There deeper level. The interesting thing about

There are many variations of the definition of Illustration
but one example I found sums it up perfectly: An illustration is any graphic such
as a drawing, painting or printed work of art which explains and depicts a
subject or concept, illuminates, visually represents, or simply decorates a
written text, which may be a literacy or commercial nature. The word
illustration itself comes from the Latin word illustra’stro which means
enlighten. Printing is the current most popular process for reproducing
illustrations, usually consisting ink on paper using a printing press. The main
aim of illustrations is to explain a story or any piece of information by
providing a visual representation of something outlined in the text.
Illustrations can be created using different techniques, like woodcut, pencil,
charcoal, watercolour, ink, gouache or collage. Illustrations are used to communicate
a message visually. From magazines, books, especially childrens books as well
as advertisements to concepts for movies, board games and videogames etc. Illustration
can be seen everywhere, from bookcovers, to cushions, coffee cups, to paper
bags, take-away boxes, to toothbrush packages, towels, wallpapers and even
scientific illustrations. Illustration is a great way to engage consumers to
experience a product on a deeper level. The interesting thing about
illustration is that one illustration can have the same power and narrative as
a thousand words. We can say that illustrations are mostly used to describe
anything in a simpler way or to connect the mind of a person better with the
content. Illustration definitely plays a major role in children’s lives and
hence illustrations are created to connect better with the mind of a kid and
incorporate a positive approach of understanding in their minds.

So how did illustration become what it is today? In order to
answer this we must look back on the history of illustration. Before
photography even existed, the only way to express and share ideas was with the
use of illustration. In recent years, illustrations had to be rather realistic
since there was no photography to serve this purpose. The biggest market for
illustration is magazines, newspapers and books. Over time, illustrators gained
more freedom allowing them to be more creative and original which is more
valued than their technical skills and ability to draw realistically.

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Since time began, people have been using images to tell
stories, going all the way back to cave paintings. Men and women would
illustrate their daily activities all over the cave walls, these would be
classes as illustration as they tell a story. Then during Middle Ages, illustrations
or ‘pictures’ emerged in illuminated manuscripts that were  used to complement and clarify the written
text. It wasn’t until the 14th century, that the mass production of
illustration started. This was made possible due to the invention of a
mechanical printing process, by Johannes Gutenberg. During the 17thand
18th centuries etchings, engravings and lithographs allowed for a much
quicker process and the ability to reach a wider audience. Britain cherished
and encouraged the talent of many popular illustrators such as William Hogarth,
who focused on socio-satirical themes, William Blake, who is known for his
religious engravings, and then George Cruickshank, who created the
illustrations for Charles Dickens’ books. During this time, printing technology
was constantly improving and more publications were being printed, distributed
and seen all over the world. This increased the exposure of illustration and it
became normal for an illustration to accompany a news article, in books or on
the cover of a book.

The golden age of illustration took place during the late
1800s and early 1900s. Numerous artworks appeared in books and magazines, both
in America and Europe. Illustrators would print and sell their artwork in
markets and shops, so their artwork was more accessible and affordable. In
Europe many illustration styles developed. Walter Crane was the main man of the
golden age, bringing rather traditional romantic illustrations that had been influenced
by Pre-Raphaelites. Children’s book illustrations became very popular by
British illustrators. Basically every child read the Peter Rabbit tale and seen
the wonderful watercolours by Beatrix Potter. The Grimm brothers’ mysterious
stories were also heavily illustrated with intriguing dark images by Arthur
Rackman. The artwork created by illustrators was centred on propaganda posters
and flyers during the troubling times of the two world wars. In the 1950s the
Push Pin studios were founded by Cooper Union classmates Seymour Chwast, Milton
Glaser and Edward Sorel. One of the most popular graphic design and illustration
studios in the world is Push Pin, which has influenced and contributed to many
artists and to the field of illustration itself.

The growing development of photography from 1970’s onwards causing
illustration to lose its place in the market. Photography took over the art
scene and became the dominant medium used in the media world. In the late 20th
century illustration declined, however the continuous evolution of computers
and the introduction of software such as Photoshop and Illustrator allowed for
the re-invention of illustration. Illustrators and graphic artists have more
control now due to the capabilities of this software, along with the
increasingly digital nature of the media world and the globalised nature of
today’s market.

The different types of illustration are divided on the basis
of the technique used. There are two major groups:  Traditional illustration and Modern style
illustration. The techniques for creating illustrations have changed gradually
over time, as materials have changed and evolved. Artists relied on materials
such as paper, paints, pencils and charcoal but with the digital era evolution
and advancement of the electronics, the possibilities for artists grew rapidly
as they started working digitally with the help of software such as Photoshop,  3DMax and Maya. Artists can use a tablet’s pen
and surface to draw and the device can transfer the image.  The digital tools and techniques imitate
traditional materials and effects achieved with them so it is easy to switch
different materials and experiment.

Traditional methods of illustrations require a lot of effort
and time. The maximum output using traditional methods is about three
illustrations per day, which is much less than what can be achieved using
digital illustration tools. With Modern Illustration methods many design firms
in the US and the UK transferred their work from outside the office to inside.
Meanwhile, the illustrators began moving out of offices and working from home
since the new technology allowed more flexibility and mobility. The new arrangement
worked well for everyone as long as everything was kept professional and produced
to the deadline.

Some illustration techniques include: 1). Woodcutting which I
one of the oldest types of illustration. Woodcutting is an ancient technique seen
in some of the world’s oldest manuscripts. This technique was distinctive due
to its contrast between dark and light areas
in the illustration, as well the big
strokes. 2) Metal etchings were created when a metal was covered
with a waxy ground resistant to acid and then the ground is scratched off with
a pointed etching needle. The plate is then dipped in acid. The plate is inked all over leaving
only the ink in the etched lines. The plate is then put through a high-pressure
printing press with a sheet of paper. The paper picks up the ink from the
etched lines, making a print. 3) Pencil illustrations are probably one of the most
popular types of illustration. Pencil allows illustrators to create soft shadows and transitions, as well
creating sharp and precise lines. 4) Charcoal illustrations are
normally used for illustrating shorts stories, fast sketches, and nooks.
Charcoal is easy to blend which allows the artist create a range of textures. 5)
Lithography is another type of illustration. Lithography is when an image is
drawn with oil, fat or wax on the surface of a level lithographic limestone
plate. 6) Watercolour illustration. 7) Gouache paint is similar to watercolour
but modified to make it opaque. It is rich, thick and a bit darker than the
shade of watercolour and it can be reworked some years later. Gouache is often
used by commercial artists for posters,
illustrations, comics, and for other design work.  8) Acrylics are one of the most preferred techniques
for beginners as it is relatively easier to work with. These paints are very versatile. 9) Collage. And last but not least is: 10) pen and ink. Illustrating with ink allows the artist to
create strong areas of contrast. Inks are easily accessible and affordable, simple
to transport and to work expressively with.