The Illustration School, based in Porto (Portugal), is an international research and pedagogical platform that aims to investigate the expanded role of the illustrator as researcher, editor, publisher and working across media. Since it was founded in 2016, the school has been providing an environment to examine and explore a variety of different approaches to illustration and the construction of visual narratives, such as calligraphy, architecture, bookbinding, typography, food, collage, textile design, creative writing, printmaking and self-publishing.

With visual research at the centre of its ethos, the school invites various tutors from a diverse range of disciplines and countries, in relation to its multiple objects of study. From conferences, to workshops, seminars, field trips and debate, the courses function as residencies, with tutors adapting to the participants’ needs, education level and expertise. Since 2017, the school is based in the centre of Porto but aims to provide a decentralised education, making use of the city’s many resources and infrastructure.

The two weeks consisted of intensive workshops, seminars, lectures and visits to archives in Gaia, while covering a wide variety of approaches to illustration and focusing on method and visual research. The two weeks culminated in the co-production of a collective publication to have a public launch on the 15th of July of 2016.

The Illustration Summer School, based in Gaia (Portugal), aims to investigate the expanded role of the illustrator as researcher, editor, publisher and working across media. By proposing an environment to examine and explore a variety of different approaches to illustration and the construction of visual narratives – such as calligraphy, bookbinding, collage, textile design – this school provides two immersive weeks that put emphasis on method and visual research.

A Illustration Summer School, sediada em Gaia, procura explorar o ilustrador enquanto investigador, editor, publicador e trabalhando em vários suportes. Propondo um ambiente que permite examinar e explorar uma variedade de abordagens à ilustração e construção de narrativas visuais—tais como caligrafia, encadernação, colagem, design têxtil—esta escola proporciona duas semanas dando ênfase a método e investigação visual.

The two-week course will take place at the studio/school We Came From Space, in an historic building in the riverside of Vila Nova de Gaia, which is classified as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Having a large working area, the space in which the participants will develop their work—complemented by visits—has screenprint, letterpress and RISO workshops. WiFi is available throughout the building.

O curso de duas semanas decorrerá no estúdio/escola We Came From Space, num edifício histórico na zona ribeirinha de Vila Nova de Gaia, património cultural da humanidade classificado pela UNESCO. Dispondo de uma grande área de trabalho, o espaço onde os alunos desenvolverão a sua investigação—complementada por visitas—dispõem ainda de oficinas de serigrafia, letterpress e RISO. Internet estará disponível em todo o edifício.

Travelling to Gaia
Gaia is served by the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, in Porto. The Airport—with excellent connections to many European and international cities—has metro, allowing a direct connection to the school, as well as a constant interaction with the city of Porto. The Illustration Summer School is a 10-minute walk from the Jardim do Morro metro station. For journeys by train (from Lisbon), it is advised to visit the CP website for the “alfa pendular” either for the Vila Nova de Gaia or Campanhã train stations.

Viajar até Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia é servida pelo Aeroporto Francisco Sá Carneiro, no Porto. O Aeroporto tem metro, permitindo uma ligação directa às instalações da escola, bem assim como a uma constante interacção com a cidade do Porto. A Illustration Summer School encontra-se a 10 minutos a pé da estação de metro Jardim do Morro. Para viagens de comboio, é aconselhado visitar o site da CP para as estações de Vila Nova de Gaia ou Campanhã.

Visual Research
Visual research methods for illustration will be at the centre of the Illustration Summer School, intersecting all workshops, seminars and visits. By introducing research in the context of the illustration discipline—particularly beyond a tradition in which drawing is dominant—participants will have the opportunity to be introduced to and debate the importance of investigating methods from different periods of history such as those from the Surrealist Group and developing their own.

Calligraphy as Research
The calligraphy seminars will be conducted by Hugo Moura (Xesta Studio), surveying its history, techniques and contemporary practice. Several methods of deconstructing and reassembling calligraphy will be explored, aligned with key illustration visual research methods developed in the other workshops.

Archive & Illustration
The Illustration Summer School will visit the Port Wine cellars and museum of Ramos Pinto—founded in 1880—which has a rich history and archive of illustration for publicity. These workshops led by Karen Lacroix (Uncanny Editions) will debate the importance of the archive in contemporary illustration practice, with multiple visualisation and assembling techniques. Using the book as a process of gathering and documenting the research in order to challenge a narrative, this session will adopt methods of documenting, archiving, compiling, assembling, editing and publishing.

Print as Research
Print as research investigates a series of methods that facilitate a critical visualisation of the illustration process, using several alternative printmaking processes based on historical techniques. During the workshop, old and new methods will be mixed with the freedom of tactile expression, as well as with the openness to experiment the potential of the use of mechanical devices such as the photocopier, reuse of commercial relief printing plates, in the context of the research project. In collaboration with Pure Print.

Bookbinding as Research
The bookbinding workshops and seminars will be conducted by Catarina Azevedo (Alfaiate do Livro). In a series of workshops that will see an overlap with other disciplines, one section binding, french door, piano hinge binding are some of the variety of mechanisms and approaches to bookbinding that are going to be explored in the Illustration Summer School 2016.

The Illustration Summer School seeks to give its participants an introduction to practical and theoretical knowledge that allows them to use a variety of disciplines as research tools. There will not be clear divisions among these, but instead encouraged a constant overlap in the context of the expanded role of the illustrator, promoting debate and reflection. The tutors will seek to encourage the intersection of disciplines and co-researching.

A Illustration Summer School procura dotar os participantes de um conhecimento prático e teórico introdutório que permita utilizar uma variedade de disciplinas enquanto ferramentas de investigação. Não serão feitas divisões claras entre estas, mas antes encorajada uma constante sobreposição no contexto de um campo expandido da ilustração, promovendo debate e reflexão. Os professores procurarão encorajar a intersecção de disciplinas e a co-investigação.

Karen Lacroix
Coordinator & Tutor
Karen Lacroix is an illustrator, designer and publisher based in Porto, Portugal. She has taught visual narratives since 2009 at Richmond University (UK) and works for an eclectic range of clients such as Bright Ivy, English Touring Opera, Saffron Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, among others. After concluding an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, she founded Uncanny Editions, an illustration publisher and studio exploring different modes of publication practice, collaborating with institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery and X Marks the Bökship . Her work is represented in collections such as MoMA (US), University College London, London College of Communication (UK), Serralves Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (PT), among others. She is the founder of the Illustration School, a nomadic pedagogical platform that investigates the expanded field of illustration and is co-director of the design research centre Shared Institute.

Matilde Seabra
Guest Tutor
Matilde Seabra is a graduate of the School of Architecture of the University of Porto and co-founder of the architecture studio Poças Martins Seabra. She is part of the collective that edits the architecture fanzine Friendly Fire. Between 2009 and 2013 she was assistant tutor at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto on the MA in Visual Arts and Artistic Technologies. Matilde is experienced in working with several cultural institutions such as the Serralves Foundation, José de Guimarães International Art Center and Douro Museum. Co-founder of Talkie Walkie.

Alejandra Jaña
Alejandra is a graphic designer, art director and founder and researcher at WCFS (We Came from Space). As co-founder of Atelier Martino & Jaña with João Martino, she has worked with clients such as Nike (USA), NBC (USA), Serralves Museum and Guimarães, European Capital of Cultural, Vila Flor Cultural Centre, Porto City Hall, among others. In 2012 founded WCFS with a collective of creators and researchers with the goal of creating a platform for sharing knowledge about graphic production and for experimentation.

Hugo Moura
Graphic designer, calligrapher, letterer and illustrator based in Porto, Portugal. After a BA in Communication Design at ESAD, he founded Xesta Studio, focusing on branding, calligraphy, lettering and typography. The studio collaborates with clients such as Ambar, Atelier Martino&Jaña, ESAD, Pyramyd Éditions and NBC US. His work has been featured in books such as Le Grand Livre de la Calligraphie, Drawing Type – An Introduction to Letterforms (Rockport Publishers). He’s a resident member and collaborator at WCFS.

Catarina Azevedo
Designer and bookbinder based in Porto, Portugal. After finishing a BA in Communication Design at the School of Arts of the University of Porto in 2011, she established her own studio Alfaiate do Livro, focusing on handcrafted bookbinding. The studio has worked with a variety of clients such as ESAD Matosinhos, Atelier Martino & Jaña and illustrator Catarina Sobral. In 2015 she joined the collective Chapa Azul, aiming to set up a travelling printing workshop.

Graciela Machado
Guest Tutor
Graciela holds a BA in Painting from the School of Fine Arts of Porto, MA in Printmaking from the Slade School of Fine Art and a PhD in Drawing by the School of Fine Arts of the University of the Basque Country. Lecturer and researcher in drawing and printmaking at the School of Arts of the University of Porto. Chair of the research project Pure Print.

Júlio Dolbeth
Guest Tutor
Júlio is an artist, illustrator and lecturer at the School of Arts of the University of Porto. He holds a BA in Communication Design, MA in Multimedia Art and a PhD in Art and Design in the field of illustration. He is the co-founder of the illustration gallery Dama Aflita in Porto, where he is also a curator. He has shown his work regularly in solo and group exhibitions.

Rui Vitorino Santos
Guest Tutor
PhD in Art and Design, in the field of illustration. He is a professor of Communication Design and Illustration at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. Frequently develops curatorial projects and research in Illustration and also participates regularly in individual and group shows in illustration. Founding member of the association and gallery Dama Aflita, in Porto, dedicated to illustration and drawing.

Alexandra Rafael
Guest Tutor
Printmaking artist based in Porto, Portugal. She holds an MA in Drawing and Printmaking from the School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, where she developed research about transfer processes to printmaking surfaces. Since then she has been participating in several exhibitions and artistic residencies around the country.

Filomena Vasconcelos
Guest Tutor
Professor of Literary Criticism and English Literature at the Arts and Humanities Faculty, U. Porto. Her research focuses on philosophy of language, comparative and translation studies. She is a critical essayist and translator of Shakespeare, integrating the FCT project “Shakespeare for the 21st Century, and having already her translations of Richard II, The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet published. At the U. Porto, she tutors the course of scriptwriting and is the editor of the digital periodical for children’s literature E-f@bulations.