Words & Pictures

Robin Cowcher

THURS 9:30-12:30PM, THURS 1:30-4:30PM
*See myTimetable for Room & Time

Studio Inquiry

Publication or editorial illustration fits within a context which includes illustrated books, magazines, journals, newspapers, online news sites, blogs etc. Our inquiry will be mainly magazine, newspaper/online. Editorial illustration often conveys what words can't. Students will be asked to illustrate an online article, a magazine cover/suite of illustrations and create a portrait of a well known person. We will use the article/topic as a stepping off point for students' own illustrative exploration.
Research/definitions of current and past illustration, how it's changed over time in style and content. An appreciation of best exponents, how the form varies from culture to culture, an examination of the power of classic images. Students will research 6 illustrators as a way of understanding communication of ideas, the illustrative technique and overall impact + assess the image's success. Editorial illustration v. commercial illustration, how it differs. Devise an idea/visual and create a visual metaphor or direction which entices the reader/viewer to engage with the writer's meaning. Inquiry will deepen observation, experience various drawing techniques and explore the student's own illustrative inclinations. The first two segments give grounding for students to build toward freer choices in the final segment.
Communication of knowledge
The focus of the studio is to produce compelling, original images which act as vehicles or companion pieces to convey complex ideas, move the reader, influence and add meaning to the text. Editorial illustration can be abstract, stylised, representational, a likeness or a beautifully rendered image. Students will explore a range of media to interpret their ideas + three techniques of material thinking: collage, ink/line/wash and one other style of their choice through which to interpret their ideas. They will examine clear and creative thinking, composition, color, technique, drawing, sourcing reference, and should be prepared to create multiple solutions to one story or article. Analysing their work as they go students need to refine, discuss and elevate each iteration.
The semester will be broken into three parts:
An Opinion article, a magazine cover + a suite of inside smaller illustrations and a portrait.

In each 4 week segment students will:
Analyse the given article/topic/portrait subject.
Think laterally about it's meaning both narratively and visually.
Explore each technique in class exercises.
Produce thumbnail ideas.
Research iconography and visual metaphors.
Critique in class.
Produce working roughs, assess these before producing final works.
Present final work in context, ie: in an online newspaper page, a magazine cover etc.

Each 4 week segment will have a work shop in a chosen technique, ie: collage, ink/water color, etc...students are free to reinterpret their works in adobe illustrator or whatever digital method but they must start with and produce at least one work in the designated material discipline.

Other activities: students are asked to keep a personal sketchbook which can cover, outdoor sketching, still life, observational portraits and any other work, this work can be included in the SKO. Emphasis will be on drawing skills and strong image making.
Brief 01: OpEd
Brief 02: Page1+
Brief 03: Portrait
Brief 04: SKO
The Theory of Illustration by Alan Male
The Power and Influence of Illustration by Alan Male
The Education Of An Illustrator by Marshall Arisman and Steven Heller
How To Be An Illustrator by Daryl Rees
Illustration: A Visual History by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast
Editorial Illustration: Step by Step Techniques, a Unique Guide From the Masters by Jill Bossert
The Fundamentals of Illustration by Laurence Zeegan
The American Illustration annuals series
Communities of Practice
Designing Identity, Designing through Image, Designing Publications
There are many ways of researching editorial illustration, Illustrators Australia and Jacky Winter illustrator agency have many examples and The New Yorker has long championed illustration and always has an illustrated cover. The Society of Newspaper Design has strong illustrative content as does the American Illustrators Annual. World wide there are many brilliant editorial illustrators to get to know but most of the annuals tend to come out of the USA. If this is an area of illustration you are interested in I recommend an initial look online and at local magazines such as Frankie, The New Yorker, Peppermint, The Smith Journal, Lindsey Magazine, Meanjin etc in this genre.

About Robin Cowcher

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