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There is a primary difference between designer and illustrator. While a designer organizes
pictures, typography and other visual elements in logical manner for creating appeal of a
particular topic that seeks attention, an illustrator works on one element which is developed
exclusively by him and supports an idea by showcasing its functionality. An illustration is
drawn, painted or printed art form that offers explanation, clarification or visual portrayal of
an idea or decorates the text for enhancing its commercial appeal. Realistic illustration
surfaced well before advent of photography and was used in books, newspapers etc. for
creative expression.

Types of illustration techniques

Illustrations can be categorized into traditional and modern styles. Illustration creation has
undergone change over time with availability of better expressive medium. Paints and paper
have given way to digital canvases of popular illustrative software like 3D Studio Max and


The manuscripts from ancient period that have survived today bear testimony to this
archaic technique. It gained in popularity in middle ages after printing press invention. One
master cutting carved on wooden block made it possible to mass produce books carrying
enchanting illustrations. Colour contrast and texture was depicted through darker and
lighter shades and large strokes.
Metal Etching

Steel, copper or zinc is mantled with acid resistant wax which is etched through needle in
areas where the illustrator wants shape to surface in the bare, finished metal. Acid bath of
metal leads to sinking of artistic lines in the exposed plate. After cleaning the plate, inking is
done freshly and then metallic surface is wiped off allowing the ink to settle on the etchings.
A printing press subjects the plate to intense pressure along with paper sheet wherein the
ink and texture are imprinted on the sheet. Different metal etching techniques when used
with proper ideas can pave way for different appearances with subtle lines, hatchings,
water-colouring etc.

Pencil illustration

Using richness of charcoal, sharp lining or soft shadows can be created with accuracy. There
are three ways to refine the image i.e. monochrome in which lines are clean and richly
weighted, coloured wherein soft and smooth shades are drawn, and rough for introducing
dynamism in illustration.
Charcoal illustration

Though not highly accurate, this is used for illustration of sketches and short stories wherein
an array of textures can be blended with different shadows and objects. Fingering, tissue
wiping, and smudging is generally used for creation of smooth shades. Compression of
charcoal powder with gum binder allows sharper lines to appear.


Offset lithography has superseded the technique of oily, fatty or

waxy images posted over limestone plate. You can achieve a set
level of softness and cause the colours to appear washed out.


Colour pigments are used for creation of nuances through varies transparency sheets by
altering the amount of water added to colour. Depth, space, and softness characterize the
illustrations. Colours can be splashed one above other with ease.

Gouache illustration

The gouache paint resembles watercolour but is opaque in consistency. You can use it for
accomplishing richer, thicker and heavier shades compared to water colours. In animations,
cel is opaquely coloured and then water-colour painting is used in the backdrop. Water
evaporation happens rapidly resulting in drying of painted layer faster.
Acrylic illustration

Acrylics are preferred by beginning painters due to the relative easiness with which acrylic
can be used. Effects commensurate with oils and water-colours can be accomplished. After
drying, the illustration exhibits resistance to water and can be painted on any surface type.
The versatility of acrylics can be utilized for pulling off fluorescence, metallic or other
dynamic effects.

Collage illustration

Assembling of various forms made up of varying materials into a coherent whole leads to
formation of collage. Enthralling 3D effects with depth can be pulled off by using varying
shades on layers.
Pen and Ink illustration
Heavy contrast can be achieved with inky illustration. Tinted ink is used on light surface and
then the hues are made darker for striking contrast. Expression of ideas through vibrant
illustrations is easy and fine lines can be effortlessly created. Differently weighted dots and
strokes maintained at varying distance among them allow addition of more value.

Freehand digital illustration services

Artistic expression in digital era has changed with availability of sophisticated design tools
and software. Conventional brushes, pens and different drawing mechanisms are mimicked
perfectly by modern software for producing impeccable effects. In freehand, smoothness of
light and transitioning of shadows allow complex backdrops and finer details to be produced
digitally. Quality has to be preserved before blowing up as the images are in raster format.
With vector imaging, there is flexibility of scaling the image to any shape without
compromising on quality. Vector format is suitable for online design although transition
effects are not commendable. There are several 2D and 3D software used by service
providers professionals indulged in the same.

List of illustration styles

Style can stand for a particular design genre, or individual way of artistic expression.

Concept art

In concept art, illustrations pertaining to fantasy games, animations, one-pagers etc. fall.
Disney studio used the term first and later it was progressively used in automotive industry.
Varying interpretations of a particular theme are created to facilitate varying stages of
development and illustration creation. Realistic illustrations replete with detailing or simple,
innocent or nave paintings both fall under concept art. The way illustrations are used for
narrating a scene and the focused upon group decide the fluidity of illustration.
Comics and graphic novels

Comics use images for expression of creative ideas in combination with texts and other
visually appealing materials. Image panels are placed side by side for producing striking
effect. Textual cues like captions, balloons with speech of characters embedded in them, as
well as onomatopoeia signify the interaction among comical characters and certain sound
effects. Image panel sizing and arrangement allow for imparting momentum to narration.

Books and publications

Illustration for books can be created in versatile manner and is contingent

on the way the author visualizes the books subjects and its interaction
with other elements. The focus is on making readers commit their
attention on the book, so the journey starts with the cover of the book
which carries a visual hint to what lies inside.

Advertisement illustration

Here, the illustrations are deployed for grabbing your eyeballs and
conveying an indelible impression to you. You would be spontaneously
reminded about a particular brand when the image crosses your mind.
Audiences can better relate with companys messages through spellbinding
Packaging illustration

Mostly used for differentiating a product from its competitors and contemporaries, this kind
of graphic illustration styles provide for personalized, elegant and customized appearance.

Branding illustration

Particular skill sets are used for creating specific imaging styles. A logo is the perfect
example wherein the readability of the text is not compromised despite the smaller size of
the logo. The illustrations are customarily simple yet linger in the memory for being
attention grabbers. Brand creates their unique identities through customized illustrations of
these types.

Get in touch with a reputed graphic design company to get flawless illustrations that can
excellently serve your exact purposes.