Illustration where art thou?

Use of space is one of the main things designers think about when creating a piece. You want to make sure your image maintains its equilibrium between the different elements it is composed of. Graphic Designers usually swear by the golden ratio, which is in sorts a scientific way of making sure something looks aesthetically pleasing. This science is actually called Neuroesthetics, it seeks to find out what images are attractive to the brain and why. Most designers use the golden ratio as a guide for composition because it creates images that are immediately balanced and more appealing to the eye. The diagram below is a complex form of the golden ratio but a more simple version of it is if an image is divided in thirds, you would then organise it grouping the first two thirds together and separating the last third, like in the second image.



The question ‘Where is Illustration?’ can also be interpreted as a question of where illustration can be found around us. I am someone who believes that if you look hard enough, illustration is everywhere. This, however, implies quite a broad definition of illustration where it is closely linked to typography, graphic design and fine art. We use hand drawn and digital images for so many reasons nowadays, whether it is in advertisement, in the software designs for our phones and laptops, on book covers, album covers, logos, packaging (the beautiful illustrations for the Essential Waitrose range for example), the picture books that are read to us as children and the list goes on. Whatever it is, there is always someone whose job is to decide what the design is going to look like.


Heather Gatley’s work for the Essential Waitrose range


Tattoos are proof that illustration knows no spacial boundaries. As William Blake put it ‘There are no lines in nature, but there are lines in imagination’. People are able to redefine their own bodies using drawing, thus modifying nature through design. One of the examples that immediately spring to mind when thinking about this is land art; being both French and English I am very used to taking the eurotunnel and one thing I always remember seeing as I arrived at the terminal of the English Channel Tunnel is the white horse carved onto the hill in Folkestone.


This is of course one of many examples of land art, some of the most famous land artists include Robert Smithson, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Andy Goldsworthy and Dennis Oppenheim.

Christo and Jean-Claude
Dennis Oppenheim



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