Illustration as a Discipline

Famous Illustrators Graphic Design

As for boundaries and borderlines, it is clear that illustration sits somewhere between art and design. Never truly considered to be an adjunct of art with a capital A', nor wholly allowed to exist as a solo design discipline, without the prop that is graphic design, illustration has been continually disowned by both artists and designers. It has been derided as whimsical by the artist and arty' by the designer.

Outside of education there appears to be a blanket refusal by artists to acknowledge the importance of the rote that illustration plays. The crossover from art to illustration is occasionally deemed appropriate, but the reverse is rarely accepted. In the design world, designers plunder freely from the fields of illustration, yet rarely take any responsibility for sowing new seeds, and little time or space is given to nurturing growth and emerging talent. It is interesting to note thai the UK's foremost monthly design publication, Creative Review, dropped illustration as a category In its annual design awards; evidence of the lack of stature that the design community places on the role of illustration and the career of the illustrator.

2. Marker pen and paint on metal construction 'Garbage Heads' Series for personal project Akira Wakui - 2004

3. Ink on paper 'Garbage Heads' Series for personal project Akira Wakui, 2004

Working from small-scale original drawings made with Ink on paper, these larger metal constructions are handcrafted before being hand-painted with drawn elements added prior to installation within a gallery environment.

Back in education, the discipline rarely fares any better; few institutions offer full-time courses purely in illustration, and those that do. offer very little by way of stand alone facilities. Illustration courses often do not occupy their own physical space, but sit in studios as part of graphic design courses. It is still the case that in many countries across Europe, illustration has failed to be recognised as a discipline and therefore courses tend not lo exist at all. Professionally, illustrations for press and advertising have been created by designers and artists, and with no real recognition for the practice. Ihe development of courses has remained as an off-shoot of graphic design, if at all.

01 course it is true that crossover and discussion can be nurtured across the two disciplines of graphic design and illustration. But this is only possible if both are given equal status and sadly, this is still a rare occurrence. With a high demand for facilities and studio space for courses requiring specialist equipment such as looms in textiles, kilns in ceramics, wood, metal and plastics, workshops in 3D design and black-and-white and digital darkrooms in photography, it is clear - although unjustified - why illustration often remains at the end of the list.

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