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Lines or Dots? Reproduction Processes in Handbooks on Illustration, 1890s-1910s

Abstract : This chapter examines the way that black and white illustrators came to terms with the industrial use of photomechanical processes and the major changes that occurred in the reproduction of illustrations from the 1890s to the early decades of the 20th century. It explores how handbooks on illustration and illustrators’ autobiographies reflected the need to preserve the so-called “vitality” of the graphic line, an autographic trace of the artist’s gesture. It focuses on the contemporary description and reception of half-tone, the screened process that breaks up tone into dots and that was used to reproduce wash, watercolour, and photographs. This process was often criticized for the “mechanical” and “dead” look it gave to pictures. This aspect of the history of the illustrated book provides an insight into the medial conflict between drawing, wood engraving and photography, and it ties in with the broad issue of the reproduction of original works of art. This essay draws upon the anthropological approach of Tim Ingold and Hans Belting, as well as on Howard Risatti’s theory of craft.
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Contributor : Sophie Aymes-Stokes <>
Submitted on : Friday, July 15, 2016 - 5:06:36 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 18, 2020 - 7:46:02 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01345785, version 1



Aymes-Stokes Sophie. Lines or Dots? Reproduction Processes in Handbooks on Illustration, 1890s-1910s. Cambridge Scholars Press. Point, Dot, Period.. The Dynamics of Punctuation in Text and Image, 2016, ISBN (10): 1-4438-8806-0 ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-8806-6. ⟨halshs-01345785⟩



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