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The itinerant illustration: Creating storyworlds in the reader’s space

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This paper explores the storytelling potential of direct address within illustration as moments where fictional characters look out from their still-image worlds, whether picture-book, graphic novel or comic, into ours. It will consider the possibility of creating fictional worlds by employing direct address to generate narrative in the real time and space of the reader/viewer. This approach parallels Brecht’s idea of ‘showing showing’, where his actors break through the ‘fourth wall’: the audience constantly aware they are watching a play; the structure of their experience laid bare. It will explore showing showing, from an illustration perspective, where the reader/viewer of the sequence of illustrations is not only aware that they are being watched by that which they are watching, but to propose that it is possible to construct a story in the reader’s space.
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Keywords: closure; direct-address; meta-narrative; picture-books; sequential illustration; storytelling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Falmouth University

Publication date: 01 December 2015

More about this publication?
  • Illustration is a rapidly evolving field with an excitingly broad scope. Despite its cultural significance and rich history, illustration has rarely been subject to deep academic scrutiny. The Journal of Illustration provides an international forum for scholarly research and investigation of a range of cultural, political, philosophical, historical, and contemporary issues, in relation to illustration. The journal encourages new critical writing on illustration, associated visual communication, and the role of the illustrator as visualizer, thinker, and facilitator, within a wide variety of disciplines and professional contexts.

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