The development of illustration has a long history. The world’s oldest illustration cave painting 40,000 years ago to today’s mainstream art demonstrate the development of illustrations. Illustration was first developed in the early 19th century with the changes in newspapers and magazines, and its true golden age was first started in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. The artists who drew the illustrations were mostly professional painters. The definition of traditional illustration in dictionary is “Illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, magazines, books and soon.” Influenced by the abstract expressionism, illustration changed from figuration to abstraction. In the 1970s, illustration returned to the realistic style. The emergence of pop art has greatly promoted and changed the development of illustration.Order now
Pop art is an art movement that explores the connection between popular culture and art. It started in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid to late 1950s. It reflects the maverick of a new generation of young people who grew up after World War II, and their pursuing self, spirituality, performance, novelty, exaggeration, and grotesque ideology.
Richard Hamilton is considered as the father of pop art. He was a painter and collage artist in England. His work named “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” is widely considered as the first pop art. This art work is a Pop style collage that Hamilton created in 1965. Although the artist is British, this work is full of fashionable cultural elements of the United States at that time. This apartment room has modern style. The naked man who is holding a lollipop is Irvin “Zabo” Koszewski, and he was the winner of Mr LA in 1954. This photograph is from the magazine named Tomorrow’s man in the same year.
There are a lot of elements in this collage. There is a tape recorder on the wooden floor, a TV in front of the bed with a modern girl’s image, some fruits on the TV, a ham’s box on the table with two cups of coffee, a comic cover on the wall, and a Ford badge on the left side’s table lamp. In addition, there is a vacuum cleaner advertisement and the big screen on the left side of the screen show the ‘Jazz Singer’ starring American singer El Jossen, which are manufactured in America. Those different elements within the illustration represent pop culture. Why were the families of the UK using productions made in America, and watching American movies? America, in the Second World War, earned a lot of money by selling weapons, and became the leader of the world. At that time, British people could not be separated from the United States.
Fig. 1. Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? 1956, Painting, 10 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. Kunsthalle Tubingen. Tubingen, Germany. Available from: SCAD Digital Image Database, https://did.scad.edu (accessed November 2, 2018).
Fig. 2. Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, 1967, Painting, 80.88 in × 114.00 in.National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Available from: SCAD Digital Image Database, https://did.scad.edu (accessed November 2, 2018).
Andy Warhol is another famous pop artist in this period. He is an advocate and leader of Pop Art and has the greatest influence on pop art. He boldly tried various copying techniques such as letterpress printing, rubber or wood rubbing, gold foil technology, and photo projection.
Marilyn Monroe is the representative work of Andy Warhol. In this work, Warhol uses the screen-printing process to use Marilyn Monroe’s stills in the movie Niagara as a material to be copied 50 times into a huge painting. In 1962, a few weeks after the death of Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol began the creation of the Marilyn Monroe series. He said: “In August ’62 I started doing silkscreens. I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly line effect. With silk screening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk, and then roll ink across it so the ink goes through the silk but not through the glue. That way you get the same image, slightly different each time. It was all so simple quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it. When Marilyn Monroe happened to die that month, I got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face the first Marilyn.” From this art, we can see that half of the image is colored and the other part is black and white. For the colored part, he used yellow, orange, pink and green. Those colors are very bright and vivid, like she is still alive. That is the power of color, and his unique way of using color influences a lot of artist nowadays. But the other part is inanimate and depth of black and white color is different, some parts are very deep, and some places are very shallow, like printing out, which resemble her picture of deceased, and her bad experiences. This work is like a connection between Monroe’s life and death.
Before the emergence of pop art, the traditional definition of illustration was that an illustration had to combine with text and explain text. It has a clear target customer. In that era, the status of illustration was very low, and many people did not think it was mainstream art. It similar to the editorial illustration in today.
Traditional illustrations are designed on the basis of a text, such as an illustration by the illustrator Bill Mayer referred on the article named War Against Ourselves in Scientific American, and this article is about many new drugs trigger an immune reaction that cripples them, and the race is on to thwart the attack. In this work, the illustrator did not paint a drug war without much creativity, but through two birds competing for pills, or one bird feeds the other bird the pill. He did not draw human beings, because it is easy to be read as racial discrimination. The mouths of the two birds are very sharp, and smilingly easy to hurt each other, one of the birds do not have eye, which resemble the side effect of the drug. Compared with their color, the healthy one is brighter than the other bird, and looks more active. They are very similar to the injurers and victims in this event, and very meaningful. In the background, everything is lifeless, it seems very desolate, and it reflects the world after the war. In terms of color, he did not use some very bright colors, but used some colors with low saturation. By using this illustration in this magazine, viewers can know the bad impact of this drug, which is easy to explain the main idea of this article.
The main purpose of traditional illustration is to tell the article’s stories by using illustrations. In addition, illustrator tried their best to draw the illustration detailed and perfect, and used color very careful, everything in an illustration is similar to their original color.
Fig. 3. Bill Mayer, War Against Ourselves, 2018, Digital drawing,
Now, illustration is a popular art form in this world. People can see illustration in lots of places, for example, people can see it on card, on website, even on the packaging of productions. Many modern illustrations can get rid of the phenomenon that words dominate without any text. Besides, it has independent performance, and many illustrators can express their subjective understanding and aesthetic concept of anything. Illustrators become the leaders of their art.
At that time, many illustrators still like the style and the design ways of pop art, they try to learn from it. Pop art influences many illustrations in many areas, like composition, color, design method and so on. Besides it made the creation of illustrations broader, with more material and more expressions.
Most pop art is designed to refer to the community and the popular culture at that period, which is a good way to attract the viewers who is interested in modern things and record this history. Besides, the artist used collage, copying and embezzle usually, which gave an idea to illustrators about the method to create. Those methods are easy to learn for many artists who could not draw very well but have a lot of crazy ideas. That is the pop art star—Andy Warhol tried to tell people: Everyone can be the artist. The color of pop art is very pure and colorful, which can give a big impression to the viewers. Bright color gives people a happy mood when they see them. Using pop art style illustration in many commercial brands can help itself and the illustrators to be memorized in limited time. Pop art style illustrators do not need to draw every parts of their works in detail and perfect. Using color blocks to express their ideas is the feature of pop art.
There are many popular illustrators in today that have been influenced by pop art. Sara Andreasson is an example. She is a new feminist defender. The 30-year-old Swedish illustrator showed her views on the world in a slightly humorous and colorful way, which attracted people to pay attention to some important topics. Her depiction of women broke the routine. In her paintings, the female body is as strong as a sculpture, and the scenes depicted are also brilliant. For example, the woman she depicted did not deliberately scrape the armpit hair, and at the corner, there are tow women fall in love with each other (Figure 4), which implied the feminist meaning, because they do not care what the public will think about them. The little girls in figure 5 were smoking, and wearing thin casual clothes. By portraying these non-traditional women, Sara Andreasson raises questions about today’s social perceptions and the definition of beauty. This surprising and even explosive trend of thought is undoubtedly a shock to the standards that are now in this society. Because at that time, those kinds of girls are not beautiful in many people’s eyes. The color of her works is very strong and not the normal color that we can see in daily life. She used pink, yellow, and brown to drew people’s face, and those colors are highly saturated, which makes her art have pop-art style. She did not draw the light in her illustrations, just highlight the girls’ bodies. There are not many details in the illustrations, but gives people a relaxing feeling. The backgrounds of those images are not very observing,
Fig. 4. Sara Andreasson, White Noise 2015, Digital Drawing.
Fig. 5. Sara Andreasson, White Noise 2015, Digital drawing.
To conclude, pop-art has a big impact on illustration and that makes illustration develop more diverse. Before, illustration is drawn to illustrate on an article, but after the campaign of pop-art, many illustrators try to express their ideas and the thing they pay attention by drawing.