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September 9, 2010 / margikimball

Defining Editorial Illustration

For our next assignment, we’ll be developing editorial illustrations to accompany a chosen text. So what’s an editorial illustration? This type of work has a deep history in political satire, especially. (Just Google “political cartoons” to see what’s been and being done.) Editorial illustration, though, extends beyond the world of politics. Every day, newspapers and magazines print illustrations alongside their articles to illuminate some element of the concepts for the reader. Here are recent examples.

Joe Ciardiello, for the New York Times

Joe Ciardiello, for the New York Times

Roz Chast, for the New Yorker

Barry Blitt

Fernanda Cohen

Jules Feiffer, Nixon as Impersonator

Ralph Steadman

These examples are limited basically to pen and ink (though we won’t use color here) and exemplify the illustration of some concept. Essentially, an editorial illustration accompanies some kind of text. Put another way, the illustration illuminates some component of the text that we either do or don’t see in the article.

For our assignment, everyone will choose an article interesting to them in some way from a reputable source and develop an illustration surrounding the text.

To help you analyze your own piece, here’s a document with a series of helpful questions. (Source: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.) This particular set of questions focuses on political pieces, but see how they can apply to your own work.

Here’s another set of analytical criteria, this one from the government and referring (condescendingly?!) to “cartoons.” Tsk. But nonetheless potentially useful.


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