Mapping experience in reportage drawing | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2052-0204
  • E-ISSN:



Reportage drawing is a revelatory act that combines the challenges of quick, gestural drawing with a level of accuracy in the depiction of people and places. Add to that the complications of working in sometimes hostile or, at the very least, less than ideal environments and you have a highly unique drawing act. Reportage drawing, through its quick execution necessitated by environmental flux and other conditions, also provides a window into the genesis of the drawing. The momentary, intuitive process fluctuates between the observed, the imagined and the remembered. Looking at the way in which the drawing is rooted to the in situ experience and notions of place, artists engage in reportage drawing in highly individual ways, balancing intent with the demands of observation in fluid environments. Experience here is twofold: the experience of negotiating the location and the experience of drawing itself. Through interviews conducted with reportage artists Jill Gibbon, Gary Embury as well as my own work and reflections, the aims and intentions of the artists will be compared and contrasted, and tensions between the journalistic and social commentary aims will be explored through individual practice. Jill Gibbon’s practice and research looks at the potential in reportage drawing for political, even radical, expression. Her War Mart work is explored here, which clearly reveals her reportage process, secretly drawing at an arms trading event in London and creating evocative commentary through her hurried, immediate drawings. Gary Embury is the editor of the Reportager website, which provides a crucial platform for contemporary reportage practice. His work is characterized by raw observation and his declared aims for his work are journalistic. This work has great immediacy and reveals the simultaneity between observation and action in drawing. Through a narrative of the experience creating their work in differing environments, the work will be seen as the summation of experience and the complex intentions and self-imposed limitations of the artists, contributing to an intimate look at contemporary reportage practice.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): drawing; experience; in situ; observation; place; reportage drawing
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