Movement: One topic, different perspectives

Movement. What does the word make you think of?


Movement. What do you think of when you hear, read or say the word movement?
Word connections can help generate ideas around a topic like this.
This mini-project proposal looks at ideas for research in to movement and acts as a catalyst to trigger new thinking.

 Proposal summary
If we consider the concept of movement in picture books, it is there in the illustrations and characterisations, in the shape and line and form of the drawings. Movement is visible through composition and position, repetition and scale on the page. Wavy lines, blurs and character position all help to convey a sense of movement. Leaving empty space for a character to move into can also have a similar effect.


Quentin Blake’s Mrs Armitage, moving along left to right (1987)


However, there is other movement in a book. A reader travels through a book, through the narrative, front to back, left to right, or right to left depending on cultural conventions. Graphic novels use frames to create movement and pace through a story. There is also movement in the page turning. Is it convention or does a book need to be a real page-turner to entice the reader to move through the story? Is this experience different when a reader knows the story? A page makes a sound when it moves and we can flick through a book back to front and feel that on our faces.

A researcher can ask, what makes the reader turn the page? How can an illustrator combine these things and come to understand how to entice the reader through the narrative? In addition, the animal advocate illustrator can ask how to combine this with overall aims and activism, and messages for change, for rights and for compassion.

Although picture books are targeted at age range, e.g. 4-6 years, 7-9 years, the adult guardian buys and borrows books, and so shares their viewpoint through the book choices they make.

 What follows are ideas for researching concepts about movement in picture books and looking at the different perspectives of the word Movement.



What follows are ideas for researching concpets about movement in picture books and looking at the different perspectives of the word Movement.

Research aims

  • To gain knowledge about the illustration of ‘movement’, in context of style and technique.
  • To gain insight in picture books, their narrative and reader engagement.
  • To explore conventions and unconventional ways to take a reader from start to finish.


  • To gain insight into making great picture book illustrations in support of the animal rights movement.
  • To create images that move the reader, actually and emotionally.
  • To present positive images of animals, with truth and compassion.

Research methodologies

  • Phemenological approach
    • This approach, a subjective approach, which includes qualitative inquiry, is very well suited to creative enquiry. One of the great advantages of creative research is that it allows for play, experimentation and imagination (Kara, 2015 cited in Noble, 2018)
  • Audiencing
    •  Children’s art group – Heyday Arts group, Shrewsbury
    • Participation and observation
    • Book reading, discussion, observation and experimental play
    • The role of the researcher is to encourage reading, book selection and group participation in conversation and drawing in response to picture books.
  • Case study
    • Exploration of the popular contemporary picture books
    • Explore how movement is signified
    • Examine composition and visual properties of illustrations – form, shape, line, colour, symbolism and connotations
  • Experimental practice
    • Idea generation
    • Creative practice, evealuation and self-reflection
  • Ideas
    • Image layering – ghost like images.
    • Composition – arrive on the left and leave on the right.
    • Do not be restrained by conventions.
    • Repetition
    • Transparency
    • Manic marking
    • Digital manipulation
  • Significant to academic knowledge is recognising what could be relevant to othe rpractitioners. What will other practitioners take from this research? What is the transferable knowledge?
    • Image analysis
    • The practice of making a page-turner
    • Connecting with the audience
    • Techniques

As animal advocate this research can also be seen in context of animlarights and movement such as The extinction rebellion movement. Investigation into these movements can help inform about how illustration can support cultural, and global, messages about animal rights, personhood and climate change.



Blake, Q., (1987) Mrs Armitage Reprint 2006. St. Helens: The Book People

Noble, M., (2018) Arts based research in practice [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 April 2019]



Candy, L., (2006) Practice based research: a guide [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 18 April 2019]

Creativity and Cognition (n.d.) Differences between practice-based and practice-led research [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2019]

Frayling, C., (1993) Research in Art and Design [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2019]

Gray, C., (1996) Inquiry through Practice: developing appropriate research strategies [pdf] Available at: PDFs/ngnm.pdf [Accessed 14 April 2019]

Macmillan study skills (n.d.) Choosing appropriate research study skills [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 April 2019]

Rose, G., (2001) Visual Methodologies, London: SAGE