Illustrious Illustration

“The Illustrator’s job,” said Andrew Hall, “is to create a something from a nothing, to encapsulate an idea that communicates to an audience in an innovative way that is also articulate.”

Of course it’s art. A particular type of art that narrates stories and sells ideas; that makes you think and inspires you; that instructs, informs, satirises, fills in details, creates a visual dimension for what would otherwise be purely symbolic text.

The illustrator wields the power of the innovative, creative artist and that of the able visual communicator, creating a hybrid that is both functional and pleasingly artistic.

Robert Caruana Dingli’s Illustration from ‘Ġabra ta’ Ward’
Joe Mallia’s illustrations from ‘Id-Denfil’
Ġorġ Mallia’s illustration from ‘Ħrejjef tas-Sħarijiet’ 1979

The children’s magazine Sagħtar, that I had the honour to edit and produce for fourteen of its years, was a constant source of illustration as from its first issue in 1971 containing Mario Azzopardi’s outlined drawings and caricatured figures.

Luciano Micallef ‘s illustration for ‘Sagħtar’
Mario Azzopardi’s Illustration for ‘Sagħtar’
Marisa Attard, 2010
Bus Bosses illustrations by Mark Scicluna (The whole project was designed and developed together with Julian Mallia, Glenn Grech and Chiara Bonello)

Moira Scicluna Zahra’s idea to start a Facebook page for (originally) Malta-based illustrators was brilliant. It got so many people together I had not heard of before and who were massively original in their approaches and enormously inventive. Most of them where young and here was clearly another wave of illustration in the making.

‘Artna’ illustration by Momus

The themes and functionality of the different illustrations vary. They go from standalone cartoons commenting about some aspect or other of society, to advertising illustration with everything in between. Some clearly illustrate text and are probably part of books, but some seem to have been done for the love of it, only their graphic nature distinguishing them from any of the fine art one finds in Museums.

‘Lego Cities’ by Daphne Bugeja
‘Back at the Convent’ by Audrey Degiorgio
‘Catching Some Sun’ by Luigi Muscat Filletti

So, out of the darkness have come these bright flashes of gorgeous light, and you get to enjoy them here.

Visit to view the digital version of our first Annual




News and research behind the Malta Community of Illustrators project. Supported by MCAST research

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Malta Community of Illustrators

Malta Community of Illustrators

News and research behind the Malta Community of Illustrators project. Supported by MCAST research

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