April 14, 2012

Emerging illustrators internship helping Wikimedia Commons. First results!

Josep Palau i Fabre
The Escola de la Llotja is an art and design school located in Barcelona, where several important painters as Picasso studied. Llotja and Amical Viquipèdia started a pioneering partnership in which 6 illustration students are doing their final degree internship at Amical, creating images that are being incorporated under free licenses to Wikimedia Commons to illustrate some Wikipedia articles. We already talked about it some months ago, but now you can see some of the illustrations already uploaded here.

It is an opportunity for them to work in a real context, public and very visible, while contributing to a public good that is being built collaboratively and is useful for many people.

The project aims to be a global precedent for involving other art and design schools with Wikimedia related projects · More than thirty articles are already illustrated in several languages thanks to this agreement of collaboration.

How we are doing it

At the beginning, we identified and listed some entries with missing images, and the emerging illustrators of La Llotja are helping us with the task of creating professional and informative images according to the encyclopedic context which they are be published. Among which there are, for example, outstanding figures of the twentieth century and fictional characters.  Also noteworthy illustrations teaching on the drying of the Mediterranean during the Messinian made ​​with scientific advice.
Ricard Giralt-Miracle

Wikipedia has a strict criteria for the inclusion of images and media files, in order to keep open its contents: works might be public domain or free licensed (CC-BY-SA), which may be freely reproduced for any purpose (also commercial) and which they can freely create derivative works to improve them or adapt them. That's why many Wikipedia entries have no image, because many topics do not have a related free image. One purpose of this collaboration is to begin to fill this gap. Members of Amical Viquipèdia with the participation of Catalan Wikipedians identified articles with missing images difficult to achieve if not creating them again.


During the academic year of 2011-12, there are 6 students doing their internship at Amical Wikipedia.

Three of them have drawn portraits of the twentieth century which have had to fend for graphic work to create an own designed to accompany the biographical entries of the encyclopedia.  In one case we have worked with fictional characters, also creating their own works, which were faithful to the literary source and they also have the requests for information and descriptive encyclopedic context. In three cases have been drawn illustration or didactic information about geological phenomena and artistic practices:
  • Luis Segovia: portraits of illustrators of the twentieth century (Ricard Giralt Miracle, Lola Anglada, Pauline Baynes, Fernando Krahn, Robert Monk Segura).
  • Gerard Plan: portraits of Spanish politicians of the early twentieth century and democratic transtition governments after the Franco dictatorship (Adolfo Suarez, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Villa Martin, Manuel Gutierrez Mellado, Landelino Lavilla).
  • Albert Pons: portraits of Catalan writers of the twentieth century (Josep Maria Folch i Torres, Montserrat Roig, Terence Moix, Joan Perucho, Josep Palau i Fabre).
  • Jessica Leon: fictional characters from books by JRR Tolkien.
  • Paul Bahia: didactic illustrations on the drying of the Mediterranean Sea during the Messinian period.  Scientific advice was done by Daniel Garcia-Castellanos, a researcher at the Jaume Almera Institute of Earth Sciences, in addition to Wikipedian and member of Wikimedia Spain.
  • Oriol Tuca: recreating scenes and portraits related to the Fluxus art movement.
All works arising as a result of this project will be exhibited on May 10 in Barcelona. We wait for you at Llotja Sant Andreu at 19:30 pm in a ceremony attended by all participants and organizers!!

Press coverage
We are getting a lot of press coverage on national press. (Spanish)


  1. Using what as a basis are the illustrators creating the images? Because you're going to run up against copyright problems if they're turning copyrighted photographs into illustrations.

    Has an IP lawyer been consulted on the project? Law of derivative works is very, very complicated.

    Pretty cool project though.

  2. Hi Harry,

    Yes, the fact that the illustrators did a work that could consider itself is a concern we had.

    * We can ensure that students did the illustrations starting from zero, because we have followed the process from the first sketches.

    * All that we asked were based on a single reference, which did
    using varied documentation. In the case of several portraits photos,
    didn't based their work on any of them and, if possible, which also saw some Video footage of the character. Yes it is true that some
    characters, certain gesture or posture is very characteristic for
    identify it and the artwork could not escape from it.

    * We asked the students to gave a graphic and visual processing itself,
    without detracting from the educational or informative nature that requires a encyclopedia, but doing the visual, creative work.

    In any case we are open to any suggestions on how to improve
    conditions of the order because we want to continue promoting this type of
    collaboration next year. Thanks for asking

    Kippelboy (blog writer) and Dvdgmz (project leader)

    1. I have to say, I wasn't expecting such a thorough response. Great to see that these aspects have been considered (in some detail, indeed!). It would have been a real shame if the copyright discussion had only come at the end.

  3. We also had some coverage on TV: http://www.btv.cat/btvnoticies/2012/04/24/llotja-sant-andreu-viquipedia/#None (in Catalan)