The Itinerant Illustrator – Speaker programme

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The Itinerant Illustrator 2014 The 5th International Illustration Research event joins forces with the peer reviewed Journal of Illustration and is hosted by Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. The symposium this year focuses on the praxis of illustration in an expanded field, including histories of local/regionalillustrative practices and the traversing of diverse media platforms. Talks, presentations and exhibited works we will consider the illustrator in terms of the ‘habitual travelling’ that he or she undertakes. The itinerant nature of the illustrator is evident in the praxis of illustration itself- the oscillation of thought between word and image, page and screen, hand and eye, dream and reality. Occupying many roles and moving dynamically between them, the itinerant illustrator is an interpreter, a translator, an illuminator, as well as a storyteller, enquirer, performer and a pictorial juggler of ideas. The nomadic nature of the illustrator is to wander between disciplines, search for new contexts and to make images not on one, but several different platforms within an eternal evolution of technologies. The multi-sited nature of illustration, along with illustrators’ journeys between several positions and places, also involves images that travel. The symposium attempts to investigate the fluidity of visual codes and languages, the translations, adaptations and hybrid practices that respond to the movement of cultures within the global village. How are images made and read within shifting regional and trans national contexts? How can we use illustration itself as a methodology to shed light on the praxis of illustration in these multiple contexts?

Traveling Stories In this session I will share an ethnographic approach to my work in the area of animation and illustration around the themes of migration, memory, identity and plurality. As a filmmaker and an animator I work with narratives and images and these also became my tools for reflection and investigation. It is as a maker of films and as storyteller, that I encounter ethnography. As a maker I become an observer and also as a listener I become a storyteller.

NINA SABNANI Keynote Speaker

Nina Sabnani is an artist and storyteller who uses film, illustration, and writing to tell her stories. She graduated in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara and received a Master’s degree in film from Syracuse University, NY, which she pursued as a Fulbright Fellow in 1997. Her doctoral research at the IDC focused on Rajasthan’s Kaavad storytelling tradition. After teaching for two decades at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Nina has made Mumbai her home. She is Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay where she coordinates the PhD programme. Nina’s research interests include exploring the dynamics between words and images in storytelling.

Part of the presentation will include the participatory work done with traditional artists from Gujarat and Rajasthan. In particular I will discuss the collaboration and research process used to make the animated films and illustrated books with the Kutch artists who use embroidery to narrate their life stories and Rajasthani peripatetic storytellers who use a painted wooden shrine, Kaavad, to narrate stories from the Hindu epics to their patrons. The session will feature screening of a couple of my animated films.

The Cultural Memory of the Itinerant Illustrator In tracing the evolution of illustrated travel one should perhaps begin with the psychology of perception. Freud complemented his medical studies with history and archaeology, creating a fascinating collection of artefacts and illustrated books, focussing in particular on ancient Egypt. He compared psychoanalysis with archaeology, arguing that in both instances excavation of buried depths proved the best path to understanding of past and therefore present. In 1938 he came to London and completed Moses and Monotheism, arguing that Moses followed the example of Akhenaten, who had rejected polytheism in favour of a single god. Above his psychoanalytical couch Freud hung a coloured engraving of the temple at Abu Simbel. This provides a suitable starting point for an examination of the iconography of travel and the dynamic that occurs between the imagination and direct experience, and the relationship between art, illustration and emergent photography.

EDWARD CHANEY Keynote Speaker Edward Chaney PhD FSA, FRHistS is the Professor of Fine and Decorative Arts at Southampton Solent University and Visiting Professor of Art History at the New College of the Humanities, London. He has a first class honours degree in History of Art at Reading University and an MPhil and PhD from the Warburg Institute, University of London. From 1978-1985 he was a ricercatore at the European University Institute, Florence, an Associate of Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti, and taught at the University of Pisa. From 1985-90 he was the Shuffrey Research Fellow in Architectural History at Lincoln College, Oxford. He subsequently worked for English Heritage and lectured in the History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. He is a Commendatore of the Italian Republic and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Wyndham Lewis Society, The British Art Journal and The Court Historian. In 2010-12 he received a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Research Trust to work on the Reception of Ancient Egypt in Early Modern England. He is the author and editor of many books and has appeared on Television and on BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour, Science Now, Start the Week and In Our Time).

Changing Forms of the Book: A journey with folk and tribal artists

GITA WOLF Keynote Speaker Gita Wolf has pursued her interest in exploring and experimenting with the form of the book and its status as a revered cultural object for the last 17 years. She has written many books for children and adults; several of them have won major international awards and been translated into multiple languages. Trained in English and Comparative Literature, she left her academic profession to explore her interests in visual and literary communications. She started Tara Books in 1994, an independent publishing house in Chennai, South India. Over the past sixteen years, Gita has been joined by other writers and creative professionals who were drawn by her vision of bringing a variety of marginalised voices and perspectives to the reader, while continually playing with the form of the book.

Tara Book’s ongoing dialogue with the incredibly rich and varied forms of indigenous tribal and folk art in India goes back over seventeen years. Before we began working with them, many of them were, by definition, outside the conversation of mainstream bookmaking. We began collaborating with them for several reasons: obviously because we were excited by their talent, imagination and intelligence. But also because the association cut through a lot of the hierarchies and limitations that we ourselves - middle class English speaking Indians - are part of. Over the years, it is this difference in perspective that has come to mean the most to us, standing in for genuine alternatives in a blandly globalizing world. From the beginning, we wanted our books with these artists not to be ‘about’ a particular tradition they were to be authors: telling their own story in the space that a contemporary book provides. The book is the physical location from which the art form speaks and tells its story. This talk focuses on the different forms of dialogue, exchange and intervention that such a journey involves.

ALISON BYRNES Alison’s background is in both academics and the arts. Having studied ancient history and Latin literature before taking up her pursuit of fine art, historiographical methods continue to inform her work. Alison combined her interests in her post-graduate education at the University of Michigan by going into Museum Studies, followed by work in a range of museums. She works at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, coordinating the Liberal Arts program, heading Museum and Gallery practices and Illustration.

Translating Time: Depictions of Sequence in Static Images How can a static image express the passage of time, and grapple with the 4th dimension before acknowledging the 3rd? This paper will explore several of these strategies – synoptic and iconic images, continuous narrative and sequential images. None of these depict time “as it is” – each becomes a convention, understandable to the initiated, as a translation of a verbal message or a lived event. The chronological message behind each of these strategies can be interpreted both in context to the cultural exigencies contemporaneous to their production and as a means by which to tease out the nature of the “moment” in order to understand the complexities of the word and image relationship. A moment can be divided infinitely into smaller and smaller units, or be expanded to encompass entire episodes or even epochs with adjacent increments comprising sets, or associative groups. Through the examination of the process of translation from text to image via examples from the past, we can understand the ontological concerns of contemporary illustrations, many of which stake a claim of existing outside of time.

ANITHA BALACHANDRAN Anitha Balachandran is an illustrator and award winning animation film maker. She is a graduate of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and did her Masters at the Royal College of Art, London. Anitha writes and illustrates children’s picture books, and is a visiting lecturer at Srishti College of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore and the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia University in New Delhi. She is currently working on visual experiments with archival materials with a grant from the India Foundation for the Arts.

The Art of being Indian Children’s publishing in India sees the convergence of at least two traditions or streams of illustration art. One is the product of artists and illustrators who emerge from urban art colleges, the legacy of colonial art-education. Translating itinerant conventions to the Indian subcontinent, it remains largely inspired by Euro-American influences. More recently, children’s illustration in India has seen the migration of a number of folk-art styles from their often rural and ritual contexts to the pages of picture books. Distinct from the Western-educated illustrator, the creators of these artworks are schooled in a formal aestheticism that remains largely independent of realist conventions. How are these image-making practices seen and read by audiences at home and abroad? And what of the interaction between these two faces of illustration in India? What dialogues and hybrid practices lie ahead? As a practitioner with formal ‘art-college’ training, my paper attempts to untangle these and other questions as it contemplates illustration’s futures in the subcontinent.



Catrin Morgan’s work explores the relationship between text and image. She is particularly interested in creating work governed by underlying frameworks and hidden meanings. Most of her projects are conceived in relation with the book format. Her research on the Taxonomy of Deception developed into a PhD at the Royal College of Art, a project closely connected with her illustrations for Ben Marcus’s novel The Age of Wire and String.

Christine McCauley is a senior lecturer in Illustration & Visual Communication at the University of Westminster. She studied Illustration at the Royal College of Art and Design. Her work has been in the production of limited edition book works based on her travels in Northeast India. Recent publications and conference presentations have focused on the role of war art & artists.

The Nomadic Illustration This paper defines illustration as images embedded in a narrative text with the aim of expanding the range of images that can be considered to be illustrations; in this context photographs are often illustrations and so are many (if not all) of the images that we encounter online. Nomadic illustrations are single images which are repeatedly repurposed and recontextualised. Stock illustration and photography have been used like this for some time; one stock photograph might illustrate the covers of two different novels for example. Due to the ease with which images are appropriated online however, this is no longer solely the province of professionally-made images and when illustrations do migrate they are being reused in a wider range of contexts. By giving examples of nomadic illustrations and tracing their movements between contexts this paper will consider the way in which certain images become associated with particular narratives and look at what might be causing some illustrations to move whilst others remain stationary.

Contested Spaces and Disputed Narratives A practice-led presentation primarily about my bookwork ‘NAGALAND borders boundaries belonging’ also references an earlier bookwork (Traces trails & remnants). Prompted by stories of my father’s experiences during WW2, in the 14th, Forgotten Army, and my profound sense of belonging to places never visited (that were ‘far away’ and ‘long ago’) I made two solo journeys to the Northeastern frontier states of India. These journeys were part of my personal quest for understanding: tracing my fathers’ steps, both literally and through image-making. In 2007 I travelled from Kolkata to Siligori, through the Himalayas to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok and in 2011 to three of the ‘Seven Sister’ states of ‘old Assam’ - Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya. The drawings I made, the objects I collected and the notes and photographs I took formed the basis of the bookworks I subsequently made.These journeys brought into sharp relief on-going themes in my work; the impact of the past on the present, relationships of time and place, identity and memory, transcultural experiences caused by war, colonisation and migration and their effect on our personal sense of identity and belonging.



Desdemona McCannon has a degree in Graphic Design from Liverpool John Moores and a Masters from University of Brighton. She currently holds the post of Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art and also works as a freelance writer, illustrator and curator. She is Principal Editor of the ‘Journal of Illustration’, and is on the steering committee of the ‘Illustration Research’ network. She has interest in visual literacy and the historical relevance of illustration.

Gareth Proskourine-Barnett’s practice investigates a sense of place and environments altered by human intervention. A graduate from Central Saint Martins. He has worked on a range of self-initiated and commissioned work, artist residencies and publishing projects under the name Tombstone Press. His work has been exhibited internationally and he is a member of the research group ‘Reportager’. He is an Associate Lecturer at Worcester University, Arts University Bournemouth and Birmingham City University

The Illustrated Pilgrim: A collaborative exploration of Pilgrim sites in North Wales

Field Notes From The Future Ruins of Bangkok: Challenging Reportage Illustration

Working collaboratively and borrowing from the literary formality of Welsh triadic tradition, the illustrator (Desdemona McCannon), the singer (Emily Portman) and the poet (Eleanor Rees) propose to create narrative objects, poetry and song based on the physical and spiritual experience of the environment during pilgrimage. Gathering testimonies and stories from many sources, from local voices to those from distant times and places, and from the landscape itself, we propose to create a work that responds to the way that the landscape and sacred architecture of North Wales has fostered pilgrimages. A contemporary relationship with nature and evergreen cultures associated with ritualized journeys, pilgrimage, tourism and local histories will be explored. The paper will describe and contextualise the project, looking at the historical role illustration has played in shaping artefacts associated with and documentation of ‘pilgrimage’ in Britian, in North Wales particularly, and will present the outcomes to date.

Bangkok retains a strong sense of place even though it can be hard to define – tuc-tucs and street food vendors might provide visual clichés but they don’t address the real experience of the city. This paper will discuss my approach to reportage as artist in residence at The Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok – exploring the overlap in my practice between analogue and digital technologies to investigate emergent hybrid processes in illustration. Following in the traditions of the flâneur I explore Bangkok on foot. Walking becomes the means from which to interrogate the ideology imbued in the fabric of the architecture, exploring the transitory and contradictory nature of the city, and addressing the physicality and social history of our constructed environments. All the time, I have been asking, is a traditional approach to drawing really the best solution to a city such as Bangkok?



Gary Powell is Senior Lecturer at University of Brighton and University of the Arts, London. He has worked as an illustrator, designer and educator since graduating from Cemtral Saint Martins School of Art & Design. He has worked on projects that span across editorial, design, advertising, multimedia, including major commissions such as selection for Royal Mail Millennium Stamp Collection; 48 top image-makers of Great Britain. Powell has spoken at national and international conferences/ institutions about his work and research activities that explore issues of identity, migration and post-colonial echoes on personal/collective history.

Geoff Grandfield is an award-winning illustrator. His work centres on the visual communication of ideas and atmosphere, influenced by the cinematography of film noir and of modernist graphic art. He has led the BA program in Illustration at Middlesex University. As co-founder of ‘Mokita’ (the illustration forum), he has campaigned for the greater recognition of Illustration as a subject.

Burnt Offerings - History reveals me as a ‘Hybrid’

Memory and Place in Illustration as a Practice

Recent debates explore illustration/design as ‘hybrid’ practices driven by technological, economical, social and cultural change. As an illustrator/designer/printmaker, personal/ professional practice involves crossbreeding processes, fusing ideas producing hybrid images as ‘visual reasoning’. Reinterpretation of received knowledge explores interchange/tensions between transcultural identities, migration and postcolonial reflections on personal/collective history. However, history reveals me as a ‘Hybrid’ and walking ‘Palimpsest’ with family roots extending to the West Indies and India. Today two memorials exist in Brighton [UK] commemorating Indian soldiers that passed through Brighton hospitals during the First World War 1914-18. The ‘Chattri’ inscription, in Urdu, Hindi and English reads: “To the memory of all Indian soldiers who gave their lives for their King-Emperor in the Great War, this monument, erected on the site of the funeral pyre where the Hindus and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire, is in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated.”

Where do creative images come from? Are they replications of the observed, in reality, memory or via image media? Is there a pure source of synthesis, the internal imaginative vision that creates something genuinely new or is the constructed image always derived and dependent on the experience of a place? This paper considers the constituent sources of imagery and how the affect of each has manifested itself in my illustration practice and how illustration builds a visual world. I will examine the role of visual memory using Professor Bruce Brown’s analysis of three technological ages; folk, mechanical and digital, to determine the evolving role of illustration from memory aid to identity badge. The influence of experiential topographical space and its echo in the imaginary is compared with the construction of places - for instance the visual language of American cinematography and 1940’s film noir. It will be an attempt to understand the relationship between place, memory and visual imagination in the context of visual language communication across societies.

photo credit : John McGregor



Jeremy Radvan is a senior lecturer at University of Brighton, Department of Visual Communication. His long-term research project is centered on the relationship between drawing and digital media. It began in 1997 and has involved an investigation into the qualities of digital media as a medium for drawing, encompassing-real time drawing as part of dance performances and the development of custom-written animation applications.

Jonathan Gibbs lives in Scotland and teaches at the University of Edinburgh. After schooling, Gibbs studied in Lowestoft, the Central School of Art & Design, and the Slade School, London. All of his illustrations are created as wood engravings. His artwork has been commissioned by Faber & Faber, Folio Society, and various designers, publishers, and advertising agencies. He employs abstraction and pattern, either in decorative devices or as elements within a visual narrative.

Drawing, Coding and Performance

The Mind’s Eye : Poetry and Place

The paper will describe the use of custom-written real time animation software written in the Processing coding language ( to investigate animation in live performance, animation as installation and the use of the software to produce illustrative animations. The project investigates points of contact between drawing and dance such as gesture, expression and rhythm. A data projector was used to place live animation and dance in the same performance space. Digital devices such as a custom-written random video player and a digital implementation of the precinematic visual game Myriorama were used to investigate non-linear narrative.

We have not visited The Torrible Zone, nor do we know the Hills of the Chankly Bore or the Land Where the Bong Tree Grows. Nonetheless, these fantastical places are vivid to us from childhood. Inspired by Edward Lear’s literary locations, I seek to address a particular relationship between poetry and the visual image. This will be selective analysis, which connects some historical texts alongside examples of contemporary practice. My interest stems from analyzing our ways of seeing and of reading various combinations of pictures and text.

The model of drawing explored has two parts that exist at one instant; the precisely placed mark that is concerned with the topographical mapping of the subject and the expressive stroke that is concerned with the qualities of the medium. This instantaneous balance between precision and expression creates indeterminacy (expressed as smudges, scribbles, pentimenti, sfumati and other forms of sketchiness). The “boil” in animation has become a controllable characteristic of the digital drawing medium that allows animation to be used for installation, real-time performance and animated illustrations.

A reader can be transported by evocations of place, and there may be experience, humour, memory and the human condition; all of which are expressed within verse and accompaniments of visual art. Informed or intuitive readings of the pictorial arts, as well as our understanding of writing, begin in early childhood. Such an education develops through life’s span, with various aspects of simplicity and sophistication, actuality and imagination, body and spirit.

JAMES WALKER James Walker is Lecturer in Visual Theory for Illustration at the University for the Creative Arts and Associate Editor of the Journal of Illustration. He was Teaching Fellow in Animation at University for the Creative Arts. His research interest includes areas of propaganda, illustration, visual culture, terror and trauma, visual narrative, and animation. His most recent publication is on the illustrative work of British animator Joy Batchelor.

Illustrative displacements: Para-textual explorations of the optical imagination The paper proposes that the illustrator functions as an explorer who navigates between different narrative and para-textual worlds (Genette 1991). In particular, the paratextual experience of illustrated narrative texts provokes an illustrative displacement that disconnects the reader/viewer from the text (Bredehoft 2014). It is argued that when the illustrator is geographically displaced from their own culture and associated “scopic regime” (Jay 1994), they draw upon preexisting schemas and knowledge bases; as illustrated by Gombrich (1960) in his discussion on early illustrations of rhinoceros. Umberto Eco states that ‘when faced with an unknown phenomenon, we react by approximation: we seek that scrap of content, already present in our encyclopedia, which for better or worse seems to account for the new fact’ (Eco 1999:57). The unknown/ unseen is dependent on references drawn from preexisting knowledge. As such its visualization is a manifestation of a hybrid one composed of many fragments that provokes multi-paratextual readings; in which imagination enables the illustrator/viewer “to go beyond the bare data of sensation, and to bridge the gap between mere sensation and intelligible thought” (Warnock 1976:34).

DR. KAVITHA BALAKRISHNAN Dr. Kavitha Balakrishnan is an artist, poet and art educator based in Kerala. Winner of the Soviet Land Nehru Award for painting at the age of thirteen in 1989 she emerged as an artist very early in life. Currently teaching Art History at Govt. College of Fine Arts, Thrissur, she writes bilingually (Malayalam & English) on art. Her area of research connects media, design and art history through 20th century modern Indian art experience.

The Making of ‘The Reader Viewer’ in 20th century literate-media contexts: A Kerala Archive I would like to do image projections of a Kerala archive of periodical magazines (1900-2012), an Indian region’s case of approaching the print picture practices of periodical magazines within its 20th century literate-media contexts. This presentation outlines a few characteristic contexts of the Malayali reader using his unarticulated flip side, the Malayali looker. This is an imagerich story of a range of print-picture genres, a visual field of literary illustrators, cartoonists, graphic authors, calligraphic title and film poster designers, and photo-featurists as behaved in the mindscapes of a reading/looking class. The literary illustrators among them bear the problematics of ‘aesthetic viewing’ in an ephemeral domain. Their story is presented on the basis of extensive archival re-search. This visual field also proves that there were sustained uses of representationalism for a tasteful making of discreet cultural hegemony and dissemination of patriarchy in this region.



Luise Vormittag is a London based artist, designer and illustrator working across multiple disciplines. Trained also as a photographer, fine artist and theorist she worked under the name Conatiner in various collaborative constellations. While maintaining a commercial output of commissions she is also engaged in research, investigating notions of conversation, exchange and participation. She is currently employed at Central Saint Martins and has worked as an associate lecturer at London Camberwell.

Manasee Jog is a designer, illustrator, and educator. Her research interests are feminism, gender, narratives, history, book art, patterns, textile art and tribal art. She explores these contexts through 2D and 3D mediums. Her approach to teaching at Srishti is collaboration through dialogue while also encouraging students to develop lines of enquiry and personal narratives. She received her undergraduate degree at the College of Fine Arts, Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore and Postgraduate degree from Camberwell College, University of the Arts, London.

Rumour, Legend, Tradition, Fact

Women on a Ledge: Illustrated Feminist Identities from India

‘Our Heritage’ is a commission for the Oxfordshire NHS trust. The aim is for the work to embed a newly-built hospital in the local community. One of the conditions outlined in my brief is that I generate at least part of the content through a participatory engagement phase. In this paper I will discuss how I attempted to produce a piece of work that serves the local community while simultaneously drawing attention to the inherent complexities of the brief. I am keen to highlight what I see as the problematic nature of the concepts of heritage and participation. As an illustrator I wish to emphasise the process of reinterpretation, mystification and manipulation intrinsic to our discipline as well as highlighting the problematic premise of working with the past of a local culture.

Feminism, as documented and theorized, is often said to have its early beginnings in the second half of the 19th century as an important paradigm of social reform. Given the rich history of visual culture and arts in India, to trace the development and transformation of local and contemporary Indian art form, especially illustration, offers a unique avenue to discuss the on-going relevance of these forms not only with their practitioners but also as a mode of expression. This paper traces and examines the work of women image-makers and illustrators of Indian origin in contemporary times. It looks at the works of Chitra Ganesh, Manjula Padmanabhan, Teju Bahn, Janine Shroff, Priya Kurien among others; and looks at female imagery as represented in the now, and how stylistic and thematic forms have evolved and responded to culture, politics of body, expression, and identity. What is a desirable female image? Why do these women subvert and negotiate female imagery? What is their work in response to? These are some of the questions the paper will investigate.

MATTHEW RICHARDSON Matthew Richardson’s illustration work has been widely used in publishing and design. He studied at Middlesex University and Central St. Martins. Commissions have included a project with the V&A and imagery for ‘Prince Igor’ by Alexander Borodin at the ENO. He currently teaches part time at Norwich University of the Arts. He has won several prizes for his work, including V&A Illustration Awards for his editorial and book publishing work and the House of Illustration and Folio Society Award.

In Praise of Folly: a Palimpsest of Foolery A ‘palimpsest’ is defined as a manuscript twice-written, the original writing having been erased to make a space for a later text. This paper considers the form of the palimpsest in the reillustrating of ‘In Praise of Folly’ written in 1512 by Desiderius Erasmus. From copies of Hans Holbein’s 16th Century illustrations for the book, I digitally erased content to provide a space for ‘overwriting’ imagery. Erasmus was a humanist - an itinerant social critic and teacher who travelled widely to gain new insights that questioned the establishment moving towards enlightenment. He wrote at a time of clerical social control, when reformation could be seen as heretical. Erasmus used ‘rhetoric’ as a mode of speech that simultaneously concealed and revealed meaning. In my search for visual and conceptual equivalence–coded, veiled, playful, and slippery. I look at how signs, symbols and meaning become fragmented over time–lost or hidden, reused and mis-used, at times visible and known, at others, undecipherable–the stage, page and play as palimpsest

PADMINI RAY MURRAY Dr. Padmini Ray Murray’s work focuses on the impact of technology on culture; her research spans the history of the book, the digital humanities, games, comics, and literary studies. Padmini joined the University of Stirling as lecturer in publishing studies after completing her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2008, and will be joining the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in January 2015. Padmini has just completed a visiting fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi.

Likely stories: How the Graphic Novel Engages with Public History The ouevre of the graphic novel has historically been shaped by the contours of auto/biography – from Eisner’s The Dreamer to Marjane Satrapi’s globally acclaimed Persepolis– the form legitimises, and some would argue, even valorises chronicles of the personal. In this paper I will argue how Satrapi’s novel and Sarnath Banerjee’s The Harappa Files can, while ostensibly telling private histories, present different versions of public history, through their emphases on the quotidian against the backdrop of political, cultural and economic change. Satrapi’s explicitly autobiographical work sees Iranian history unfold through the eyes of the child and the exile - both usually a lacunae at the heart of established national histories; while Banerjee’s work draws on iconic artefacts of a post-liberalized India, that he stages as a “gigantic survey of the current ethnography and urban attempt to resurrect, examine and catalogue cultural, human and material relics.”



Paul Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth In the UK. His current research explores illustration contexts and the impact of digital technologies on the development of illustration practices and their reception. In 2012 he co-wrote the Digital Art Technique Manual for Illustrators and Artists with Joel Lardner.

Promina successfully coordinated ‘Artists in the City Urbanization and Urban Culture’ (October 2010 – March 2011 and May 2012 - July 2012) where a platform for dialogue between the artist community and other urban disciplines was established. The event demonstrated the importance and utility of public spaces and more than 50,000 visitors took part in the event over a weeklong exhibition. She is currently working on a research on ‘Children’s Illustration in Nepal: an imagined identity’.

Defining the Itinerant Illustrator in the 21st Century

Children’s Illustration in Nepal: An Imagined Identity

Contemporary illustration within the UK has realised a broad expansion into areas previously held as the domains of other subjects, whilst the move towards digital publishing has begun to further push the applications of illustration. It is not unusual to find illustrators working as animators, filmmakers, fashion designers, graphic designers, 3D artists, and more. However, there is a potential crisis facing the definition of illustration. Whilst the contemporary illustrator seems to move comfortably between mediums, the use of the term ‘illustrator’ becomes increasingly problematic in terms of defining a set of practices or attitudes that are easily encompassed by the word. We may rightly celebrate the itinerant illustrator as a constant traveller who moves freely between fields, subjects, and media. There is also a more negative connotation to the word itinerant, of homelessness or aimless wandering. This paper sets out to broadly map the contemporary field of illustration, and question whether there is a need to take a moment to assess or reaffirm what the term illustration and its associated practices mean, or could mean, in the 21st century.

Illustration in Nepal is a field that has not been considered academically important outside its circle. Images often included without a technical understanding of the context or of the power it has over its readers, but are seen merely as fillers; this has been particularly so with children’s illustration. The history of children’s illustration in Nepal is fairly recent, however the last decade has been defined by new ways of representations in book illustration, being drawn by newer digital technologies, thus giving it a new platform for recognition. The paper seeks to trace the historical trajectory in Nepal’s children’s illustrations and examines how the Nepali illustration style has been influenced by the country’s socio-political history. Further, it looks at how domestic and foreign influences along with the advances in technology has allowed artists to imagine an identity for children through its history .



Roderick Mills is an international award-winning illustrator & filmmaker, a graduate of the Royal College of Art. He has worked across most areas of the Illustration industry and is represented by Heart Artists’ Agents in London and New York. Roderick is Deputy chairman of the Association of Illustrators, and cofounder of Mokita illustration forum. Within education Roderick is currently Course Leader for BA (Hons) Illustration at the University of Brighton. Research interests include narrative forms and pictorial space.

Sadaf Chughtai has a BFA in Design Arts from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and an MA in Art and Design Studies from Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Lahore, Pakistan. Sadaf’s practice is mainly in print media and photography. She is interested in material culture and the manifestations/interactions of history in the everyday, particularly in the urban context of the city of Lahore. She is currently Assistant Professor at BNU, and also works as a freelance designer.

Illustration within an Expanded Field of Practice

Engaging Lahore with Manto and Co.

In the advent of globalisation, digital technology, the Internet, hybridity, ever-changing economic forces, in an age when the image is all-pervasive, when globally notions of super-hybridity are blurring cultural reference points in the click of a mouse, the definition of illustration, this paper will argue, is at a time of change.

Living in Lahore it is impossible not to engage with its history and visuality as a city. As a teacher I place the immediate, the city, at the heart of both academic and visual inquiry. We, members of the class, work together in the studio to construct a research approach to illustration. We visit historical places, read Manto and Abul Fazal traveling through time. We come back to the studio inspired to write our own stories and embark on visualizing them. Developing illustrated story-boards with fresh insights.

The illustrator is a wanderer, not just in terms of the physical, the media being employed, but as boundaries between disciplines are rapidly blurring illustration is being seen as a conduit for many into the wider area of graphic design and visual communication, demonstrating transferable skills and a way of thinking. Going beyond simply the skill of producing images to applications of illustration including 3-D spaces, data visualization, moving image, and visual storytelling with potential impact for both communities and commercial brands. The paper will explore what new technologies can facilitate illustration; changing habits caused by touch screens; how economic and technological changes are encouraging an interdisciplinary/ hybrid practice for illustrators, and how illustration sits within a wider visual culture.

This paper will reflect on these student projects and feature their visual narratives, sketches and photographs, exploring methods of creating new chronicles of an ancient city. The process and the results unfold formal and conceptual discourses of illustration, the importance of illustration as a narrative device, the impact of technology in the representation of the self, and the place of history in a global context.



Sarah Lawton is a socially engaged artist-educator for Cubitt Gallery and Bow Arts Trust, London, and associate lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Over five years she has been developing a project entitled, “SHARING the MAKING”. The project connects artists and designers to artisans internationally. On a five-month scholarship at The National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Lawton planned and implemented workshops connecting craft, health and well-being at Kala Raksha artisan school, in Kutch.

Sekhar is a senior faculty of communication design. He studied Animation Film Design from 1992 to 1995 at National Institute of Design. He is from Kolkata and started his career as a newspaper cartoonist, illustrator, and later info-graphics artist. He worked in various fields of communication design both in print, and screen & web media for 7 years. In 2002 he joined his alma mater. For 12 years he headed the department of animation, which brought many student accolades and awards under his mentorship. He is artistic director of Chitrakatha. In 2009 he received Best Animation Teacher Award from CNBC-TV18.

Illustrated Narratives on Transnational platforms

What my Sketchbook Means to Me?

This article examines the relationship between illustration and social capital. The main focus of the paper is a reflection on ‘The International Open elective’ in Active Ageing at the National Institute of Design (NID) in 2013. Social capital is a resource based on trust and shared values, and develops from the weaving-together of people in communities (David Gauntlett, 2011). The article starts with a short overview of the use of optics as drawing tools for reportage on collected stories and stimulus for conviviality. It then discusses the narrative work of three Rabari embroiders Lakma Ben, Hasu-Ben and Parma Ben Rabari. There is a brief examination of the practice of collecting ‘observed’ stories from Sumrasar Sheikh Gujarat; at Kala Raksha Vidhalya and a reflection on subsequent exhibition and workshop prototypes that Lawton has facilitated, as part of the Asia Arts Triennial in 2014. The final section of the article discusses the body of work made by Lawton in response to the Open Elective and research projects with artisans in Gujarat. Through Lawton’s work we see how hand-drawn and handembroidered illustrations can stimulate crosscultural understanding and encourage the sharing of imagined narratives.

Born in a big family of post partition Bengal, I grew up listening to stories, both from orally narrated and from lovely bicoloured block printed illustrated books. Those impressions imprinted in my mind unknowingly as a bug. I salute, through my sketchbooks, those inspiring local madmen of illustration, from Ohibhushan Malik, Sukumar Ray, Shoilo Chakraborty and the global masters like Edward Lear, Maurice Sendak, Don Martin, William Steig, Otto Dix, Quinton Blake to name a few. This overdose of visual hogging got released in my school notebooks, homework copy, and the empty walls of my home and much later in a series of sketchbooks. Always a backbencher, observing the moments of daily mundane chores, there was a ‘perennial itch’ to fill any empty space around me. Today my addiction of writing pictures or drawing words get manifested fearlessly, in ‘My Sketchbook’, my ultimate stress-buster…

GERALD DAVIES Gerald Davies is Senior Lecturer in Drawing at Lancaster University. He studied drawing at the Royal College of Art; he was a Fulbright Scholar at Purdue University in the U.S, and Artist-in-Residence at Durham Cathedral. In 2010 his practice of drawing in caves lead to a nine-week project drawing in the Jenolan Cave system of the Blue Mountains, Australia, and a solo show at the Drawing Study Centre at the National Art School, Sydney. In collaboration with Sarah Casey, Gerald has recently published on drawing.

Crossing the Line: Drawing as Babel Fish The paper examines the emergence of illustrative practices among fine artists to achieve a particular mobility, which enables them to gather, synthesise and communicate information across diverse environments and communities. This idea informs our research project, ‘Walking the Line: Drawing in Other Terrains’. Contemporary drawing includes artists seeking out ever more responsive and dialogical applications of drawing in interdisciplinary environments. This reveals a fluidity, a new sensitivity where drawing is used to analyse, depict, communicate and reflect upon aspects of lived experience, and work alongside other research professionals. We discuss the lineage of these highly contemporary practices to John Ruskin’s (Elements of Drawing) (1857) and his belief in the use of drawing to interrogate the world and our position in it. Situated in this context, Ruskin reminds us of our social and ecological responsibilities and provides us with the tools (observational drawing) to address these issues.

SARA CASEY DAVIES Sarah Casey is Lecturer in Sculpture and Installation at Lancaster University. She was awarded a PhD in drawing in 2012 and exhibits nationally and internationally. Her core interest is drawing in dialogue with other research areas. Recent projects have led to shows at Kensington Palace and the Bowes Museum (2015). One of her drawings made through working on The Bowes Museum was short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014.

We argue this under-acknowledged mode of practice is timely and significant for a globalised interdisciplinary research community because it reveals drawing’s capacity to intercede and build relationships across disparate areas of expertise and communities.



From a career in commercial illustration throughout the 80’s and 90’s, working mostly in publishing for companies including Puffin, Macmillan, Heinemann, J M Dent, Hutchison, Radio and TV Times, Sunday Times and Scholastic, Steve developed as an educator and independent publisher. He is creator and course leader of the highly influential MA Illustration: Authorial Practice award at Falmouth University, Director of graphic literature publisher Atlantic Press and International Advisory Group member for The House of Illustration in London.

Tanvee Nabar is one fourth of the Ladyfingers Co. team, a young design studio based in Bangalore, and is often responsible for the drawings included in many of their designs. Her aim has always been to depict a diversity of form and context in her drawing – especially humans. This has often led to much questioning with respect to socio-cultural and economic factors, a sensitivity to which she is eager to cultivate further. She also enjoys weaving humour into all her work. Tanvee is currently trying to live up to her ideal of drawing a little bit everyday.

The Itinerant Illustration: Creating Storyworlds in the Reader’s Space

“What would the sofa look like?”: Illustrating Children’s Books for India

Imagine an illustrated story, comprising still images and text, with its characters, plotline and narrative tension, but the world of the story extends outwards from the printed page (or e-book), into what I call the reader’s space. This paper explores the storytelling potential of direct address as moments where fictional characters look out from their still-image worlds, whether picture-book, graphic novel, or comic, into ours. It will consider the possibility of creating fictional worlds by employing direct address to generate narrative in the real time and space of the audience. This approach parallels Brecht’s idea of “showing showing”, where actors break through the ‘fourth wall’: the audience constantly aware they are watching a play; the structure of their experience laid bare. I will explore showing showing from an illustration perspective, where the reader is not only aware that they are being watched by that which they are watching, but that it is also possible to construct a story within the reader’s space.

In 2011, as a student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, I participated in the Pratham Books project where I illustrated a children’s book titled I can make things! (Pratham Books is a not-for-profit children’s book publisher in India). While exploring my journey through this project I will focus on the following questions: 1. How did the nature of the brief require me to inspect a culture and create representations of my own understanding of that culture? 2. Whilst working in a context other than my own, what is the nature of the product I create? 3. How did I negotiate stereotypes, in the process of representing visually, a context other than my own? How did I use the praxis of illustration to study material culture?



Tongyu Zhou is a curator and an artist, currently employed as a Research Associate by MIRIAD, Manchester School of Art. Zhou’s research interests lie in the fields of Chinese contemporary arts and the sustainability of our cities. In 2013, Zhou curated “Issues of Urbanisation” in Guangdong Museum of Art, China; she also co-curated “The Fire and The Rose” for Asia Triennial Manchester 2014. She is the co-author of (Scissors, Paper, Poetry: the interaction between Chinese folk art and contemporary art practice) published in Journal of Illustration 2013.

Dr. Vasanthi Mariadass is the Associate Dean for the Postgraduate Diploma Program at the Srishti School of Art, design and Technology. Her current research interest is German Filmmaker Harun Farocki’s works. She explores the affective possibilities and his Other Politics in her work “Archival Practice in Farocki’s Works: Effects and Affects”. She teaches Critical Theory and Cinema Studies.

A Big World in the Little One’s Book: The Chinese Illustrator as Mind Traveller

Framing Theory

This paper treats how images were made and read within a particular regional context that had transnational implications. The ‘little one’s book,’ (xiaorenshu), is a common Chinese name for lianhuanhua, meaning ‘serial pictures’ or ‘sequential drawings’. Often seen in magazines or palm-size books, the name also implies literature for children and less-educated mass readership. During the 1980s to 1990s, the Little One’s Book became a cultural phenomena and attracted a much wider readership of young and old alike. Despite the simple format, the artists’ imagination conjured worlds from the ancient past and distant cultures, alongside contemporary literature and current affairs. This paper will look at illustrators’ practice in this historical period in China, who they were, how they stretched their subject matter and artistic expression, analysing how this simple art form was able to accommodate a vast world of knowledge, imagination and anticipation.

Harun Farocki’s work demonstrates and illustrates the deconstruction of archive through rearchiving archived material (Images of the World and Inscriptions of War, (1989). He not only critically examines the classical archiving methods through his films but also illustrates and performs other alternatives through postmodern strategies which relate to the present more fully. Namely his work has already demonstrated the theoretical concerns displayed by Judith Butler. She acknowledges him very early in her work Frames of War where she charges the media doctoring that conscribe the public into war along with other such complicities and consents. He illustrates that rearchiving found footage through montage and other formal means deconscribes and resists strategised and unethical rhetorical deceptions. These deceptions recruit the public into war or other totalitarian interests that are disguised as democratic and justifiable human rights (Paul Virilio). In sum the public are made to want and warrant such war.

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