Once you have reviewed the data table or catalogue and determined which text/s you would like to use for your class, use the exercise template below to add the text/s into the bracketed space. Exmp: [Add in the chosen texts here]

You can either copy and paste the exercise template below or you can download the exercise template in RTF (Rich Text Format) for editing in any Word Processor.

Click Here For the Print Version (Rich Text Format - Generic Format for any Word Processor)

Click Here For the Print Version of the Grading Rubric (Rich Text Format - Generic Format for any Word Processor)

This illustration exercise provides a framework for students to think about the form and function of illustrations in books and offers strategies for students to evaluate book illustrations.

As you work through this exercise, please keep the following in mind:

1. You must comply with all of the rules of the Rare Book Room.

Choose one of the following illustrations:

[Add in the chosen illustrations here]

2. The Rare Book Room is open from 9:00 until 5:00, Monday through Friday, and Tuesday evenings from 5:00 until 9:00.

As you look at an illustration, consider the following:

  1. What is the location of the illustration in the text? Is the location significant?
  2. What is being depicted in the illustration?
  3. Consider the composition of the illustration. What is your eye drawn towards first? What is in the foreground of the illustration? The background? Are the different areas of the illustration symmetrical, or not? Are the areas of the illustration equally light? Dark?
  4. Consider the style of the illustration. Look especially at the representation of the human body, details of clothing, the realistic (or unrealistic) representation of objects, plants, buildings, and so on.
  5. What purpose does this illustration serve? What is the relationship between the illustration and the text? Why include this illustration in this work?
  6. Consider that every illustration reflects ideas about its subject. How does the illustration interpret its subject, and/or interpret the text?
  7. What is the effect of this illustration on the viewer?

Based on your responses to these questions, you should be able to write a brief (one to two page essay) in which you develop a thesis about the illustration.

Please keep the following in mind:

  1. State your thesis at the beginning of your essay. Your thesis may focus on the style, content, or composition of the illustration–-or anything else that you find compelling about it. Remember that a thesis is a position statement and that you need to stake a position about this illustration in your essay.
  2. The more specific evidence you use in your essay to prove your point, the better.
  3. Your essay should not be a list of responses to the questions 1 through 7 above. The questions are intended to give you some strategies to begin your analysis; they do not provide the structure (or the thesis) for your essay, nor are they intended to limit your analysis.
  4. Each paragraph of your essay should support your thesis statement. Please make sure that there are transitions between paragraphs, so that each paragraph leads to the next, and make sure that each paragraph builds upon its predecessor.
  5. A seemingly simple illustration can be filled with meaning. Your job is to make sense of it.
  6. This assignment does not require external research—although you may choose to pursue research if you wish. This assignment does require careful viewing, thinking, and writing.

Rare Books
illustration exercise

: : Exercise Template

: : Data Table
: : Catalogue
: : Gallery
: : Slideshow
: : Exercise Template
: : Data Table
: : Catalogue
: : Gallery
: : Slideshow
: : Exercise Template
: : Data Table
: : Catalogue
: : Gallery
: : Slideshow
: : Exercise Template
: : Data Table
: : Catalogue
: : Gallery
: : Slideshow

: : The Construction of Books
: : Literacy and Reading
: : Publication and Circulation
: : Handwriting
: : Pedagogical Research