Editorial Illustration: Research

Local Universe, Visual Research

The new brief for the Local Universe studio is editorial illustration whereby we’ve been given articles to choose from in order to create two illustrations. I understand that an editorial illustration is commissioned to accompany text in order to highlight, explain or even enhance the text in a way as well as adding interest to an article

. Although I’ve rarely paid any attention to examples of editorial illustrations so I decided to do some research to get more of an idea as to how imagery works for this particular purpose.

I chose to start by looking at the work of Olimpia Zagnoli, who is known for collaborating with the New York Times. I really like her work visually because of the bright bold colours she uses that make the image really stand out and glamorise the article it accompanies. The image below depicts the heart of the article being about “a woman who liked reality better without glasses”. The image is quirky and fun and just has slight reference to the article itself which made me see that editorial illustration isn’t always about being too deep in terms of meaning in order to generate an image.

Doing more browsing and seeing what types of illustrations can be for editorial purposes, I was intrigued to see that they don’t necessarily have to be flat, drawn images but rather sculpted three dimensional compositions that have been photographed like the example below by Helen Musselwhite. Her clever use of paper cutting different paper types and composition are really effective at illustrating and communicating quite uniquely.

I was also quite drawn to the aesthetic of simple editorial illustrations which is why I looked to Anna Wray’s work( pictured below), something she does a lot of. This particular illustration was for The Covent Gardener magazine and I think colour consideration here works well, meaning the image is clear, crisp and easy to understand. I also like the quirkiness of the style in which she draws people which I’m sure definitely draws attention to the article it accompanied.


Looking at these very different examples makes me think about the way in which I can consider approaching editorial illustration in terms of style and technique and how to attach meaning to accompany the article it’s with as well as helping see how important it is to consider colour.


Featured image: http://olimpiazagnoli.com/OlimpiaZagnoli_Internazionale07



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