Analyzing techniques and styles of illustrations

by Leon William Digital Marketing Specialist

Illustrations and designs form the bulk of visual elements that we come to see every day. However, a general misconception among people is that a designer and illustrator have the same role. Before analyzing the various illustration techniques and styles, let’s be clear that the role of an illustrator is different from that of a designer. 

  • A designer uses various visual elements like topography and images and creates interesting compositions by engaging them. She/he focuses on drawing the attention of the viewers towards certain elements. 
  • An illustrator, on the other hand, creates the imagery innovatively. They do not concentrate on the entire design. Graphics supplement other visual elements in books, magazines, etc. They help in the better translation of ideas.

Today, artworks have a huge market, including books, magazines, brochures, newspapers, websites and so on. Previously, illustrations were the only way to capture the pictorial essence, as photography is comparatively new in this aspect.

Different types of illustration design

While classifying illustrations, we come across two broad categories

  • Traditional 
  • Modern 

Different categories come under traditional illustrations. These include

  • Woodcutting
  • Metal etchings
  • Charcoal 
  • Lithography
  • Watercolor 
  • Gouache 
  • Acrylics 
  • Collage 
  • Pen-and-ink 

Modern illustration categories

Today, a number of software has eased up the process of making artworks. Particularly, Photoshop and other tools of the same category help digital artists to mold the illustrations in their desired direction. The artworks of modern category are of two types, freehand digital and vector graphics.

Digital illustrations drawn freehand

In freehand illustrations that are drawn digitally, it is possible to integrate shadow transitions and smooth light. Thus, one can detail out complex background easily. Digital artists use the raster format for these illustrations and then blow up and print them. However, too much enhancements while offering digital illustration services results in the loss of quality.

Vector graphics

It is popular as it allows the flexibility to alter the size as required. However, it becomes difficult to make the transition smooth with these illustrations. This particular category is used in web illustrations. They can be identified by their shapes, clarity of outlines and definition.

Different styles of illustrations

Here, style refers to the genre of illustrations. The different genres of graphic are presented, along with their features.

Concept art

Concept art is often used in illustration related to gaming, fantasy purposes and animations. The term emerged back in the 1930’s. It was probably used by Disney at the beginning. The automotive industry, too, used the term ‘concept art’. In these, several themes and concepts are developed by the digital artists. The client can have a look at various stages by choosing particular images. Concept art enables a person to visualize the different stages in the production process of goods.

Children’s illustrations

Children’s book illustrations can be vast and varied, ranging from the simplest, native drawings to complex ones. Factors like age group and story line come into play while deciding the type of children’s illustrations. These are delightful, narrative and colorful, with friendly characters.

Comics or graphic novel illustrations

Comics include both visuals and text and present a vibrant interpretation. Captions, speech balloons and other elements are used in these designs, along with sequenced panels of images. Thus, sound effects, dialogue and narrations become clearly comprehensive. It is extensively used in comic strips and cartoons.

Today, illustration-making for books have become easier, thanks to the development of various software. The illustrators can create the image by any possible means and then print it. This was not possible earlier, as they had to draw the artworks manually. It is used on book covers to catch the attention. Attractive book covers help to sell them, so innovative illustrations adore the front cover of several books. It helps them to outplay their competitors. Thus, illustrated covers play a dominating role in marketing books. 

Evidently, artworks in books are wisely developed, maintaining a balance with the textual content. Too much detail in the illustrations may steal the reader’s attention and they will ignore the text. Thus, a balance is maintained between the text and graphics. Artworks are ideal means to convey messages to the readers. Publications from all over the world carry interpretative publications that tell stories. Readers can make out the visual message incorporated in these illustrations. The uses are evident in advertisement as well; illustration in advertising provides more creativity and soul to the concepts. Certain companies prefer designs to photographs, as the former can carry the message creatively, with an artistic blend of presentation.


The second half of the 20th century witnessed the rise of digital technologies. It led to the globalization of businesses as they were able to scale rapidly. Competition, too, increased in this period and manufacturers started focusing on the packaging of products. It helped the competing companies grab the attention of the customers. From children’s products to bakery and jewellery, the packaging started drawing attention of the customers. The personal elements like touch and feel were more pronounced in packaged products.

Branding or logo illustrations

Creating illustrated logo design for particular brands requires sophisticated skills. Logos are generally small and they are designed in such a way that the readers can make out the minute details. The designers plan these logos carefully to make them worth memorable. Such logos are more effective in communicating your brand message and appear immensely appealing to the prospects. 

These are the commonly used illustration styles. Presently, it has become a part of marketing various products. The visual appeal of illustrations creates the much-needed impact in the minds of customers. If you further need clarifications on the above or looking at professional illustration services then reach out to us. We will be glad to help!

About Leon William Freshman     Digital Marketing Specialist

3 connections, 0 recommendations, 29 honor points.
Joined APSense since, December 18th, 2015, From Morrisville, United States.

Created on Dec 31st 1969 19:00. Viewed 0 times.


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