Assignment 6 – Critical review

The purpose of the assignment is to write a 2000 word critical review that links practice, research and theory so that I can position my own practice in a contemporary context.

The initial part of the assignment is part of PART 2 Visual approaches. The written assignment will run in parallel with the remaining exercises and tasks.

Draft proposal

Key words from the brief:

  • What subjects might you want to look at and what research questions are you interested in asking?
  • Mind-map all the possible areas and research questions
  • Link them to your own practice
  • Submit a draft proposal outlining your initial ideas about what subjects you want to look at and what kinds of questions you want to ask
  • Should be around 200 words and should also contain details of any books or other research material that has helped to inform your ideas

Generating ideas

The mindmap below captures all the pertinent practice and research questions derived from my previous critical review and from my reflections on the Visual exploration exercises completed co far.

It also contains current areas of interest or practice that could be used as platforms to build on.

Critical review mindmap – initial ideas


The following information summarises my thinking to date:

The key research question: How do I balance the need to retain a level of control over my working method in order to meet the specific objectives of a brief against the desire to lose control in order to be more spontaneous and expressive?

Draft approaches

These are very initial thoughts and subject to change and development.

Approach 1

Research the working practices of other illustrators in order to identify how they have answered this question including any techniques or processes that they use to generate ideas, create work or take risks.

In parallel with the coursework, take any lessons from this research into my own practice and document the experience and results.

The conclusion would be an evaluation of how these techniques shifted the balance of control and why I found these valuable (or not). Additionally, how I’ll use them going forward and any new areas for research.


  • Are there any theoretical texts that already deal with this topic that I could use to inform my work?
  • There must be a psychological angle/scientific basis for risk taking or the amount of risk someone feels comfortable with. Could look at techniques such as NLP.

Approach 2

Similar to Approach 1, but using the identification and application of experimental techniques in my own practice as the starting point followed by an assessment of how these techniques have been used by other illustrators.

Example of techniques/methods noted for possible investigation include:

  • Spatial translation (see 2.2 Visual dynamics)
  • Thirty three objects, thirty three ways (see 2.2 Visual dynamics)
  • Story cards (from Jessica Able and Matt Madden’s Drawing Words & Writing Pictures)
  • Story mapping cards (Fabula deck)
  • Intuiti Creative Cards

The list is by no means exhaustive and could probably be easily expanded on.

I like this option better because it would be more tailored to my situation and interests, but I don’t know how easy it would be to tie back specific techniques to different illustrators.

The conclusion would be the same as #1.




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