Anglia Ruskin University

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How Illustration Works: Exploring a Model of Editorial Illustration in Print and Online Media

posted on 2023-09-01, 14:19 authored by Nanette Hoogslag
This paper presents a hypothesis of a fundamental and theoretical description of the role of illustration. Through a proposal and discussion of a constellation of four key attributes it presents a model of illustration that underpins the expression and agency of the illustration within all structures of editorial publishing. Such a model gives insight into the significant role of illustration, and the way illustration is shaped and the manner in which it shapes the communicative texts and contexts of which it is part. This model presents illustration as a mode of communication, which can be expressed through a wide differentiation in appearance, defined by the maker, social practices as well as the material qualities of the publishing technology. Rather than as a particular image-based artefact, illustration is shown as a pictorial narrative and a process of revelation. Where in print media this can be expressed as drawing on paper, within online media formats, it can present through various expressive multi-media and experiential modes. The proposed model is discussed in relation to two main reproductive forms, namely print and online reproduction and is presented through four main groups of attributes, namely: Translation, Reflection, Engagement and Manifestation as well as the constellation they form together. I bring to the fore that the constellation itself enables a further key quality of illustration namely that of Deliberation, a quality enabled through the process of reflection, which is inherent but equally deliberately embedded in each illustration.



  • Yes

Page range


Number of pages



Blackwell Companions to Art History



Place of publication

Hoboken, NJ

Title of book

A Companion to Illustration: Art and Theory




Alan Male

File version

  • Accepted version


  • eng

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Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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