week.1 .t wHAt iS !llUsTratiOn

Week one’s lecture, introducing us to IVM and the industry, also pushed us to explore the arguments around the definition of ivm what we gain from the business today. Looking at past and present examples, we were asked to list production sectors in which we can apply illustration and visual communication.

Having done this we were left with growing lists of subjects and professions in which we can apply ivm to *advertising, architecture, fashion, promotion, packaging… This allowed us to acknowledge the contemporary definition of the illustration trade.

We were asked to put this new definition of the business into our own words and one of my year group articulated it with this incredibly profound interpretation,


“There are as many types of illustration as there are illustrators.”

This simplification perfectly sums up the aim of our lecture as we are explained how to re-approach our coursework / chosen specialty – as the questions that arose emphasise that there are no limits to what medium we can work with to visually articulate our ideas.

The recent change in outlook towards the IVM trade has been historical in pushing traditional concepts forward to reach a larger demographic of people and exposure in industry. The new definition contrasts with the classical explanation of illustration which referred to it as the accompanying (second to) trade while in the production of say, writing a novel… The modern definition removes the negative stigma towards the word and refers to the medium as being ‘informative’ and ‘enlightening’ which is considerably more accurate than past descriptions.

I’ve started to apply this concept into Friday’s brief, in  which we’re to create a number of ‘drawings’ inspired by ‘Speaking in Tongues’. Looking at how we visualise language and speech as an outsider I’m looking to make a zine series inspired by the multitude of language in the different boroughs of London. Taking what we’ve learned into account, I’m exploring all potential through the use of printmaking, photography, collage and illustration…


After completing my initial research and experimentation I can foresee many different routes I can carry my project onto – potentially through the form of graphic design, typography, fashion textiles, animation, film… Using Saussure studies on Semiotics and subliminal messaging, I’m hoping to communicate the skewed interpretations of visual language through the form of asemic artwork *examples shown below.

Sausurre defines this kind of communication as the making of modern language as society continues to put out new working visuals towards spoken word in society (symbols, signs…) I’m looking to explore these possibilities in my own foresight through responsive and ‘pointless’ drawings – to articulate how outside language fails to enter my vocabulary and draw any significant meaning. All I hear is tone, accent and expression and through these studies I look to explore these elements of language.

To summarise the first CTS lecture, our approach towards the work we produce will hopefully become more experimental and ambitious due to the fresh views on illustration as a medium we’ve been introduced to. It proved fascinating how one subject matter can conjure a whole collection of creative endeavours. I look forward to putting this new definition of illustration to practice as we head towards week two.