Practising practising: Helping students to find their voice in the Illustration world

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A paper written and presented at ICON10 international illustration conference in Detroit, Michigan, July 11–14, 2018 as an element of the education syposium titled: PARADIGM PARADOX: TEACHING IN THE FUTURE.

A new generation of illustration students are beginning to take on professional commissions early in their education. Where historically colleges worked with imaginary, self-directed or competition briefs, students now desire or need to take on work as early as their first year. As a result, the curriculum needs to equip students with professional practice skills sooner.
In this future where the boundary between industry and education is blurred, is there a danger that industry rules limit the curiosity and playfulness integral to the art college learning experience? Another shift suggests this is perhaps not the case: the prevalence of Illustrators using experimental publishing and projects to promote and compliment commissioned work.
This paper reflects on ‘Bookmarks’, a project which begins to address these issues - giving students the opportunity to simply ‘practise practising’. At this book fair students, staff and alumni exhibit and sell artist’s books, zines and printed multiples as collectives or individuals. The event has previously included a Symposium and also looks to use workshops to promote exchange and collaboration.
This project explores a number of the conference themes and broader literature:
• Structure and Infrastructure – taking learning out of the classroom and into the
public domain.
• Hand made – celebrating the one-off book, small edition and quickly produced
multiple, students can playfully bypass large companies and ‘publish’ work themselves. They experience the whole journey from idea to audience and explore a range of new and traditional technologies.
• The Entrepreneurial Illustrator – students gain graduate attributes in marketing, finance and communication as they ‘practise practising’. Students also try on creative ‘identities’ before fully launching themselves as a graduate ‘brand’.
The paper reflects on the challenges to be negotiated from such a teaching method and the surprises that emerge from this collaborative teaching project which spans the Schools of Art and Design.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
EventThe Illustration Conference - Detroit, United States
Duration: 11 Jul 201814 Jul 2018


ConferenceThe Illustration Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • illustration
  • education


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