Design Patterns or Illustration Devices



  • @davidhohn or @Lee-White I was wondering if you either of you knows of a resource presenting "Design Patterns" for illustration?

    In my previous career (software architecture) one of the things we used was "Design Patterns". These were basic ideas that could be used in different pieces of software. For example, a data structure using the First In/ First Out principle vs. First In/Last Out mechanism.

    Really design patterns were ways to solve common problems. In writing, I have found these called Literary Devices, such as Simile or Juxpostion. There are many resources available that discuss literary devices.

    In particular, I was looking for common ways illustrators deal with "The Passage of Time" which I know happens in many books. I didn't find any resources on the subject.

    Any thoughts from anyone on where to get this kind of reference would be helpful.

    Books, websites, blogs, anything would be helpful.


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @theprairiefox That's a really good question!
    I get what you are asking about. Like using images with a yellow-brown cast to quickly communicate "olden times", or a shape with curved edges positioned above a character's head to mean "thinking"

    I'm not aware of any books on the subject. I have created class resources that touch on it, but nothing specifically for "passage of time" or anything quite so specific.

    Doesn't mean that it doesn't exist though. I'll be interested to read if others are aware of something like this. And it would be pretty interesting to create!


  • Pro

    @theprairiefox I don't have a particular text or resource to recommend, but one pattern I've seen often used for the passage of time is sequencing. Showing the same thing/character/scene several times in succession, showing the differences. For instance, the same shot of a flower bud, that then blooms into a flower, that then withers and dies. Or the same scene of a person visiting a grave at different stages in the lives: young, middle-aged, old with a cane, etc. The sequence of repetition helps the viewer/reader associate that it is the same thing or person, and the differences communicate the passage of time. Of course there are many other ways to do it but this is a recurring pattern that works very well. If I had to tell the story of a woman who lost her husband then 30 years pass before the next part of the story, I'd show the widow crying over the picture of her husband, then show a sequence of several illustrations of her hand holding the photo with the text "I never forgot him" and in each illustration, her hand looks older and more wrinkled.


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    I was reminded of a resource that I came across recently. It was a kind of formal taxonomy of narratives which, while not unfamiliar from reading stories all my life, will make you sound super smart at your next picture book cocktail party:

    https://www.slaphappylarry.com/progressive-narrative-art/

    And it also touches on your initial question of showing the passage of time. Scroll down to "Progressive Narrative".



  • @davidhohn that is an example of what I was thinking.

    I have quite a few illustration books and have done a lot of the classes at SVS and not had anyone really touch on this idea. I don't even have a good name for it. I have tried googling things like 'Illustration Devices' and 'Illustration Design Patterns' and don't get anything like what I am looking for.

    I was hoping maybe one of you had a better name for what I am looking for...

    We will see what everyone else comes up with.



  • @davidhohn Thanks for the reference. That will help with this particular problem I am working on. It provides me a few different insights into other approaches.

    I was leaning heavily in my mind toward something 'Sequential' with frames, but this gives me a few other ideas to try in thumbnailing.


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