Erin C. Blake
I-10: Introduction to the History of Illustration
13-17 June 2011
1) How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)
1: They were extremely relevant. 2: For me they were essential for having some familiarity with the terminology. Scanning most of the reading probably would've been enough for me, especially since the books assigned were not used in class. I will be glad to have them for future reference. 3: They were definitely a good basis for the class. There are so MANY illustrators and illustration techniques that I think I would have been really lost during lecture without that solid basis from the pre-course readings. 4: The reading was excellent, especially Harthan. I bought all of them! They will make very good reference books. 5: Excellent background on techniques and many examples. 6: I think it's helpful to go over them to understand more when you arrive, but skimming them also would have been fine—you don't need to have full knowledge of everything beforehand. 7: Very much so—although I sometimes thought they overlapped too much with the materials in the class. I think it would be helpful to read more on process as well. 8: They were very useful, and helpful for beginners like myself. 9: Very useful. 10: They were useful.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes and yes. Yes. The slide lists were a great help. The bibliography will be extremely useful. 2: Yes, and yes. 3: EB has definitely compiled a thorough and comprehensive list of materials, sources, catalogues and reference sites. I can't see how this could be anything but useful for anyone seriously interested in book illustration. 4: All of the material was appropriate. The slide lists were very useful. 5: Good reference for illustrations and books we saw in class. Further research can use the expanded bibliography. 6: Yes and yes. 7: Yes—I especially love the bibliography for further reading. 8: Yes, I was very happy to have a list of what we saw in Special Collections and in the slides for future research! 9-10: Yes.
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: The material in my particular field of research. Information about techniques. Yes. 2: The different types of book illustrations and the time periods they were used. The intellectual level was appropriate. 3: I'm really a scholar of the late c18, early c19, so obviously I loved those parts of the class—lectures and library time—but I also found the information on earlier techniques and artists useful for contextualizing my understanding of my own specialization. 4: The entire course was relevant with the survey of techniques, artists, styles, all in chronological order. The intellectual level was perfect. 5: Most interesting were the aspects that related the illustrations to the text. Keeping the discussions of the illustrations focused on book illustrations was critical. (This is not an art history course.) 6: I was particularly interested in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century illustrations, and that was the portion most relevant to my reasons for being here—particularly the children's books. Yes, I believe it was, for an introductory course. 7: Learning to identify prints/illustrations by creation process—I feel I have a better understanding of what I'm looking at now. My research requires me to look at a range of book illustrations. 8: The intellectual level was appropriate for a broad overview. I would have liked to discuss the relationship between text and image further.
4) What did you like best about the course?
1: The variety of materials surveyed. Daily trips to Special Collections. Bibliorama. EB. 2: Seeing real-life examples in Special Collections. 3: Loved being able to handle the materials—it makes such a difference to see these items up close and personal, as it were, as opposed to in a textbook, or online, or in a slide. 4: I was very impressed by how well the course was structured and prepared. The pacing was very pleasant and EB's use of time was amazing! 5: Seeing 66 examples from Special Collections and dozens more on overhead slides and dozens from RBS collections. 6: Getting to go into Special Collections, and the opportunity to truly see and handle and experience the books there, and during EB's "Bibliorama" portion of the class. 7: Bibliorama! Not only does it have an awesome range, but I loved having the opportunity to explore various books on my own. (Armed with knowledge from the day's class, of course!) 8: Trips to Special Collections and "Bibliorama," where the class is able to apply our knowledge to physical examples. 9: Visits to Special Collections. 10: The chronological overview of techniques and their development.
5) Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?
1-2: Yes. 3: Indeed. EB is a great instructor because she is willing to stop and answer questions—or hunt down answers. I came in knowing a bit about illustration and I feel like having the opportunity to talk to her in and out of class really expanded my understanding and knowledge base. 4: Yes, EB is very efficient and knowledgeable: I learned a lot. 5: Yes. Questions were answered, including specific queries about future reading in specific areas. 6: With some background in art I knew some things already, but I think this was a wonderful introductory illustration course, and I certainly learned lots from it. 7: Yes! Yes! Yes! (And more, I imagine!) 8-9: Yes. 10: For the most part, yes, though I think more "hands-on" would've helped—as well as more instruction during the "Bibliorama" section of the course.
6) Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?
1-6. Yes. 7: Yes. I would have liked a bit more attention paid to process. 8: Yes, it is a great introduction. 9-10: Yes.
7) Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N
1: Yes. This course really whetted my appetite for book illustration, a testament to EB's teaching. 2-4: Yes. 5: Partially. The emphasis on European illustrated books meant that little time was spent on American illustrated books of the 19th-20th centuries. 6: Yes. I wish we could have done more hands-on learning, but I guess that that's what the Illustration Processes course is for! 7: Yes. 8: Yes. It is a good foundation for further learning. 9-10: Yes.
8) How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?
1: In my academic research. 2: I will incorporate illustration description into the Library catalog, when appropriate. I will also "train" fellow staff members and use the information when developing future exhibits. 3: I'll definitely be able to contextualize my own interpretations of illustrations with information about traditions, production, and techniques. Before this course, I did not have the necessary background for writing and thinking about the traditions and movements in c19 book illustrations—now I can! 4: I will be well-prepared and more confident with the illustration aspects when I give classes with illustrated books and prints! 5: Enhance my collecting skills and expand what I add to my collection. Be more learned in my library board work and writing projects. 6: I am creating my own small book of illustrated fairy tales (very basic!) for a research project this summer, and I plan on using ideas and inspiration (and new knowledge) gleaned from this course. Also, just to have a better understanding of books! 7: To complete research related to book illustration. 8: I hope to pursue a career as a Rare Books Librarian. 9: Teaching, exhibits. 10: I intend to use it as the basis for further study of rare books, as well as in my teaching.
9) How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.
1: N/A. 2: I would've liked more examples of scientific illustration as well as artists such as Merian Redouté, e.g., for me, there was too much emphasis on illustrated novels and books of poetry. I found it all interesting nonetheless. 3: I would have liked to see more class participation. We did the pre-course readings—force us to identify techniques, or interpret images. 4: I think that very short animated clips (in PowerPoint) of all the different techniques would be a great plus. Techniques are very important parts of this course and are raising lots of questions from the participants because they are sometimes difficult to visualize. A series of such clips must exist somewhere!? 5: Include more American illustrators. The balance was heavily orientated to European. The 1st mention of American illustrators was at the end of the week and only three out of 66 items from Special Collections were American illustrated books. 7: Maybe more attention to American illustrators—but I say this because my research involves American books. 8: I would have liked more discussion in the class. 9: Maybe some more social context.
10) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1: Yes. The trips to Special Collections were a highlight of each day. 2: Yes, definitely. 3: Oh, yes! There is so much to see there and EB really did a great job pulling the most interesting examples. 4: The visits to the Special Collections were very interesting and after lunch was the perfect time! 5: Yes, excellent. But viewing the materials was difficult, requiring us to stand for 90 minutes each day. There needs to be a better way to show the books without us standing and crowding around the table. 6: We went to Special Collections—and yes, I believe so, though it's hard to have even 10 people look at a single book at once. 7: Of course! I wish we could have spent more time in Special Collections, but there are only so many hours in the day, right? 8-10: Yes.
11) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
1: N/A. The materials used in class and in Special Collections were always handled with extreme care. 2: N/A. 3: I think it was fine. 4: Handling was fine and respectful. 5: They were handled well. 7: No suggestions. 10: None.
12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?
1: N/A. 2: Yes. 3: The Malkin lecture was a bit disappointing. 4: I enjoyed all of the evening events, especially Video Night and the lectures. Video Night: Please upgrade to a new large flat TV screen! They are now so affordable! 5: Lectures were good—worthwhile. Especially like being in the Rotunda Room. 6: I really want to say yes ... but I felt that both lectures were terribly un-animated and not very useful. I was expecting (even hoping) that they would be over my head, that I would learn something new, that they would be delivered with passion and conviction, but unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Video Night ... eh. Show The Book of Kells! 7: I enjoyed the events—the Video Night was amusing. I thought some of the talks would be more intellectually rigorous. 8: Yes! 9: Generally, yes; Wednesday lecture was not good. 10: Yes.
13) Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: Yes. Expect a survey course that covers a lot of material in five short days. While there is time to look closely at specific examples, don't expect to be able to linger for too long in a specific time period. A wonderful course for a detailed overview of book illustration. 2: Yes. 3: Yes! This was amazing—great people, great instructor and great books! I feel like I've learned so much! 4: Yes, it was worth the money. It has given me a strong overall picture of the History of Illustration in the West. Exciting week! Will be back for more! 5: Yes. 6: Bring a sweater and pants—the classrooms are chilly! And plan on buying/bringing water bottles, because the tap water tastes very metallic if you're not used to it. Oh, and pencils! Not pens! 7: Yes, and I plan to come back. Maybe warn future RBS students that they will get sucked in! 8: Yes! 9-10: Yes.
14) Would you recommend this course to others?
1: Yes, absolutely. 2: Yes. 3: Definitely (already have). 4: Yes, totally! 5: Yes. 6: YES! Not that I think the course content/material should be changed at all, but I definitely think you should advertise (pamphlets, fliers) at colleges in good-standing—I wish I had known about RBS earlier in my life! (Especially since there isn't an age limit.) Even two years ago. Thank you for the experience! 7: Yes! 8: Yes, it is perfect for those who need a broad introduction to illustration. 9-10: Yes.
Number of respondents: 10
Institution gave me leave
I took vacation time
N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off
I am self-employed
Work has nothing to do with RBS course
Institution paid tuition
Institution paid tuition ___%
I paid tuition myself
Exchange or barter
N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship
Institution paid housing
Institution paid for ___% of housing
I paid for my own housing
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home
Institution paid ___% of my travel
I paid my own travel
N/A: lived nearby
There were 1 professor of French literature (10%), 1 professor of English literature (10%), 1 general librarian with some rare book duties (10%), 2 PhD students (20%), 2 rare book librarians (20%), 1 book collector (10%), and 2 undergraduate students (20%).
Where did you stay?
Brown College: 10%
The Lawn: 40%
Hampton Inn & Suites: 10%
Other: 40% (guesthouse found through va-guesthouses.com; friend's couch; Omni Hotel, as other hotels were full; sublet)