Looking back over my research blog it is interesting to see how it has developed from the starting point to the final image and how this enquiry has informed my practice. Overall I can see that my work is very much practice led research. I started with a general idea about my research theme ‘the everyday’ to a more refined approach of exploring the theme ‘reportage illustration’.
In order to establish a real understanding of this theme I used various methods that supported this investigation. These included visual work in notebooks, personal notes and gathering information about how other illustrators work with the everyday theme. However at this stage I needed to generate a better appreciation of what the everyday really represented. To do this I established clear aims and objectives that really helped to focus the direction of my work and mark out the important aspects of this project. Pivotal in this process was Alan Male’s book, Illustration: a Theoretical & Contextual Perspective. This book outlines the importance of developing the brief by defining the rational, the aim and the objectives. I learnt to approach the research in an organised manner and clarified what I wanted to investigate.
Leaning about the different cultural theorists ideas about the theme of the everyday was exciting and offered new ways of looking at my work. This discovery of different approaches to the theme of the everyday certainly helped to view my work from another perspective and helped inform a more meaningful in dept understanding of what I was drawing. This supported a practice led approach to develop new work not ventured before.
In fact I found myself drawn to learn more about the different theoretical perspectives about my research theme and how this is relevant to my own practice. It helped solidify my decision on the theme of the everyday by drawing my own everyday world. I could start here in my studio, my home and draw in situ.
This helped change my approach to the research and explore the field of reportage illustration. In hindsight I can see that I work in a linear fashion gathering broad general information and narrowing this down to explore certain aspects. Methods used in this process are a mix of practical notebook work, reading related information, watching films based on this theme and related articles. It was a new find to see the connections between theoretical research and practical work. From this I learnt that the key feature of my work is social commentary or a personal visual description.
The concept of illustration as a visual essay certainly informed my research enquiry and ideas for future projects. Considering this idea and the various research methods I used it is appropriate to situate this practice led research within the context of a phenomenological framework. This theoretical point of view advocates the study of direct experience of the individual (Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. 2013, p.18).
The key features underpinning this practice led research is the relationship between experience and its interpretation through the process of drawing. From this I realised that my illustration practice is concerned with learning about the world and its objects and visually communicating that experience through new exciting work.
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Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. 2013, Research Methods in Education, 7th edn, Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.