Sneak peek: AG’s Art of Illustration book

A picture really is worth a thousand words when it’s underpinned by rigorous research and crafted with skill.
By Chrissie Goldrick November 20, 2013 Reading Time: < 1

Editor-in-chief Chrissie Goldrick reflects on a new book celebrating AG’s long association with natural history illustrators.

I WAS GIVEN the role of custodian of the Australian Geographic art collection many years ago when we were still headquartered in the sprawling AG compound at Terrey Hills, on the northern outskirts of Sydney.

The illustrations and artworks, specially commissioned for the journal and other publications, were executed in a variety of artists’ materials in a wide range of formats, posing significant storage challenges.

After many months spent wrangling the collection into some semblance of order, it became a hope of mine to ultimately re-publish the best of the illustrations and paintings in a big, beautiful book.

Australian art: places and wildlife

Early in 2012, I invited Alasdair McGregor, a regular contributor, award-winning author and a fine artist in his own right, to write a history of the use of illustration during the first 28 years of the Australian Geographic journal. Together we set about ploughing through every edition, compiling a wishlist of illustrations that we would like to see featured in a book.

The resulting book, The Art of Australian Geographic Illustration, is a bold, pictorial feast of over 350 illustrations. Alasdair’s insightful narrative spans the history of nature illustration from 16th-century German artist Albrecht Dürer, through to the explorer/scientists of the 18th century’s age of enlightenment, to the present day, placing the journal’s contribution to the art form into its broader context.

He also traces the history of Australian Geographic itself and Dick Smith’s original vision of a quality publication that would focus positive attention on Australia and Australians.

Buy The Art of Australian Geographic Illustration online or at Australian Geographic stores and bookstores nationally.

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