An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games and films.
The origin of the word “illustration” is late Middle English (in the sense ‘illumination; spiritual or intellectual enlightenment’): via Old French from Latin illustratio, from the verb illustrate.
Contemporary illustration uses a wide range of styles and techniques, including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, montage, digital design, multimedia, 3D modelling. Most illustrators work on a freelance basis.
Depending on the purpose, illustration may be expressive, stylised, realistic or highly technical.
Specialist areas include:
Technical and scientific illustration communicates information of a technical or scientific nature. This may include exploded views, cutaways, fly-throughs, reconstructions, instructional images, component designs, diagrams. The aim is "to generate expressive images that effectively convey certain information via the visual channel to the human observer"
Technical and scientific illustration is generally designed to describe or explain subjects to a nontechnical audience, so must provide "an overall impression of what an object is or does, to enhance the viewer's interest and understanding".
In contemporary illustration practice, 2D and 3D software is often used to create accurate representations that can be updated easily, and reused in a variety of contexts.
In the art world, illustration has at times been considered of less importance than graphic design and fine art.
Today, however, due in part to the growth of graphic novel and video game industries, as well as increased use of illustration in magazines and other publications, illustration is now becoming a valued art form, capable of engaging a global market.
Original illustration art has been known to attract high prices at auction. The US artist Norman Rockwell's painting "Breaking Home Ties" sold in a 2006 Sotheby's auction for USD15.4 million. Many other illustration genres are equally valued, with pinup artists such as Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, for example, also attracting high prices.
The illustrations of medieval codices were known as illuminations, and were individually hand drawn and painted. With the invention of the printing press during the 15th century, books became more widely distributed, often illustrated with woodcuts.
1600s Japan saw the origination of Ukiyo-e, an influential illustration style characterised by expressive line, vivid colour and subtle tones, resulting from the ink-brushed wood block printing technique. Subjects included traditional folk tales, popular figures and every day life. Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanazawa is a famous image of the time.
During the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe, the main reproduction processes for illustration were engraving and etching. In 18th Century England, a notable illustrator was William Blake (1757–827), who used relief etching. By the early 19th century, the introduction of lithography substantially improved reproduction quality.
In Europe, notable figures of the early 19th Century were John Leech, George Cruikshank, Dickens illustrator Hablot Knight Browne, and, in France, Honoré Daumier. All contributed to both satirical and “serious” publications. At this time, there was a great demand for caricature drawings encapsulating social mores, types and classes.
The British humorous magazine Punch (1841–2002) built on the success of Cruikshank's Comic Almanac (1827–1840) and employed many well-regarded illustrators, including Sir John Tenniel, the Dalziel Brothers, and Georges du Maurier. Although all fine art trained, their reputations were gained primarily as illustrators.
Historically, Punch was most influential in the 1840s and 1850s. The magazine was the first to use the term "cartoon" to describe a humorous illustration and its widespread use led to John Leech being known as the world's first "cartoonist". In common with similar magazines such as the Parisian Le Voleur, Punch realised good illustration sold as well as good text. With publication continuing into the 21st Century, Punch chronicles a gradual shift in popular illustration, from reliance on caricature to sophisticated topical observation.
From the early 1800s newspapers, mass market magazines, and illustrated books had become the dominant consumer media in Europe and the New World. By the 19th century, improvements in printing technology freed illustrators to experiment with color and rendering techniques. These developments in printing effected all areas of literature from cookbooks, photography and traveling guides, as well as children's books. Also, due to advances in printing, it became more affordable to produce color photographs within books and other materials.  By 1900, almost 100 percent of paper was machine-made, and while a person working by hand could produce 60-100lbs of paper per day, mechanization yielded around 1,000lbs per day. Additionally, in the 50 year period between 1846 and 1916, book production increased 400% and the price of books was cut in half.
In America, this led to a "golden age of illustration" from before the 1880s until the early 20th century. A small group of illustrators became highly successful, with the imagery they created considered a portrait of American aspirations of the time. Among the best known illustrators of that period were N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle of the Brandywine School, J. C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, and James Montgomery Flagg.
Media related to Illustrations at Wikimedia CommonsBook frontispiece
A frontispiece in books is a decorative or informative illustration facing a book's title page—on the left-hand, or verso, page opposite the right-hand, or recto, page. While some books depict thematic elements, other books feature the author's portrait as the frontispiece. In medieval illuminated manuscripts, a presentation miniature showing the book or text being presented (by whom and to whom varies) was often used as a frontispiece.Book illustration
The illustration of manuscript books was well established in ancient times, and the tradition of the illuminated manuscript thrived in the West until the invention of printing. Other parts of the world had comparable traditions, such as the Persian miniature. Modern book illustration comes from the 15th-century woodcut illustrations that were fairly rapidly included in early printed books, and later block books. Other techniques such as engraving, etching, lithography and various kinds of colour printing were to expand the possibilities and were exploited by such masters as Daumier, Doré or Gavarni.Botanical illustration
Botanical illustration is the art of depicting the form, color, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolor paintings. They must be scientifically accurate but often also have an artistic component and may be printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media or sold as a work of art. Often composed in consultation with a scientific author, their creation requires an understanding of plant morphology and access to specimens and references.Concept art
Concept art is a form of illustration used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books, or other media before it is put into the final product. Concept art usually refers to world-building artwork used to inspire the development of media products, and is not the same as visual development art or concept design, though all three are often confused.
Concept art is developed through several iterations. Multiple solutions are explored before settling on the final design. Concept art is not only used to develop the work, but also to show the project's progress to directors, clients and investors. Once the development of the work is complete, concept art may be reworked and used for advertising materials.Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is the last developed of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric order which was the earliest, followed by the Ionic order. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order. The Corinthian, with its offshoot the Composite, is the most ornate of the orders. This architectural style is characterized by slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. There are many variations.
The name Corinthian is derived from the ancient Greek city of Corinth, although the style had its own model in Roman practice, following precedents set by the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus (c. 2 AD). It was employed in southern Gaul at the Maison Carrée, Nîmes (illustration, below) and at the comparable podium temple at Vienne. Other prime examples noted by Mark Wilson Jones are the lower order of the Basilica Ulpia and the arch at Ancona (both of the reign of Trajan, 98–117 AD) the "column of Phocas" (re-erected in Late Antiquity but 2nd century in origin), and the "Temple of Bacchus" at Baalbek (c. 150 AD).Cover art
Cover art is a type of artwork presented as an illustration or photograph on the outside of a published product such as a book (often on a dust jacket), magazine, newspaper (tabloid), comic book, video game (box art), DVD, CD, videotape, or music album (album art). The art has a primarily commercial function, for instance to promote the product it is displayed on, but can also have an aesthetic function, and may be artistically connected to the product, such as with art by the creator of the product.Erotic art
Erotic art covers any artistic work that is intended to evoke erotic arousal or that depicts scenes of sexual activity. It is a type of erotica and includes drawings, engravings, films, paintings, photographs, and sculptures, and writing.Graphic design
Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging and signage.Graphics
Graphics (from Greek γραφικός graphikos, "belonging to drawing") are visual images or designs on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, screen, paper, or stone to inform, illustrate, or entertain. In contemporary usage, it includes a pictorial representation of data, as in computer-aided design and manufacture, in typesetting and the graphic arts, and in educational and recreational software. Images that are generated by a computer are called computer graphics.
Examples are photographs, drawings, Line art, graphs, diagrams, typography, numbers, symbols, geometric designs, maps, engineering drawings,
or other images. Graphics often combine text, illustration, and color. Graphic design may consist of the deliberate selection, creation, or arrangement of typography alone, as in a brochure, flyer, poster, web site, or book without any other element. Clarity or effective communication may be the objective, association with other cultural elements may be sought, or merely, the creation of a distinctive style.
Graphics can be functional or artistic. The latter can be a recorded version, such as a photograph, or interpretation by a scientist to highlight essential features, or an artist, in which case the distinction with imaginary graphics may become blurred. It can also be used for architecture.Hentai
Outside of Japan, hentai (変態 or へんたい; listen English: ; lit. "pervert") is anime and manga pornography. In the Japanese language, however, "hentai" is not a genre of media but any type of perverse or bizarre sexual desire or act. For example, outside of Japan a work depicting lesbian sex might be described as "yuri hentai", but in Japan it would just be described as "yuri".
The word is short for hentai seiyoku (変態性欲), a perverse sexual desire. The original meaning of hentai in the Japanese language is a transformation or metamorphosis. The implication of perversion or paraphilia was derived from there. Both meanings can be distinguished in context easily.Holotype
A holotype is a single physical example (or illustration) of an organism, known to have been used when the species (or lower-ranked taxon) was formally described. It is either the single such physical example (or illustration) or one of several such, but explicitly designated as the holotype. Under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), a holotype is one of several kinds of name-bearing types. In the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) and ICZN the definitions of types are similar in intent but not identical in terminology or underlying concept.
For example, the holotype for the butterfly Lycaeides idas longinus is a preserved specimen of that species, held by the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. An isotype is a duplicate of the holotype and is often made for plants, where holotype and isotypes are often pieces from the same individual plant or samples from the same gathering.
A holotype is not necessarily "typical" of that taxon, although ideally it should be. Sometimes just a fragment of an organism is the holotype, particularly in the case of a fossil. For example, the holotype of Pelorosaurus humerocristatus (Duriatitan), a large herbivorous dinosaur from the early Jurassic period, is a fossil leg bone stored at the Natural History Museum in London. Even if a better specimen is subsequently found, the holotype is not superseded.Illustrator
An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea. The illustration may be intended to clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually, which is the reason illustrations are often found in children's books.Illustration is the art of making images that work with something and add to it without needing direct attention and without distracting from what they illustrate. The other thing is the focus of the attention, and the illustration's role is to add personality and character without competing with that other thing.Illustrations have been used in advertisements, architectural rendering, greeting cards, posters, books, graphic novels, storyboards, manuals, business, magazines, shirts, video games, tutorials, and newspapers. A cartoon illustration can add humor to stories or essays.Isometric projection
Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in technical and engineering drawings. It is an axonometric projection in which the three coordinate axes appear equally foreshortened and the angle between any two of them is 120 degrees.Masking (illustration)
The masking effect or masking is a visual style, dramatic convention, and literary technique described by cartoonist Scott McCloud in his book Understanding Comics in the chapter on realism. It is the use of simplistic, archetypal, narrative characters, even if juxtaposed with detailed, photographic, verisimilar, spectacular backgrounds. This may function, McCloud infers, as a mask, a form of projective identification. His explanation is that a familiar and minimally detailed character allows for a stronger emotional connection and for viewers to identify more easily.
It is used in animation, comics, illustration, video games (especially visual novels) and other media. It is common in Western graphic novels and Japanese comics and animation. The psychology behind the masking effect has been extended to rendering antagonists in a realistic manner in order to show their otherness from the reader.Paperboard
Paperboard is a thick paper-based material. While there is no rigid differentiation between paper and paperboard, paperboard is generally thicker (usually over 0.30 mm, 0.012 in, or 12 points) than paper and has certain superior attributes such as foldability and rigidity. According to ISO standards, paperboard is a paper with a grammage above 250 g/m2, but there are exceptions. Paperboard can be single- or multi-ply.
Paperboard can be easily cut and formed, is lightweight, and because it is strong, is used in packaging. Another end-use is high quality graphic printing, such as book and magazine covers or postcards. Paperboard is also used in fine arts for creating sculptures.
Sometimes it is referred to as cardboard, which is a generic, lay term used to refer to any heavy paper pulp–based board, however this usage is deprecated in the paper, printing and packaging industries as it does not adequately describe each product type.Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators is a professional society based in New York City. It was founded in 1901 to promote the art of illustration and, since 1959, has held an annual exhibition.Technical illustration
Technical Illustration is the use of illustration to visually communicate information of a technical nature. Technical illustrations can be components of technical drawings or diagrams. Technical illustrations in general aim "to generate expressive images that effectively convey certain information via the visual channel to the human observer".Technical illustrations generally have to describe and explain the subjects to a nontechnical audience. Therefore, the visual image should be accurate in terms of dimensions and proportions, and should provide "an overall impression of what an object is or does, to enhance the viewer’s interest and understanding".Type (biology)
In biology, a type is a particular specimen (or in some cases a group of specimens) of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, a type is an example that serves to anchor or centralize the defining features of that particular taxon. In older usage (pre-1900 in botany), a type was a taxon rather than a specimen.A taxon is a scientifically named grouping of organisms with other like organisms, a set that includes some organisms and excludes others, based on a detailed published description (for example a species description) and on the provision of type material, which is usually available to scientists for examination in a major museum research collection, or similar institution.Vector graphics
Vector graphics are computer graphics images that are defined in terms of 2D points, which are connected by lines and curves to form polygons and other shapes. Each of these points has a definite position on the x- and y-axis of the work plane and determines the direction of the path; further, each path may have various properties including values for stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill. Vector graphics are commonly found today in the SVG, EPS and PDF graphic file formats and are intrinsically different from the more common raster graphics file formats of JPEG, PNG, APNG, GIF, and MPEG4.