Old marathons and new illustrations

illustrated runner's legs and feetAccording to Wikipedia, illustration is a “displayed visualization form presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information by providing a visual representation graphically.”

The Wikipedia entry further highlights the fact that the earliest forms of illustration were prehistoric cave paintings and that the “golden age of illustration” occurred between the 1880s and the conclusion of World War I in 1918.  The entry concludes by pointing to the fact that there is a growing interest today in collecting original illustrated artwork.

Though illustrators still exist in the U.S. today, illustration is considered a form of media whose time has, in the majority, already passed.  However, today, November 6, 2011, has offered up a challenge to that belief.

The New York City Marathon was held in New York today.  One of the participants was Christoph Niemann, an illustrator and author of “Abstract Sunday,” a column for the New York Times Magazine, who proved that illustrations can still be timely and relevant.

While participating in the race, Niemann simultaneously captured his race experience through illustrations and tweeting via his Twitter handle, @abstractsunday.  Here are two examples of Neimann’s real-time race tweets with illustrations:

It was nice to witness Neimann’s successful melding of old and new media forms today.

Do you think this sort of melding of forms is the answer when it comes to preserving “dying” art forms? Which other older forms of communication do you think can be kept alive via incorporation into new media channels?  I’d love to see more examples.

Also, who are your favorite illustrators?

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