This book explores the way in which reportage art has turned into visual journalism. Reportage illustration reveals layers of cities cultural, social and political compositions through recordings of real events and situations. It is a form of art that is applied to things of significance happening in the world. As well as sketching the settings, the artist is also expected to capture a story through visual language. Reportage illustration is most commonly used in courtrooms, social events, news reports or documentaries. It differs from photography, because a reportage illustrator will directly transfer his thoughts into the pictures surface, allowing the artist to be selective about what they choose to portray.
Once I picked up this book it almost immediately inspired me to go straight out and start sketching live events as practice. My aim was to practice the skills that are required to be able to draw at a mass participation event. I started this off by sketching on buses, in cafés and other public places. I then went to a live music event in Shoreditch, as well as attending a protest in Oxford Street. The things I considered before I went are listed below:
- Am I drawing in my sketchbook or bringing a drawing board with loose / rolled paper?
- Consider using coloured paper
- What media will I be drawing with? Wet or dry?
- Using ink or watercolour could be a better way to capture active and fleeting moments
- Will I be working in low light?
- Have I worked out where the best position is to draw?
- What do I want to achieve at this event?
Going out and actually starting to capture the events has definitely helped within my practice of work. I had the chance to practice drawing in a busy environment, but I was also learning to investigate current issues, locations and subjects in a journalistic way. As Jenny Soep recommends, it is useful to “…draw every day. No matter what you draw, it will keep up the hand-eye coordination useful for spontaneous documentation.” Although I found it difficult to start with, in terms of finding a suitable place to sketch, being able to use all my materials and actually trying to create good work, I feel that with more practice I will gain more confidence.