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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Annabelle Hartmann

My research interests include:
Illustration as a contemporary narrative art form; illustration communicating an individual personal voice; imaginary visual worlds; the close observation of the surrounding urban environment; the combination and comparison of well-known and innovative methods of imagemaking.

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Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - As big as a Mountain
My fascination and research into character driven storytelling resulted in this children’s picture book, of which I am both the author and illustrator.
The book creates an imaginary world for the young reader to join in, by introducing the main character, Little Prince Carl, but also appeals to adults by evoking memories of early childhood experiences. The narrative unfolds over twelve full double-spread illustrations with text.
Although most children’s picture books use only a maximum of 2000 words, the challenge was to write a short story that leaves considerable "space" for my imagination to be expressed through the imagery without becoming too basic. The illustrations as a result complete the story, with the pictorial elements taking on the vital role of communicating the visual context.


Outcome 2 - Urban Character and other stories
My research into storytelling continued by focussing further on imagery, but this time as the only means to communicate a narrative. I investigated the snap-shot as a form of storytelling by introducing a range of illustrated urban characters in combination with photographic backgrounds. These urban scenes contained a number of seemingly random pictorial "clues" to be picked up by the viewer and to be constructed into an ambiguous narrative of their own interpretation.
The urban characters gave the illustrations their focus, as although they depicted random people, they are essentially constructed from a sum of actual visual observations of people in everyday life.


Outcome 3 - Jennifer Appleby (in On the Edge)
As a freelance illustrator I am often commissioned to produce illustrations for educational publishing. This basically means creating imagery to accompany another author’s story. Commissions are often structured around a detailed brief with particular requirements for illustrative imagery. In order to fulfil the brief I have to adhere to a set of instructions given by the editor or designer and operate within these restrictions.
My individual goal as an imaginative illustrator then consists of interpreting these "rules" through my own visual language and offering more than just a straight translation of the given text. Working with other peoples’ texts is a considerable challenge, as I not only have to visualise their imagination to develop specific characters and scenes, but also expand the written text by adding my own visual interpretation.


Outcome 4 - Eskimo
I have designed a limited edition toy - the Eskimo Qee, as a further development of my research into characters as a carrier to deliver narratives. This project forced me to apply predominantly two-dimensional techniques to a three-dimensional object with movable parts. The toy itself had to tell the entire "story" without the luxury of a mood-setting background.
The design was connected to a competition involving the customisation of a three-dimensional 2" plastic toy of five different base shapes. My focus was to re-interpret the existing plain object as an illustrated character, rather than decorating the surface with a graphic pattern.
After experimenting with five different figurative designs and subsequently submitting these, the Eskimo design was selected as a winning design and included in the UK Designers Edition series of toys produced in China and distributed worldwide.


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