- ‘Illustration is the ‘peoples art’; it reflects the lives we lead. Illustration plays a role in our personal histories and a major role in determining how we comprehend our worlds. Illustration communicates, educates, entertains, informs, inspires and persuades.’
Lawrence Zeegan 2014
We are connected to illustration as we pass through life, from posters in our adolescent bedrooms, Album /Cd covers, comics and cartoons, advertising campaigns, promo graphics, magazines and the digital screens of our televisions and smart phones.
Illustration is deeply embedded in popular culture.
Illustrations roots go back to the beginning of mankind.
Illustration in the 21st Century remains one of the most direct forms of visual communication.
The most memorable and talented Illustrators use their own unique vision and personal visual language to articulate a message, to enunciate a meaning and to evoke a feeling.
- A decade characterised by the feeling of hope and change.
- The birth of a Cultural Revolution and socio- political change.
- Developments in the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, the Sexual Revolution and the birth of environmentalism.
Pushpin studios in New York, founded in 1954 by Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins and Edward Sorel.
One of the most influential Design studios at the time, explored expressive forms of graphic image making like Edwardian and victorian typography, art nouveau and Pop Art led by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichenstein.
- A economic recession in the USA & UK
- The counterculture of the previous decade gave way to the opposition to the Vietnam war, nuclear weapons and the authority of government.
- Conflicts, coups and international terrorism were rife.
- Civil Rights Movement and Gay Rights Movement became more accepted
- The decade of discontent was a world of violent flux. Illustration was key in reflecting and visualising the realities of certain issues, frustrations, discontent and states of mind.
- From the fantasies and escapism of rock dreams to the images of gritty realism, through the speed of change and on to the urban nihilism of Punk and protest.
- The Designer Decade
- The glamorisation of money and the importance of conspicuous consumption.
- The significance of advertising to create ‘Aspirational Life Styles’
- Greed promoted as a virtue and ‘Image’ is everything.
- Illustration was used commercially across a much wider range of platforms.
- The early 90’s became the dawn of the digital revolution.
- 1991 the World Wide Web was launched by Tim Berners- Lee.
- The digital Desktop of the Mac allowed Illustrators and Graphic Designers to work quickly and effectively.
- Animation was revolutionised.
- Illustrators were becoming more ambitious with their outlook, free to experiment with a new digital media.
- Digital technology enabled illustrators to make immediate changes to how and where they created their work and how they disseminated their work to a wider audience.
- The web afforded Illustrators a unique resource to market their work.
- Digital working methods, communication and marketing allowed Illustrators ownership of the entire process.
- The digital and the traditional handcrafted artwork began to merge.
- The techniques that both Illustrators and Animators employed were incredibly diverse, including the canvas on which to show the images including the use of the digital ‘screen’
- The use of the screen for games design – an ever growing and developing field, animation, TV stings and motion graphics.
Trends in the Illustration world are cyclical, whether it is the clean simplicity of a vector image or a handcrafted image, both do happily co-exist with most Illustrators combining both digital and traditional methods. What matters are Ideas and originality.
Gary Taxali – Illustrator
‘It is important that we as an Industry realise that it is our positive efforts that make our craft sexy. That is, striving to create intelligent, original work is our responsibility, and then the market responds accordingly. We create the renaissance of Illustration’
Hand to Eye: Contemporary Illustration Angus Hyland (2003)