UK illustrator Matthew Cook often works in an area of illustration known as reportage, essentially called on to observe and report on scenes in which news or events of interest to the publication for which he is working are happening.
This is something of a throwback to the days prior to the widespread use of photography in publications, in which illustrators were the eyes of the reading public for events like the Civil War, in addition the more familiar interpretive use of illustrations for stories.
Among Cook’s subjects have been the war in Afghanistan and a project in which he recorded daily activities in the advertising agency, Mother London.
These days, reportage illustrators must bring something to the article beyond mere recording of a scene, and Cook’s crisp colorful watercolors distill the essence of a scene more clearly than a more literal photograph could.
His clients include Royal Mail, Sanyo Corporation, Ogilvy Mather, Penguin Publishing, National Geographic, Knight Ridder and Times Newspapers, among others.
Cook’s online portfolio is divided into subjects like Travel, War, Industry, Maps and Sketch book. He also maintains a site specifically for his war reportage art. Additional illustration portfolios and articles are listed below.