In the brief, original, post I stated that Illustration had no critical framework to speak of. The implication was that this was bad as, arguably, Illustration as a subject has had to assume a role in the visual arts that lacks theoretical substance and therefore value. The latter part of this statement is not true but it does describe an attitude towards the word in its adjectival sense if nothing else. So perhaps our sensitivity to the use of Illustrative as a derogatory term is a semantic issue? However I digress - I wanted to look at the notion of a critical framework for Illustration and turn the contention on its head. Is it important to have a critical and theoretical framework for a subject like Illustration? If we talk about it as a 'subject' then possibly yes. Subject implies that it is a thing that is removed from us, something that we study and observe - it is an academic term. In order to understand subjects like Illustration we often need to ascribe ideas to help us locate the work contextually. In short, to better understand the whys and wherefores of the work's production. So we can look at it from a perspective - historical for instance or through the lens of Marxism or De-constructivism. Subjects in the Visual Arts have numerous lens through which to locate their work - it is arguable that these approaches are inward looking and often self referential. In some ways they are enabling but in others they can be limiting, exclusive rather than inclusive.
We could also talk about a 'discipline' of Illustration. Discipline could infer a kind of acquired behaviour [or even training?], a way of thinking or an approach to subject. Running practical courses it may be fair to say that we concentrate more on the discipline of Illustration than the subject - our goal may well be to help students evolve and develop their behaviour in order to become better visual communicators. If this is the case should we be bothered about a critical framework? I do not believe this to be entirely the case - but more in a while.
The revised question was; "Is it important to have a critical framework for Illustration?"