Major Project Idea

The idea for the final major project for my MA follows on from everything I have learnt and developed throughout the course. Fitting for this is to continue with a clear robust project on reportage illustration. Also I am continuing this blog as a reflective journal. Starting from this initial post I aim to chart the various stages, developments, thought, ideas, methodologies and everything that influences my project. The idea is that this blog acts as a reflective diary recording my process.

Idea Generation from my notebook.

What I am planning to make:

For my major study project I plan to design and illustrate an artist book based on the theme of the flâneur walking through Dublin city center. The inspiration for this project comes from James Joyce’s map of Dublin. I chose this map because it depicts some of the most interesting areas of the North and South inner city.



The idea is to visually depict the contrasting urban spaces of south and north inner city life. The central idea of my project is to act as a witness to each scene. By this I mean to show a cross view point of the different social dynamics of south and north inner city Dublin spaces/territories. Mixing outside and insides view points. The focus of this project is to show a real depiction of what is happening in the everyday scenarios of city life.

In terms of layout, I have decided on the idea to make a six page front and back illustrated A3 size book. Each page will be A3 size and will open up concertina style. The pages in total can open out to form a large scale piece. Building on this idea the front of the book would show interior spaces while the reverse shows exterior spaces of the south and north inner city Dublin.

For example;

Interior: Cafes, work spaces, shopping area, indoor markets, various living spaces.

Exterior: Urban environments, park/woodland areas, building spaces, people active outdoors.

These are ideas at this stage, and the actual drawings may change depending on what I find in each location James Joyce’s map of Dublin. Keeping an element of surprise is vital otherwise everything gets too prescriptive!

This will be a non sequential illustrated narrative. This is of particular interest as it builds on areas I have investigated and researched in year one of this MA. The everyday theme is an area I want to continue to explore further in my major study project as it builds on everything I have learnt so far on this course through theoretical research and in my illustration practice and so my motivation for continuing this idea in my major study.

Initial Research:

In my research, I have discovered various papers about the flâneur. Baudelaire describes the flâneur as someone who wanders around the city with the purpose of experiencing it. Since then, the concept of the flâneur has been used as a tool to help understand urban phenomena and modernity, in economic, cultural and historical terms. Walter Benjamin refers to the flâneur as a product of modern life, an asphalt botanist, and defines the city as the sacred ground of flânerie. (

On researching the flânure in an Irish setting I found an extensive amount on photography. For example the Photo Ireland Festival, Flâneur By Dublin that displayed two contemporary photographers’ work of Dublin streets in a series of large cubes in the city center.

Flâneur By Dublin is part of a larger project called Flâneur – New Urban Narratives. This is a new, European Union funded, 2 year long project, transforming photographers into flâneurs and requesting them to apply a new approach to their work within the urban territory. ( It would be interesting to find out how illutrators would respond to this brief.

These examples are relevant to my major study enquiry and can also be applied to the role of a reportage illustrator or illustrator as reporter. Susan Sontag’s description of the photographer can also describe the role of an illustrator in this instance, the photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world ‘picturesque.’ (1977, On Photography, p.55).

The next stage now is to follow Joyce’s map! Photos and location drawings. A little adventure in Dublin city!

Location Photos

These are a selection of location photos of Dublin I took on my travel around the city center.  This was helpful in catching a snap shot image of each scene which was useful in framing my drawings and making collages so I could rearrange the composition.



Sontag, S. (1977) On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus an Giroux. 


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