What is Illustration? And Illustration different genres

You hear a lot about the term "Illustration" but not sure what it is? Or do you want to be an illustrator? Digital illustration, scientific illustration ... Wow, there are many terms! In this article, you will learn the meaning of Illustration, explore different types of Illustration and some other knowledge about Illustration!

1. What is Illustration?

In its simplest sense, Illustration refers to "illustrative" images. Let's dive into the definition of the illustration. In short, an illustration is a work done by an artist or designer. It is a drawing (or painting, collage, sculpture, photo, etc.) that explains something. An illustration doesn't have to be drawn - a picture in the encyclopedia is also an Illustration, because it explains what the author wrote. 

So if your drawing doesn't explain something, it's a work of art, not an illustration. We will talk about the difference between art and illustration in the following sections.

An illustration can explain an idea even without the text next to it. People who look at the picture will see the story, "read" and understand it as they read the text. Telling a story with an illustration is meant to convey some meaning, to explain a certain context with the help of pictures alone.

Fun fact: the word illustration comes from illustrate in Latin, meaning spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.

2. Different Types of Illustrations

Let's learn more about the different types of illustrations and where they are used. There are many areas that require visualization; Here are some of the Illustration's genres:
  • Editorial illustration
  • Advertising illustration
  • Concept art
  • Fashion illustration
  • Technical (scientific) illustration
  • Infographics (Infographics)
  • Packaging illustration

What is Editorial Illustration?

Editorial illustrations are illustrations created to better represent ideas from text, often used in books, magazines, newspapers or on web page content. This type of illustration cannot exist without text.

What is Advertising Illustration?

This is the illustration used in promotional materials and its main purpose is to attract the attention of the viewer. It can be used without any text (only company logo) but presents a strong idea for easy remembering.

What is concept art?

Concept art is often used in movies, games and other industries, as a working document to find the best picture of a work's atmosphere. Concept art is created and regularly edited. The most important thing is not to create a beautiful picture perfect images is to select suitable because it is just a concept, a preview operation. The final sketch has gone through the art director's evaluation. Concept art is often created for environments, characters, costumes, and items. What is

Fashion Illustration ?

A fashion illustration can be used to visualize a garment pattern before it is manufactured. Fashion designers use it a lot in their creative process. How clothing should be visualized before sewing. In addition, fashionists use the work of fashion illustrators to promote their product and present it in a particular style.

What is Technical Illustration ?

The purpose of a technical (scientific) illustration is to accurately describe an object in order to simplify its understanding. In technical illustrations, it is not the picture that is important, but rather the clarity of the image and not to be confused.

What is Infographuc?

Infographics provide content visually and minimize text usage, allowing you to quickly understand the nature of your topic. Infographic is related to communication and graphic design, but can also be referred to as Illustration. Good infographics make it easier for you to understand information when you have large amounts of data.

What is Packaging Illustration ?

​Like promotional illustrations, packaging illustrations help companies sell their products. And it must also catch the eye and attract the attention of the viewer. In addition, packaging illustrations help define the brand, creating a more personalized feel and a sense of customization.

3. The difference between graphic design and illustration

Usually, graphic designers work with ready-made objects, and their task is to create suitable pieces out of them. Demonstrators create work on their own (even if they are collages).

The designer's main task is to create a successful product that meets the requirements of the customer and the needs of the target audience.

A good illustrator will also think about the needs of the customer and target audience in their illustration, but should focus more on the image itself, rather than on marketing goals - which the designer has thought of!

4. The difference between art and illustration

Illustration art is not a work of art. Art is created to represent an artist's inner world, while illustrations are created to explain an idea. The main goal of a work of art is aesthetics. While the main purpose of the illustration is to explain. An illustration is created for a client's needs with specific goals and a work of art can be created without any client goals. Good illustrators always think about the goals of their viewers and their customers.

5. What are the best illustration techniques?

It doesn't matter what technique the illustrator uses; What is important is what the illustration is for. This is not a story about how to create an image, but about what the image's purpose is.

A commercial illustration might use traditional techniques: it's drawn with pencil, ink, and paint. Or it can be created in digital programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate and others.

Some illustrators use a mixed technique: drawing with a pencil, for example, then manipulating the image on a computer. There are also people who use collage and engraving techniques. You can use any technique; It depends on the purpose of the job and the illustrator's preference.

6. How to Become a Professional Illustrator

It all depends on the area in which you want to develop and which technology you will use. To be an illustrator, it is important that you be able to draw. But today it is not the main thing, because there are illustration techniques that are not directly related to drawing. But you will definitely need a good knowledge of composition, color and perspective, and lots of practice.

There are many online courses and universities where you can get an education. I recommend courses that focus on the basics of composition and the ability to work with text rather than techniques and materials

Knowledge of the basics of marketing, work skills. With the client and understanding the subtleties of the law will be a good help.


Illustration is a very interesting field, and at the same time contains a lot of creativity and works closely with clients and designers. But the joy of seeing your work printed in a magazine or on a shelf in a store is incomparable!

Good luck and patience on this difficult but very enjoyable journey.