I made several attempts In order to start this exercise.  I started by looking through a book of contemporary Illustration. The first thing I found was that large numbers of illustrators use a range of media, in one work. The illustrations are more often than not a mixture of traditional media such as pencil, ink, paint combined with digital techniques. I was surprised by how many illustrations were made entirely digitally. I have got better at combining digital and line but I like to work away from the computer if possible.

I admired the illustrations but they didn’t really strike a chord. I looked on line and also through other books and then decided to collect a group of illustrators who used media that I have enjoyed working with:



Stains and wax


Models or 3D


I like monoprint / monotype. I like the way the ink makes it own subtle marks in addition to the hand. Francois Berthoud uses a variety of printing techniques with great subtlety and skill. I looked at Rose Jaffe, Matt Craven and Francois Berthoud, fashion designer


Some textile artists produce illustrative type pictures, using thread as line.

I looked at Diem Chau and Tilleke Schwarz.


I couldn’t find many Illustrators who use rubbing as a major technique. I did however come up with GYOTAKU which turns out is a japanese art of making rubbings from fish. The fish is rubbed with ink and then a print taken off the fish using rice paper.


I didn’t find many people using stains and wax. I looked for illustrators using encaustic techniques but couldn’t find anything I really liked. It was all very much at the amateur, crafty level. I found one artist who uses a combination of wax resist and red wine staining, Amelia Harnas


When I tried to find illustrators working with patterns I discovered they are called Textile Artists or Designers! I’m thinking that if you like patterns, patterned fabric is an obvious background. Also stitches lend themselves to repetitive pattern making. I enjoyed using stitching when doing the textile module but found hand stitching a very slow process. I liked the work of Ali Coate, Sari Syvaluoma and Charlene Mullen.

3D work

I looked at the work at 2 illustrators which my tutor suggested.

I really liked this work by Kyle Bean. It was from a series of images of weapons made from soft materials which were made to accompany an article on yarn bombing and guerilla gardening. I love the simplicity of the image which is also playful and whimsical. The second image is a brain made out of toothpaste, from a series of brains made out of different materials for an article on men’s health. Again I like the simplicity and whimsical nature of the image whilst at the same time the wiggly shape of the toothpaste is a very good metaphor for the form of the brain.

In doing this exercise I remembered that I like minature worlds. I found the following artists / illustrators

Roy Tyson. He is an example of artists / photographers who make images of tiny people.

Mark Hogencamp This is a strange example but I watched a documentary on this brain damaged artist who has constructed a world out of dolls. What really struck me was the way this man has totally entered his fantasy world and made it concrete.

I liked this model of a Mexican slum by illustrator Ana Serrano which is part of a work reflecting on the drug culture in Mexico.

Rather than picking out an individual work, I think the these are the important features of these images:

the concept is everything, whimsical, humourous, simple. The images from Mark Hogencamp’s work often made me laugh with pleasure at the way he had achieved a very truthful portrayal of humans using the equivalent of action man. He is very skilled at setting up postures and stances which are totally believable.


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