QOS Project: Illustration and storytelling

Joel Lardner and Paul Roberts’ project explored Alexander Pushkin’s supernatural tale of obsession and risk, The Queen of Spades (1834), and expanded on the visual language of Joel’s 2011 illustrated picture book of the same name.

This was an experimental collaborative initiative by Joel Lardner and Paul Roberts, Illustration lecturers at AUB.

An initial animated experiment completed in 2016 formed part of an ongoing project exploring the potential for storytelling and illustration within the digital environment, particularly in relation to the recent interest in Virtual Reality technology and the potential of creating immersive interactive spaces.

The research imperative throughout the project was to harness emerging games technology in order to transform how storytelling and picture books can be understood and reinterpreted.

Joel and Paul explored how the picture book has been a mainstay of illustration and is perhaps the first object people think of when considering the illustrator’s craft and trade.

The picture book has always appealed to Illustrators in that it encourages the expansion of a particular visual language and provides a platform with which to build, explore, and examine imaginary worlds.

VR technology provides the potential for readers to inhabit a story and offers multi-dimensional insights from within a text. The ability to alternate between characters or intervene at points within the plot opens up new insights as to how stories will be enacted and experienced.

Joel and Paul explained how illustrators are uniquely placed to adopt and occupy this new fascinating and portentous field of study – whether as games makers, or interactive storytellers.

Read more about Joel Lardner and Paul Roberts’ work.