|The Elaboration of School Textbooks - Methodological Guide (UNESCO, 1989, 66 p.)|
The qualities required of a good school textbook illustrator are not necessarily those of a well-known artist, draughtsman or painter. The abovementioned characteristics and conditions of a good illustration clearly distinguish the purely artistic drawing or image from illustrations for school books. The illustrator must certainly be gifted for drawing and have training in the arts, but he must also, through training courses and intensive practice, acquire the professional experience which will turn him into a skilled textbook illustrator. It is sometimes necessary to attend such courses and work abroad, but not necessarily in the highly developed countries. There are countries in each region of the world where talented illustrators work, where workshops for the illustration of school books have already been set up, and where it is possible to gain professional experience.
Over and above artistic skill and experience of techniques in illustrating school books, an illustrator should:
- know something about the content for which the illustrations are prepared, without necessarily being a specialist in a specific discipline;
- use a technique and style of drawing which corresponds to the content (scenes, people, situations, maps, technical drawing, scientific diagrammes, etc) and the text of the book;
- have a good understanding of the educational objectives of the textbook.
Illustrators cannot, at one and the same time, be good designers, specialists in a discipline and teachers. So, there must be close collaboration between illustrators and the author of the manuscript, the latter giving precise details on the type and characteristics of illustrations required in his textbook. In addition, the illustrator should take into consideration the requirements of those who will typeset and lay out the pages of the textbook, so far as dimensions and presentation of illustrations is concerned.