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Exercise 1: The history of illustration.

Exercise one: the history of illustration wanted me to explore how illustration has evolved over the past 50 years and it required me to choose between six artists to be able to do this. So after looking at each person I decide to choose E H Shephard. He was the illustrator known for winni the poo and as I love children’s illustration I wanted to find out more about his work. I researched various websites for creditable information about this artist but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any book research so I had to rely on the website research alone.

Here you can see a screenshot of the info I was able to find about E H Shephard.

To summarise the research I will list them as bullet points.

  • Born December 1879 in London, UK.
  • Family encouraged him to become an artist.
  • Submitted his work to Punch multiple times.
  • Around in war times, still drew illustrations of his surroundings.
  • Graduated art school.
  • Inimitable, scratchy style perfect for animal illustration.
  • Worked using pencil and ink on watercolour paper. Didn’t colour artwork until later on in life.
  • Died in 1976 in the 50th year of winni the poo.

Also here is a close up of the picture I was able to find about the process that E H Shephard took when creating his illustrations.

For my contemporary illustrator I decided to research one of my favourite artists of all time Hayao Miyazaki who is famous for being a Japanese director, animator, and manga artist at Studio Ghibli. Again I was unable to get my hands on any books for research purposes but I was able to find creditable websites that I could gain research from.

Here is another screenshot showing the information I found.

To summarise the research I will list them as bullet points.

  • Born January 1941 in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Father took him to see movies at the cinema which inspired him.
  • Colour plays an important role in his art and movies.
  • Classed as one of the greatest film makers of our time.
  • Created a company called studio ghibli.
  • Uses pencil, ink and watercolour.
  • Prefers for his films and artwork to speak for him instead of interviews.
  • Works and lives in Tokyo.
  • Wants his work to be watched once a year so that watching them becomes a memory to be treasured.

This image gives an idea on how Hayao Miyazaki produces his work.

Explore and identify the differences in style, context, production and imagery between the two illustrators.

Even though both E H Shepard and Hayao Miyazaki decided to use the same materials for their illustrations, the difference between each of their styles is very clear to see. E H Shepard preferred to use pencil and ink in a very scratchy and loose art style which made it appear very simple. He liked to use cross hatching and lines to shade his illustrations and didn’t use watercolour on his art until the later years of his life. Hayao Miyazaki also loves to use pencil and ink for his art style but his artwork is more child friendly due to its cute, anime features. His use of watercolour gives his art a whimsical feel with the colours helping to tell the story which he loves to do. E H Shepard's art style seemed to be effected by many things for example he was born in 1879 so he grew up in the early 1900’s, he was born in the UK and he also served at war which would have all had a part in his art. Hayao Miyazaki was born later in 1941, in Japan so he lives in a different country with a completely didn’t outlook on life and art and he has gone though different experiences with a more modern theme than E H Shepard did. Also the illustrations created by both artists were done for different reasons. E H Shepard was illustrating winni the poo on behalf of Milne so in theory the artwork would not have a personal feel but Shepard could at least understand the attachment of the characters which I think helped. Hayao Miyazaki on the other hand illustrates for the films that he created which would give a more personal feel to the art, it is his dream work. The last point I would like to put a cross is that both artists use their illustrations to tell a story, Shepard tells a story with his art before televisions were created and Miyazaki is using his art for films so in a way they are both the same but completely different.


Did the work of the illustrator that you chose from the list seem old fashioned? If so what was it that made it seem so?

E H Shepard’s work did seem old fashioned to me due to his use of free flowing strokes and simple line work. Even when he added watercolour to his drawings later on in life the colours matched the simplicity of his work by only using simple colouring without detailed shading.


 What was it about the work of the contemporary artist that attracted you to their work?

I have always been attracted to Hayao Miyazaki’s work from the moment I watched one of his movies Ponyo which is still my favourite movie to this day. His use of colour and style helps portrays complex and meaningful stories for people of all ages that stick in your memory and make you want to experience the movies countless times. Miyazaki’s style combines soft and painterly backgrounds with more simplified yet expressive characters which is the perfect combination for Japanese animation and artwork.


 How did each artist produce their illustrations – what tools and materials did they use?

E H Shepard started by sketching his illustrations in pencil often on smooth art board or watercolour paper. If he was satisfied with the initial sketch he would then go on to tracing his pencil work with ink, he rarely used solid blacks as he preferred to use cross-hatched lines and fine line. However it wasn’t until the 1970’s that Shepard started adding colour to his original line work using watercolour.

Hayao Miyazaki uses pencil to create a sketch of the idea he has in mind and he creates these pieces of art in a sketchbook. He then inks the illustration and removes any pencil lines he doesn’t want remaining in the artwork. Finally he adds colour using watercolour and a paint brush.


Now it was time to draw an illustration in each of the artists styles about a similar subject and using similar media. I started off by creating some thumbnails of the idea I had which was of a little girl spending time with her best friend teddy bear. After deciding on thumbnail 3 I took that drawing and drew the same pose twice but instead of doing it in my style again I redid it in both E H Shepard’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s art styles. Once the initial sketches were done I proceeded to use my light box to transfer the images on to an A4 piece of watercolour paper which I had divided into two A5 sections as I prefer to work in this size. I traced over my own lines using a mechanical pencil and eraser, once I had finished I needed to add the finishing touches which made the two pieces different. For the E H Shepard piece I used a fine liner to ink the lines how the artist did in his own work. For Hayao Miyazaki’s piece I needed to use my fine liner to ink the lines and then I used my watercolour brush pens to add colour to the artwork. You can see the thumbnails, final traditional pieces of art and the materials used below.


To say this was my first exercise of my course I found it to be quite difficult for me to get my head around it. I have my own way of drawing and “style” so when I am asked to draw a piece of art in two other artists styles I struggled with it. I don’t think I did their art styles justice as they are both amazing artists but I hope I at least showed the differences and similarities in their art. I found researching two websites per day was easier for me than trying to do the research all at the same time as it meant I was not overloaded with information and could select the most important parts better by doing it this way. As my main media is digital art at the moment I don’t feel like my final pieces for this exercise were of good quality but they were the best I could do with the skills I currently have. I wasn't ready to use my watercolour paints but I did have some watercolour brush pens which I used instead but it still gave me the same outcome. I do need to improve on my traditional media and by doing personal projects with pencil, ink and watercolour I hope I can achieve this during my degree. I did find it very interesting researching about both artists as it is fascinating to see where their styles came from, how their styles grew and how the era they were born in effected how they drew. Hayao Miyazaki’s is a great inspiration to me so I felt like I learnt more about his background than I already knew which I feel will help me in future projects as well so l’m super happy about that. The research and the thumbnails definitely helped me save time when creating the art for this exercise and I will be making sure to use thumbnails in my own work as I have learnt they are a very valuable tool to have. I also liked using the thumbnails as you can see the thought process that went into making the artwork.

Posted by Sarah Cook on 07 June 2019 16:28

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