Varoom 32 – The New Canon

Academically, illustration is a relatively new field, an in-between discipline that emerged out of the gaps between fine art and graphic design. Traditionally it has looked to these sources as some measure of its practice.

But in 2016 it’s time to ask whether we need to set down a new canon, a body of individuals who will deliver lessons and models for how illustrators might engage with the world.

Salu 2

So who are the people, the works that need to be part of the new canon of illustration? What is it that illustration needs to become? Varoom 32 asked the leading thinkers and makers of illustration below to identify 5 key works that we need to learn from, to get a sense of what illustration can do in the 21st Century.

Michael Salu – Former creative director of Granta Publications, now runs multidisciplinary creative agency SALU,  producing creative ideas across digital, film and print, and one of three partners of the visual culture online magazine American Suburb X. His recent TED talk, Should we celebrate the Image Society? can be seen here

Caroline Roberts – Journalist, with a focus on graphic arts, Roberts is a founder of Grafik, the contemporary graphic design magazine/website, and co-author of Fifty Years of Illustration.

Catrin Morgan – Lecturer in Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University. Morgan’s work is heavily based on research and the relationship between fact and fiction. Works includes Phantom Settlements, a collaborative project with illustrator Mireille Fauchon, and illustrations for Ben Marcus’ The Age of Wire and String.

Lars Denicke – Co-founder of Pictoplasma, a Berlin based festival showcasing the latest trends in character design, Denicke is also writer and co-author of Pictoplasma: Character Portraits with Peter Thaler.


Sinead Evans – Contributing editor at Studio Operative, publishers of Limner Journal, a bi-annual critical journal of illustration. Chair of Falmouth Illustration Forum 2016 on 18 March.

Casey Jarman – Contributing Editor to The Believer magazine, Co-founder Party Damage Records. Author of Death: An Oral History, to be released October 2016, published by Zest Books.

Lawrence Zeegen – Author of numerous published books on the subject of illustration, including Fifty Years of Contemporary Illustration in 2014 and Ladybird by Design in 2015. Zeegan also co-curated  Ladybird by Design, a touring exhibition from De La Warr Pavilion, with DLWP Head of Exhibitions, Jane Won. Zeegen is currently Dean of Design at Ravensbourne.

See the whole article in Varoom 32 –  The New

14th March 2016

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