Illustrators have always explored the materials they’ve used to the full, so branching out into
more three-dimensional work is nothing new.Illustrated decoration applied to 3D objects is transforming our homes into atmospheric environments. Lighting and tableware by Tord Boontje features laser-cut fronds and blooms alongside transfer-printed creatures and landscapes. Meanwhile, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon covers plates, vases, walls, shop and restaurant interiors with bold, expressionist strokes and calligraphic messages.
You can look at illustrations as an object from two directions: existing objects which become a
surface for illustration or objects which are used as a way of making illustrations. So illustrators
have traditionally either applied their illustrations to new surfaces (cups and saucers, fabrics,
t-shirts, the sides of buses, etc.) or used 3D forms as a way of making their work, through paper
craft or modelling. Contemporary illustrators still work from both of those directions, adding in
newer contemporary surfaces and exploring new materials, but they have also branched out
into new areas of making, especially in the form of soft toys and character designs.
Illustration as object explores the overlap between illustration and design disciplines such as
interior and textile design through the use of illustration on fabrics, materials or wallpapers, or
illustration and fashion feeding into t-shirt and pattern design.