Research Task 3.2: Reporting and Documenting

For my research task I was asked to read the articles below and reflect on the visual reporting of war.  

Edward Ardizzone 

When reading the article about Ardizzone I found it interesting that as an artist who sold 3 children’s books (pre-war) continues his numerous and comical attitude when illustrating war scenes, even to the point of critics saying he was ‘taking the war too lightly’ (Powers, 2017). I find it bazaar that this man was involved in Dunkirk and saw numerous corpses but still was able to keep a cheerful and enthusiastic attitude. When looking at his illustrations for children’s books and comparing them to his reportage illustrations of war, you can see alot of similarities even thought the context is (of course) very different, for instance looking at ‘Baggage to the Enemy’(Ardizzone, 1941) there is alot of colour used and a man is smiling in the lower right corner, he also gives the soldiers a bright rose complexion which he does alot in his children’s book illustrations for instance in ‘Tim all Alone’ (Ardizzone, 1936). 

Ardizzone, E., 1941. Baggage to the Enemy.

Ardizzone, E., 1936. Tim All Alone. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Olivier Kugler

As described in the article Olivier uses a ‘camera, digital voice recorder, sketchbook, pencil, scanner and laptop’ (Walters, 2017) when creating his reportage illustrations, I find this to be an interesting and smart technique that he uses as he can look back and refer to the photos and interviews that took when he is working back in the studio as explained later on in the article, ‘While he is with his subjects, Kugler rarely sketches; he is keen to note everything they say and do, to take in every detail of their faces, clothes and surroundings with his eyes and his camera. Later on, in the quiet of his studio, he will fill an A2 pad with pencil drawings of the encounter’ (Walters, 2017). I find it interesting that he writes out notes or things people had said during interview and actually adds them to his work. When looking back at Ardizzone’s work and trying to pick up if there any similarities with Olivier’s I noticed that they both include the view/landscape/background in their illustrations and both are detailed.

Kugler, O., 2016. Bearing Witness

When I also compare the two illustrators I notice the mediums they both use are very different (obviously). Olivier creates his work using technology/digital tablets to both line and colour his work but Ardizzone uses traditional media (e.g. paint and pencil) but their use of colour is very similar.

Didier Lefèvre, Emmanuel Guibert and Frédéric Lemercier

The last article shows a ‘three-way collaboration between the late French photographer Didier Lefèvre, graphic novelist Emmanuel Guibert and graphic designer Frédéric Lemercier’ (Poynor, 2009). This for me seems like the most interesting out of all three articles as the use of media is so diverse, there are no boundaries! Is nice to see photography, graphic design, a novel and illustration in the same space. I think the use of photography is so important when documenting something as powerful and traumatic as war, as you cannot hide anything in the image nor can the image be misleading, with illustration you can choose what you want to depict or not, with photography it is fully uncensored. The mixture all on one page is so interesting as seen in Le Photographe (Guibert, Lefèvre and Lemercier, 2010)

It’s laid out in almost a comic format or graphic novel apart from the fact it is not fictional but reality! I can imagine children and young people finding reading books like these interesting because of the use of mixed media.

Overall I found this research task interesting as I found out how so many different types of illustration can come from the reportage of war and how all of the three artists have created war-related artwork even though the time and date of each artist’s work is so different to one another.


Powers, A., 2017. Eye Magazine | Feature | Ardizzone at peace and in conflict. [online] Available at:

Ardizzone, E., 1941. Baggage to the Enemy.

Ardizzone, E., 1936. Tim All Alone. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Walters, J., 2017. Eye Magazine | Feature | Olivier Kugler: bearing witness. [online] Available at:

Kugler, O., 2016. Bearing Witness

Poynor, R., 2009. Eye Magazine | Opinion | Framing the evidence of war. [online] Available at:

Guibert, E., Lefèvre, D. and Lemercier, F., 2010. Le Photographe. Editions Dupuis.

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