ori­ent ex­press map]
  2. Indexical (and in­di­cal) il­lus­tra­tion in­clud­ing torn pa­per, aged pa­per, dirt stains, cof­fee rings, hand­writ­ing, sig­na­tures, fin­ger­prints. [Who killed Robert Prentice], also [the JJ Abrams book]
  3. Illustrations whose au­thor­ship is given to a char­ac­ter in a story
  4. Elliptical il­lus­tra­tion that do not ap­pear in the text but are im­plied by it through sug­ges­tion
  5. Critical il­lus­tra­tions - il­lus­tra­tion which in their style as well as their con­tent di­rectly un­der­mine the au­thor­ity of the writ­ign they ac­com­pany. This is ba­si­cally im­pos­si­ble to do in­side the il­lus­tra­tion in­dus­try. [posters spelling out nazi] Ernst Bettler
  6. Appropriation or pla­gia­rism, where il­lus­tra­tors ex­plicitely make use of an­other il­lus­tra­tor’s style and con­tent
  7. Moving im­ages that re­peat in dif­fer­ent con­textx (ie sharks)
  8. Real time il­lus­tra­tions we make use of in text mes­sages, face­book posts (emojies in text mes­sages, am­ina ar­raf)
  9. Images that il­lus­trate the ex­pe­ri­ence of the reader (tristram shandy)
  10. Images that sug­gest how a text should be read or re­veal a hid­den agenda (Alice through the look­ing glass chess di­a­gram)

Problems with the above