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Being there: The role of place in children’s picturebooks

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The depiction of place and environment can play a key role in predominately visual texts such as children’s picturebooks, sometimes taking on the status of a character in its own right. Representations of place, literal or implicit, provide the stage or backdrop on or before which the actors perform. The article examines this often unnoticed element of pictorial sequential design and its role in anchoring and propelling visual narrative. The article draws on Katherina Manolessou’s practice-based Ph.D. research and Professor Martin Salisbury’s experience as her supervisor, along with Professor Morag Styles of the University of Cambridge. The article identifies a range of approaches to scene-setting and explores different cultural traditions and approaches to the representation of space and environment, pictorial, schematic and implied. The focus of this article is primarily on process, on the making of a picturebook as distinct from being an analysis of the finished product.

Keywords: environment; illustration; picturebooks; practice-based research; sense of place; setting

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Anglia Ruskin University and University of Westminster 2: Anglia Ruskin University

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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