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This dissertation is submitted for the award of Master of Arts and Design Practice at Glyndwr University on 14th of August 2017 and I confirm that it is not currently submitted elsewhere, nor previously submitted here or elsewhere for any award. I confirm this is entirely my own work unless explicitly indicated otherwise within the dissertation, with other contributors clearly identified.

I would like to thank Steve Keegan, Dave Jones, Dave Kelly, Wendy Lawrence, Heather Wilson, Sue Thornton and Dan Berry for their help and support.

Signed Date

Thanks to my fellow Master students for making this year a great experience. Thank you to Charlie, Alison, Emma, Joan, Guillermo, Christopher, Marta and Aneta for sharing your stories and experiences. Last but not least, a very special thank you to Yadzia Williams and Marta Madrid Manrique for being such an inspiration.

Declaration Dedicated to J. I. I hereby state this dissertation is the result of my independent work and investigation, and I indicate any portions for which I have indebted to other sources. Explicit references are given, and a full bibliography is appended to the work. II. I certify that this dissertation has not already been accepted in substance for any academic award and is not being concurrently submitted in candidature for any such award. III. I hereby give my consent for my dissertation, if successful, to be available for inter-library loan or photocopying (subject to the law of copyright), and the title and summary may be made available to outside organizations. VI. I hereby give my consent for my dissertation, if successful, to be available for photocopying and for inter-library loans after expiry of a bar on access approved by the University. Signed Date Helen Morcillo-Docksey Student number: S15002823 14/8/2017

Helen Morcillo Docksey Student number: S15002823 A dissertation submitted to Glyndwr University in accordance with the requirements of the degree of MA Design Practice 14th August 2017

“Illustration in adult fiction: an examination of its development and decline and recommendations for its place in contemporary book publishing. �

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION I. Literature Review II. Methodology III. Historical Context • Literary Revolution • Imagery Preconceptions CHAPTER 1. IMAGES AND WORDS I. II. III. IV. V.

Critical Interpretation Visual Culture. A Phenomenon Audience as subject of analysis Visual Literacy Flatness of Sight


Personal Narrative "La Sed", Memoir and Senses Critical Discourse and Analysis Narrative in Relation to other Senses

CHAPTER 3. “Left” I. Concept II. Methodology III. Audience IV. Making of "Left" • Conception • Design and Layout • Metaphor • Colour CONCLUSION

"She always felt special, privileged to be a part of it." - "Left" Helen M. Docksey

Fig 1. "Left" Helen M. Docksey (2017)




is my interest and which I will explore throughout this dissertation. Questions such as: What does the image communicate to you? Did you feel the image supports the text, or vice versa? What do you think the author is trying to convey? And, in your opinion, do you feel the image to be unnecessary?

This research dissertation aims to explore how images have been used historically in shaping and reflecting culture and undermined as valid and non-valid sources of knowledge in relation to text. It examines the historical evolution of the visual and the textual in the production of European knowledge in addition to its influences today. Furthermore, it evaluates how the textual and the visual generate adjoining levels of meaning and consider if a new visual cultural age demands that we re-learn how to look and analyse information in order to acquire the critical and creative thinking skills needed to develop our abilities to evaluate information according to our needs.


Literature Review

One theory concerning the historical suspicion and hesitation regarding the value of visual image above the written word can be traced, according to Murdock (1977), to the ancient Greek philosophers and Plato’s distrust of the image as a true mode of communication. Consistent with Murdock other scholars such as David Bland (1962) support this notion by suggesting that the role of illustration in books has always been perceived as an adjunct to the written word, an argument that is repeated throughout western history and the study of text-image relationship. In his book "Unflattening" Sousanis (2015) challenges our Western cultural primacy of words over images as the superior currency of intellect proposing that they are inextricably linked. Excitingly, we are now in an age of visuality and technology where communication is achieved through pictorial rather than textual modes. Therefore, if this is the method we now use to communicate in our daily lives, then according to Mirzoeff (2002) it has facilitated the emergence of a Visual Culture which he describes as our everyday lives in which information, meaning or pleasure is

In exploring arts-based methodologies, I assess the potential of auto-ethnographic research in the creation of illustrated books for adults and make a comparative analysis of my work with Fine Artist/ Illustrator Paula Bonet and her book “La Sed” (“The Thirst”). I explore the role of the illustrator and the book and their potential to shape and spread ideas and knowledge consciously and responsibly. Finally, I include a recommendation for reintroducing illustrative narratives aimed at adult audiences that could potentially circulate in a contemporary illustration market. As an example, I have selected an illustration of my book “Left” accompanied by a short extract of the text. It is the reader's reaction and interpretation to this relationship that


sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology. However, in my opinion it is not simply this mass consumption of technological imagery which is significant, but how we are able to understand and explain what we see. According to Bal (2003) Visual Culture is a phenomenon that is engaged with the interpretation rather than the perception of objects.

ethnographic arts based methodology to create illustrated books for adults? My studio practice and dissertation originate from a personal inquiry aimed towards the acquisition and extension of knowledge as an illustrator and storyteller. As an image maker, I engage in arts-based research methodologies which reflect my particular discipline-specific practice. I would like to follow the definition of Knowles and Cole of Arts-based research which is:

Images are everywhere and form part of our daily lives. Therefore exploring the relationship between image, visual culture and methodologies such as ethnography, could help us understand how illustration is perceived today and its present and future role within society. Ellis et al (2000) state that auto-ethnographical research stems from being part of a culture and / or by possessing a particular cultural identity which can be linked to memoir methodology. Here, the researcher or author is the main character of a chronological story they represent where memories and experience are employed. This represents the researchers’ knowledge and understanding of a particular subject matter (Pryer, 2010).

“The systematic use of the artistic process, the actual making of the artistic expressions in all of the different forms of the arts as a primary way of understanding and examining experience both by researchers and the people that they involve in their studies.” Knowles and Andrea Cole (2008). I employ Memoir1 (Pryer, 2004) and Auto-ethnography 2 (Ellis & Bochner, 2000) as empirical qualitative methodologies to explore my personal understanding in relation to the subject matter of immigration. My interest lies in the investigation of common human emotions such as hope, loneliness and love in conjunction with notions of identity, belonging, and cultural displacement. I have achieved this by combining memory and experience in critical reflective imagery and writing, exploring the relationship between image and text and their multiple meanings through a visual narrative device such as the printed book.

II. Methodology 1. How have images been historically used and undermined as valid and non-valid sources of knowledge in relation to text? 2. How do the textual and the visual generate contiguous levels of meaning? 3. What is the potential of an auto-

1. A practice that searches for "self-knowledge" through the self and culture. (P.24) 2. An autobiographical genre of research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural. Focusing outward on social and cultural aspects of their personal experience. Then they look inward. In these works, concrete action, dialogue, emotion, embodiment, spirituality, and self-consciousness are featured, appearing as relational and institutional stories affected by history, social structure and culture, which themselves are dialectically revealed through action, feeling, thought and language.” (P. 739)



Historical Context

The 19th century saw a period of industrialization which allowed the mass production of goods, amongst them, the book. Technology allowed a change to the way books were produced which was reflected in the reduction of prices facilitating the appearance of affordable paper backs. This is an interesting fact which, it could be argued, reflects a historical cycle as contemporary publishers today favour hardback books in conjunction with an e-Book offering, indicating a decline in the paper back format and a new method of manufacturing that reflects our digital age.

Even though images were present from the very origins of humanity from prehistoric art until the middle ages, the European traditional way of understanding knowledge might have privileged written ways of knowing over the visual until modernity. 15th century Europe saw a historical moment in mass communication marked by the invention of Guttenberg’s printing press which facilitated the spread of knowledge across Europe in only a few decades and allowed the printed word [and image] to become available to the masses for the very first time. As seen today with the computer revolution and the invention of the internet in 1983, these events have transformed the world in the same way as they brought information which had previously only been the province of the elites of education, wealth and power to the public. This freedom in the circulation of information and ideas transcended borders increasing literacy, breaking with the monopoly of the literate elite. As new audiences were reached through the accessibility of affordable printed resources, this interaction with thought provoking materials was the engine for a cultural change that pushed Europe into the Renaissance. In my estimation this cultural change was an exciting period for illustrators as it gave way to new opportunities and they were able to explore subject matter such as astronomy, science, fiction literature… breaking from the confines of medieval religious and classically themed illustrations.

Following this industrialization, the illustrated book altered course radically and started to be perceived more as a precious object and less as an object of use. Just as we see today with the re-emergence of deluxe and limited edition printed books as objects of aesthetic value against the digital IPad and Kindle, the 1880s saw the emergence of The Book Beautiful as a product of a movement called the Arts and Crafts where value lay in the craftsmanship reacting against the industrial revolution and mechanical reproduction, as Walter Benjamin (1935) proposed in his essay of cultural criticism: “the aura of a work of art is devalued by mechanical reproduction. The problem being that in doing do, small runs of quality hard back books became too expensive for all but the wealthiest to own, which is a warning about the alienation of the masses from objects of value and anticipates the excesses of a consumer society in which everything can be disposed of, then replaced. This same paradox has concerned artists ever

Fig 2. Woodcut Illustration: Jost Amman, for Ständebuch (Book of Trades, 1568)



since – they seek a quality within their work which tends to equate with expense but at the same time aims to reach all audiences. A balance between them is our endless compromise. Studies show how illustrated books published for adult audiences 3 saw a major decline and broke away from the natural, linear trajectory throughout the 19th and 20th century developing into mainstream publishing where they were increasingly treated as an adjunct of design rather than a fully-fledged discipline in their own right (Poynor, 2010). By the 20th century there was a decline in illustration published with adult literature and book illustration became increasingly associated with children’s fiction, a tendency which is still strongly evident today. The result of this specialisation was the identification of sub-categories of illustration aimed at particular audiences. After the second world war almost all original and enterprising illustration had gone into children’s picture books. It could be suggested that the reason was due to the fact that children’s books were printed in larger editions to allow the use of colour processes, because artists often got their first chance in this genre or even because illustrators found the texts more inspiring.

“Destiny guides our fortunes more favourably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth." "What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza. "The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long." "Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."

Notwithstanding, it can be argued that the reason why contemporary adult literature is not more often paired with innovative illustration is that writers and publishers alike are sceptical and feel that the imagery will ruin the reader’s ability to engage with books (Russell, 2016). There is an

"Obviously," replied Don Quijote, "you don't know much about adventures.” - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

3. This does not refer to the explicit nature of the content i.e.: sexual/violet images but an age recommendation of +16 years.


Fig 3. "Don Quijote de la Mancha" Miguel de Cervantes. Illustration by Gustave Dore (1880) 17

assumption that image makers will represent specifically what the text describes without considering other methods of interpretation, contradiction or enquiry. It can also be suggested that this prejudice dates back to the 15th century and scholars' disregard for illustrated classics as they considered it to be almost a vulgar indulgence. In my estimation this anxiety was caused by the notion that illustration was seen as a form of aesthetic interruption between the text and the reader and it imposed a visualisation of the written word which was perceived, as Sousanis (2015) states, as the superior currency of intellect. There are many theories on the supremacy of the word over the image, dating back to ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato who according to Murdock (1977) was suspicious and hesitant about the visual image above the written word and who professed a deep distrust of the perception of the image, citing its illusory nature. Fortunately, there has been a definite shift in this concept of primacy of words over images and it has become questionable as researchers develop the theory that they are inextricably linked as equal partners in the making of meaning. Scholars such as Sousanis (2015) challenge the notion that serious ideas require words as for centuries words have been considered the superior currency of intellect.Yet Sousanis' theory does not try to devaluate the written word, but to point out that there are other possibilities.

"The Earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me, like flitting shadows, and among them all, I beheld only- Morella." - Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

Fig.4 "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" by Edgar Allan Poe. Illustration by Harry Clarke




CHAPTER 1. Images and Words

Culture according to Bal (2003) focuses on the specific culture of these objects in conjunction to other senses and defines it as:

“No longer is it enough to be able to read the printed word: children, youth and adults, too need the ability to both critically interpret the powerful images of a multimedia culture and express themselves in a multiple media forms.” (Thomas and Jollis, 2003).

“A phenomenon of a way of life through a specific culture of images. The object (images, paintings…) of the visual culture is not defined in regards to the objects, but in relation to what effect they might have. For Bal, visual culture is more related with interpretation than perception." (Bal, 2003)

The advent of the printing press over five hundred years ago may be described as a major literacy revolution in mankind’s history. The digital age has also ignited a transformation in the way we communicate visually where the need to be visually literate has become imperative in a changing and developing visual world. Through visual literacy we acquire the critical and creative thinking skills we need in order to develop our ability to seek information and evaluate its validity with regards to our needs. By definition, visual literacy refers to:

This could imply that the predominance of the textual might change with modernity and the development of scientific visual technologies as ways of knowing. Bal (2007) argues that much is known about the structure of language but much less about the communicative nature of imagery. Therefore, if we are to put image and language at the same level and develop true interdisciplinarity, then we must also study visuality (image).

“A group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences.” (John Debes, 1969).

In "Unflattening" Sousanis talks about a flatness of sight where we conform to what he refers to: “Herbert Marcuse's pattern of one-dimensional thought or behaviour lacking a critical dimension where we have confined ourselves not only in space but in time and experience.” (p.6)

In my opinion, this definition suggests that visual literacy focuses on how proficiently we understand and assimilate information visually and focuses on observing our reactions and thoughts on how objects make us feel and think. However, if visual literacy focuses on objects, then we should contextualise these objects within specific cultures as interpretations can differ depending on factors such as religion and socio-political values. Visual

The approach in which this could be interpreted is that through the interaction of visual and verbal we can expand our views revealing new boundaries. When we communicate or learn through only one mode, for example text, it offers only one way of looking. Through multiple approaches for creating experience, this form can offer a

Fig 5. "Unflattening" Nick Sousanis (2015)


different perspective from which each form informs and enriches the other to achieve a meaning that neither conveys alone without the other, they act as one. David Lewis (2009, P. 29) called this image-text interaction:

pictures all at once first, and only then, can we begin to notice the potential relationships of the various parts. Our understanding of language starts with details and moves towards wholes: our understanding of pictures starts with whole and breaks down to details. Consequently, words are best at describing relationships of details and pictures best at giving sense of the whole. With words, we can describe what we want the audience to know in detail and avoid details that are irrelevant altogether.

“A double orientation – looking in more than one direction at the same time in order to reach greater depths of discourse. Words are not the sole vehicle for communicating thought as any single mode only provides a partial view.”

As an example, let us refer back to the “Left” illustration and text at the beginning of this paper. The text and the image do not express the same messages but communicate on two completely different levels providing the reader with dissimilar information. However, when they are experienced together they communicate one specific message. If these two elements were seen without each other, then their meaning would change completely.

If we apply this theory to book illustration, it becomes evident that the integration of words and images in book format constitutes a device from which we can communicate complex ideas effectively through multiple levels. By placing words and pictures into relationship with each other, this inevitably changes the meaning of both, so that they are more than just the sum of their parts. Nodelman (1998) explains it is the unique rhythm of pictures and words working together that distinguishes picture books from all other forms of visual and verbal art. Therefore, the reason why they communicate so differently is because we experience an image all at once, and theoretically we have no way of determining what is relevant in the image and what not.

From a personal perspective, if we learn to understand the expanding interdisciplinary relationship between images and words and embrace their full potential, we can learn to use the tools and develop our ability as artists and as audiences to use interesting and exciting communication devices such as illustrated books. This device will allow us to experience contiguous modes of the making of meaning challenging our ideas and developing our understanding and empathy in a culture where sharing through digital devices has become a prevailing means of communicating.

“The verbal is a linear, a sequence of words that are strung one after another as Susanne Langer writes - “like beads on a rosary”. The visual represents itself all at once, simultaneously. “Sousanis (2015) Nodelman continues to explain that we see


Fig 6 "Unflattening" Nick Sousanis (2015)


Examples of contemporary illustrated adult fiction:

DESCENSO POR LA MADRIGUERA Down the Rabbit-Hole "Alicia no tuvo ni un instante para pensar en detenerse, sino que se vio cayendo por lo que parecía ser un pozo muy profundo. O era muy profundo o ella caía muy despacio:: el caso es que, conforme iba cayendo, tenía tiempo sobrado para mirar alrededor y preguntarse qué iría a sucede después." "Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin." For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

"Alice in Wonderland" Lewis Carroll. Illustrations by Pat Andrea Publisher: Libros del Zorro Rojo. Adult Bilingual Edition.


"Smoke" Antรณn Fortes & Joanna Concejo OQO Publishers.


"Twelfth Night" William Shakespeare Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso The Folio Society




CHAPTER 2. Paula Bonet

our particular historical structures and experiences of race, class and gender (Pryer, 2004). Following this argument, Bonet could be portrayed as a conventional paradigm of a Spanish female artist who through her creativity manifests emotions of anger and disappointment in a patriarchal society.

“The most honest way to confront the book was to talk from my own experience” Bonet et Elkin (2016). In order to further examine the contemporary role of illustration in adult fiction, a case study on Fine Artist/Illustrator Paula Bonet and her illustrated book “La Sed” (“The Thirst”) is carried out in this chapter. Drawing from her own experiences, Bonets’ latest work is a reflection of her personal and professional life manifested through a series of drawings, paintings, etchings and words. As a female artist, her work emerges from a disenchantment with the treatment of women artists in contemporary artistic communities and her struggle as a female painter/illustrator in relation to her male peers. By using an exploration of her memory and experience, through a collection of visual imagery she challenges complex issues such as gender equality and female autonomy in order to understand how these experiences affect her as an individual and artist, how they reflect on society today and their relevance in relation to a cultural, political and historical time context.

From this point of view, Bonet becomes both the researcher and participant by combining her autobiographic and ethnographic experiences as a central focus of enquiry. Ellis & Bochner (2011, p.2) suggest that “When researchers do Auto-ethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from being part of a culture and / or by possessing a particular cultural identity. Epiphanies are remembered moments which can be perceived to have significantly impacted a person’s life and events after which life does not seem the same.” Following our experiences, the manner in which we (auto-ethnographic artists) approach visuality in our research and representation, is influenced by a range of factors such as our beliefs, personal experience, gender identity and different visual culture. This could imply therefore that if Bonet is the channel through which her reality and knowledge is produced and represented, then her reality is subjective and is known only as she experiences it – offering the audience a better understanding of the world she lives in. With this interpretation we can relate Bonet's work to the phenomenon of Visual Culture as she

As artists, we express ourselves through our creations and have a need to extract our emotions in order to make them tangible and visible. Our emotions reflect our complex identities situated within social hierarchies. They embody and act out relations of power representing

Fig. 7 "La Sed" (The Thirst) Paula Bonet (2016)


vulnerable observers with them. Critical discourse and analysis It can be suggested that what is consumed in contemporary book illustration today can occasionally lack quality of significance, and therefore, by creating aesthetically visually stimulating books we are neglecting critical thinking. Bonet explains that "La Sed" is a book that aims not just to be beautiful, but to manifest contemporary society, by not creating a product of easy consumption to please the eyes but to generate a deeper aesthetic encounter with the viewer and engage in a critical reflection.

aims to create an awareness of the interests and values that are conveyed in her art, and not the aesthetics which will be discussed later on in this chapter. Furthermore, Pink (2006) observes that, this use of personal experience to illustrate aspects of our cultural surrounding has the potential of making characteristics familiar to all audiences. Therefore, it could be concluded that Bonet claims subjectivity and emotion as a way of knowing and experiencing reality.

The responsibility of an artist is to promote

These arguments successfully demonstrate that employing auto-ethnographical research methodologies can have positive outcomes for the artists. Having said this, what benefits do they offer the audience? It is suggested by Pryer (2010, p.31) that the strength of fiction lies in evocative moments of implication, mood and emotional power which allows the empathetic participation of the audience in the life of the artist, and vice versa. Memoir enables the reader to participate in the creation of meaning, and to bring their own experiences to the narrative. Therefore, artists who employ memoir can become vulnerable observers of their own lives which according to (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, p. 753) invite the reader to become Fig. 8,9,10 "La Sed" (The Thirst) Paula Bonet (2016)


a critical discourse instead of a hypnotic and complacent consumerism of imagery, as stated by Giroux (1995), therefore it could be argued that Bonet aims to break with stereotypes of seduction through the aesthetics of her illustrations and paintings and is interested in communicating an ideology through critical thought rather than pleasure offering. As Visual Culture wants to create an awareness of the interests and values which are conveyed in every work of art or artifact, Bonet creates from that awareness with regards to her personal experience and how the illustration market might benefit work made by men or work that sells complacent stories transforming the viewers into easy consumers instead of critical thinkers.

Therefore, in order to stimulate her audiences thought processes, Bonets’ approach in the creation of "La Sed" could be described as a non-lineal narrative employing multiple stories that follow no apparent chronological order and incorporating literature based quotes from writers such as Claire Lispector, Anne Sexton and Siri Hustvedt, reinforcing her feminist values. If we observe her imagery, it has an emotional based intimacy which compared to author and illustrator Shaun Tan in The Arrival is a distant sophistication and linearity of drawing. His images are also full of emotion and communicate his values and ideology, but have a controlled feeling about them whereas Bonets' illustrations seem quickly drawn, full of raw emotion which seem to be reaching the audience in a distressed manner.



CHAPTER 3. “Left, a story of a Journey”

interpretation of these elements. Through the narrative I also aim to provoke readers to reflect critically on their own experiences related to the subject of immigration and empathise with other worlds different from their own, engaging in a dialogue about social issues and the different perspectives and standpoints. The goal is to create a conversation and challenge perceptions in

The concept for “Left, a story of a Journey” emerges from the idea of creating an art book that illustrates a story about economic migration represented through a subjective personal reflection based on experience. Initially the book was not aimed specifically at an adult audience, but as the project developed it became apparent that this was a genre that interested me and I felt was currently underdeveloped and being overlooked offering potential for creative exploration and a challenge to conventional publishing culture. My aim in this project is to invite the audience to reflect and experience alternative readings and interpretations of a story. I encourage readers to feel the truth of their own experiences and become coparticipants in the narrative by engaging in the storyline emotionally, aesthetically and intellectually. Readers can take an active role as they are invited into my auto-ethnographic narrative, in order to empathise with the events being described by taking the place of the characters, approaching the story from their own perspective and life experiences.

a meaningful manner with regard to a topic that is important to me.

As different people use their own subjective knowledge to interpret the narrative, elements will be given different meanings. For example, images may have more than one potential meaning depending on their contexts. The connection between visual images/text and experience is constructed through individual subjectivity and

In creating the written and visual narrative I employ a dual identity approach similar to Bonet as participant and observer, attempting to portray my experiences of living in a non-indigenous country and, at the same time, aim to contextualise them objectively. In personal narratives, Ellis (2000)

Fig. 11,12 "Left, a story of a journey" Helen M. Docksey (2017)


explains how social scientists take on the dual identities of academic and personal selves to tell autobiographical stories about some aspect of their experience in daily life. She defines auto-ethnography as:

through action, feeling, thought and language.” (P. 739) From what has been studied about autoethnography it may be deduced that "The Arrival" (2006) by illustrator Shaun Tan could also be considered an example of auto ethnographic fictional narrative as he portraits feelings of dislocation and uncertainty based on real life stories gathered during his research.

“An autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural. Focusing outward on social and cultural aspects of their personal experience. Then they look inward. In these works, concrete action, dialogue, emotion, embodiment, spirituality, and self-consciousness are featured, appearing as relational and institutional stories affected by history, social structure and culture, which themselves are dialectically revealed

“Above all, there is a governing desire to draw some kind of coherent memory from the messy, fragmented experience of life. A Meaningful story that can be passed on to others. "The Arrival" (Shaun Tan, 2012)

"To decide what to take and what to leave behind."

Fig. 13 "Left, a story of a journey" Helen M. Docksey (2017)


This use of memory referred to by Tan, was essential data throughout my research and acted as a starting point to my story. Although my memory can distort reality and I can idealise experiences, the emotions and feelings attached are retained and are a way to explore these memories. Pryer (p.28) describes that “to remember is to engage in a powerful act of fiction”.

procedure that sees two books back to back which open in different directions. This layout represents a metaphor within itself which might not be perceived at first glance. However, by inviting the reader to decipher this symbolic enigma, it could trigger a more intense reading of the images. In addition to this method, Left also includes paper cutting techniques and is traditionally hand bound. The source of inspiration originated from observing Java Shadow Puppets: their aesthetic and emotional narrative inspired the incorporation of this method in order to recreate and evoke in the reader the emotional responses experienced by puppet show audiences using shadows and light. Bookbinding is a craft that is currently at risk of being lost

I. Design and layout Left is one story narrated from the point of view of two characters. Consequently, the idea is to create a book that can be read from both ends and mirror the storyline in a physical form. Commonly used for 19th century religious texts, this technique called dos-à-dos (or head to tail) is a binding

Fig. 14 "The Arrival" Shaun Tan (2006)


due to technological advances and a digital age. Therefore, it was this interest in the craftsmanship of the book as an object which motivated the use of traditional bookbinding.

strongly important for people in diaspora as a means of enabling cultural memory. In “The Extended Mind”, (Chalmers et al, 1998, 2742) discuss how we often resort to external objects or people in order to keep the past sorted. In Left, objects such as a plant, books or a bicycle take on additional meaning communicating to the reader specific emotions and messages at a specific moment in time, a symbolism that encourages more than one interpretation. In Words about Pictures (1998) Nodelman stated: “Symbolism is the habit of mind through which physical objects come to represent abstract ideas other than their actual selves. Because objects are not actually the ideas they represent, symbols are always attached to specific traditions – they evoke specific unspoken texts.” (P.106)

II. Imagery Due to the significance of the subject matter, I considered that the illustrations required an intricacy and sophistication that would make the storyline appear credible and unquestionable. A method was developed in creating digital imagery through a process of layers and collage employing photographic reference and drawings. The images for both stories (his and hers) were created using similarities in composition in order to evoke in the reader a subliminal sense of association which could cause unconscious feelings of déjà vu thus inviting the audience to read the book again searching for these similarities and links within the pictures.

Further examples of imagery employed as metaphors throughout the book are the graffiti on the city walls such as the bear representing the restlessness of the character as well as the city he lives in. An image on the façade of a tower block representing a man sitting down, aims to evoke connotations of unemployment, recession and economic turmoil. Through the representation of birds within the narrative, I convey notions of journeying and migration. Butterflies aim to communicate change, reinvention and metamorphism whilst their wings symbolise taking flight and exploring unchartered territory. Trees denote personal growth and maturity and doors offer possibilities and a symbol of entering a new life or stage when we do not

III. Metaphors Pink (2006) describes how images are intertwined with our personal identities, narratives, lifestyle, culture and society and therefore ethnographic research is intertwined with visual images and metaphor. By employing the use of personal objects as metaphors I examine how illustration explores time and place, the passing of time and the emotional state of mind of characters in different locations. According to Bal (2003) the usage of objects changes meaning as the environment changes. For example, objects from home become more

Fig 15. “Left, a story of a journey” Helen M. Docksey (2017)


"When the moment arrived, it wasn't easy."


know the outcome or what awaits us on the other side. The use of imagery as metaphors is an excellent example of how pictures can add to the complexity and multiple levels of meanings of a textual narrative, and do not just reflect or accompany what the written word states, as seen in these illustrations by Shaun Tan. IV. Colour

"The day arrived when he told her he wanted to leave. Would she go with him? He was so excited, she couldn't say no."

Fig. 16,17,18 "The Arrival" Shaun Tan (2006)

Fig 19. “Left, a story of a journey� Helen M. Docksey (2017)


Colours are a tool that explores the subjective representation of feelings and the emotions of the characters. In designing the layout, I depicted the passage of time with a clear time-frame and plot, consciously dividing the book into four sections mirroring the changing seasons of the year and giving each section a specific colour scheme that reflected this and the character’s emotional state of mind. In Words about Pictures Nodelman observes:

and attitudes and thus can work to convey mood more exactly that any other aspect of pictures.” (1988, 60-61). He continues to explain how there are two sorts of convectional meanings with colours: a. Arbitrary and culture specific. b. Those that relate specific colours to specific emotions. With these associations, I can evoke particular moods by using specific colours at a particular moment. Exploring this idea, I created parallel scenes using complementary colours such as purple and yellow, orange and turquoise reflecting the individuality and emotional experience of each storyline.

“Colours can evoke specific emotions

It can be suggested that now is a good moment for a more open interpretation and experimentation in the discipline of illustration, publishers could offer new opportunities for innovation together with collaborations and shared visions between artist and writers. New critical discourse and research is being carried out by academics worldwide and journals such as The Journal of Illustration by the University of Manchester inform of symposiums for academic research and the investigation of a range of issues in relation to Illustration, extending critical discourse and methodologies aimed at the interdisciplinary study of illustration. It could be suggested that illustration in adult fiction could open further possibilities to new audiences.


Colour and composition examples:

" She always felt special, privileged to be a part of it."

" He always felt there had to be more than this. He looked further, everyone did."

Fig 20-23 “Left, a story of a journey� Helen M. Docksey (2017)


" Soon the days got shorter. The nights seemed endless"

" Hoping she would be happy there too"




audience and invite them to put themselves in the authors place claiming subjective ways of knowing/connecting emotionally, aesthetically and intellectually. Through the narrative of experience, it could provoke readers to reflect critically on their own experiences and empathise with worlds different from their own and thus engage in a dialogue about social and ethical implications and different perspectives and standpoints encountered.

Through the history of Book illustration, we can see great historical events, social changes and movement of ideas refelected. The illustrators work shows us how they regarded themselves and the choice of illustration in different periods is significant indicating changes in the climate of thought. It has become increasingly clear since the latter half of the 20th century that knowledge or understanding cannot always be conferred by language alone. It is also conveyed in visual ways. Thus not only does knowledge come in different forms, the forms of its creation differ. Images and text have been valued differently as sources of knowledge and meaning providers. However, images are now emerging as a new language which promises to be both understood by and accessible to everyone. By acquiring critical analytical skills through visual literacy in conjugation with an understanding of a visual culture, imagery within printed book format could enrich our reading experiences and our lives. The 21st century requires us to master visual literacy so that we can understand the way we are affected by media and how it can make us understand imagery and recognise its effects on us.

By creating written and visual narratives that display multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural and also employing a dual identity approach, we invite the audience to reflect and experience alternative readings and interpretations of a story. We encourage readers to feel the truth of their own experiences and become co-participants in the narrative by engaging in the storyline. Readers can take an active role as they are invited into auto ethnographic narratives empathising with the events being described by taking the place of the characters, approaching the story from their own perspective and life experiences. Conducting research into this field of illustration could help establish a possible re-emerging niche within contemporary publishing for printed adult fiction which in addition, could potentially offer publishers, illustrators and academics an insight into further investigation and developments in the discipline.

Arts based research methodologies such as auto-ethnography and memoir could offer a unique opportunity to develop visual narratives as they offer the researcher and the reader the opportunity to explore, reflect and critique in conjunction to their own personal experiences. Autoethnographic storytelling could be an invitation to engage in conversation with the

Fig 24 "Left" Helen M. Docksey (2017)


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Ellis, C., Bochner, A. P. (2000). Auto-ethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity. Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks. Calif Sage Pubs.

Salisbury, M. & Styles, M. (2015). Children's Picturebooks. Laurence King Publishing. London

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Andrews, E. (2009) "Arts Based Research: An Overview." Arts Based Research: An Overview. Available at:

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Dissertation Helen M Docksey  
Dissertation Helen M Docksey