Reading Group: Friday 16th February 2024

A selection of book covers from the event.
Book covers from the event
  • illustration educators

Reading Group is a reoccurring format where members share and discuss resources used before, during and after teaching illustration. You are welcome to attend the next Reading Group, 17th of May at 1 pm CET (12 am GMT). Reading Group takes place on Zoom and lasts for about 1.5 hrs.

 Do you want to prepare and share something for our next event? Please let us know at

Books presented

  • Syllabus by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Qua rterly, 2014) link
  • Making Comics by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019) link
  • I Swear I Saw This: Drawings in Fieldwork Notebooks, Namely My Own by Michael Taussig (The University of Chicago Press, 2011) link
  • Materials Against Materiality by Tim Ingold (Cambridge University Press, 2007) link

The event

After a short introduction Sara Teleman talked briefly about graphic novelist, cartoonist and teacher Lynda Barry’s books Syllabus and Making Comics.

'I love Lynda Barry for her unwavering believe in everybody’s ability to write and draw – tell a story through comics. Barry’s books can be used at any level of education. I usually recommend them to students for one of the following three reasons:

1. The student has lost the joy of drawing and/or faith in comics.

2. The student doesn’t know what to draw about.

3. The student needs to practice observing the world outside their own head.

For number 3 I recommend the Daily Dairy exercise first introduced in Syllabus. There are other versions of the daily diary exercise in Making Comics. Here is a link to one of them, shared by Lynda Barry on her blog The Nearsighted Monkey.

Another use for the Daily Diary format is for students’ Degree Projects, to continuously document and reflect over the process, in words as well as drawings.'

Rachel Emily Taylor presented her resources, opening with a short reading from Michael Taussig’s I Swear I Saw This, a book about drawings in anthropological fieldwork notebooks. In the section that Rachel read aloud, Taussig remembers a couple in a freeway tunnel, doubting his observation, and drawing it afterwards:

'What is the difference between seeing and believing? I can write I Swear I Saw This as many times as I like, in red, green, yellow, and blue, but it won’t be enough. The drawing is more than a result of seeing. It is a seeing that doubts itself, and, beyond that, doubt the world of man. (…) This must be where witnessing separates itself from seeing, where witnessing becomes holy writ: mysterious, complicated, powerful. And necessary.’ (Taussig, 2001, p. 1-2). 

This discussion also led to a short reading from Tim Ingold’s Materials Against Materiality, where there is an activity in drawing a ‘wet stone’ (p. 32). In both extracts from anthropological texts, the themes touched on were related to observation, drawing, and time.

The presentations were followed by a lively conversation and a flood of resources was shared by the attendees.

Books (and other resources) discussed

You had to be there for context, but even without the discussion there is a lot to gather from this list of resources and concepts.

  • Joseph Dumit: Writing the Implosion: Teaching the World One Thing at a Time link
  • Wayne Koestenbaum: Figure It Out link
  • Georges Perec: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces link
  • James Elkin: The domain of images link
  • Neil Cohn: Who Understands Comics? Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension link
  • W.J.T. Mitchell: Picture Theory, Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation link
  • Ekphrasis link
  • Gianluca Gimini: Velocipedia link
  • Phil Carter (Carter Wong): 1057 (Howies, 2011) link
    Aphantasia link
  • Michael Taussig: I Swear I Saw This: Drawings in Fieldwork Notebooks, Namely My Own (The University of Chicago Press, 2011) link
  • Tim Ingold: Materials Against Materiality (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • K Allado McDowell link
  • Website that translates and dubs your lectures into other languages link
  • Midjourney link
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist: Ways of Curating (Penguin Books, 2015) link
  • Jonathan R Kasstan, Geoff Pearson and Victoria Brooks: Rethinking Research Ethics in the Humanities: Principles and Recommendations (University of Westminster, 2023) link
  • Rachel Gannon, Mireille Fauchon: Illustration Research Methods (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021) link
  • Catherine Anyango Grünewald link
  • Coloring In, issue 3: The Past link
  • Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London: The Cult of Beauty 26 October 2023 –28 April 2024 link
  • Ester McManus: Elsewhere (self-published, 2017?) link
  • Stéphanie Solinas: Dominique Lambert (Édition RVB Books, 2016) link

Members who attended event and contributing to this list of resources

  • Darryl Clifton
  • Brian Cairns
  • Miriam Elgon
  • Sara Feio
  • Lois Pawson
  • Jaleen Grove
  • Nina Carter
  • Philip Kennedy
  • Catrin Morgan
  • Katie Barlow
  • Karen J Sung
  • Samantha Kitchener
  • Louise Hung
  • Gero Grundman