An illustration is a visual artwork that is frequently, but not always, meant to be mass-reproduced in print media or digital publications. Illustrations can be used in books and magazines, on postcards, on posters or in a variety of other ways.
There are multiple specializations within the broader field of illustration. A few of them are as follows, but there are others beyond these:
Fashion illustration is a technical art that’s used in the fashion industry to communicate new clothing designs for possible manufacturing. Fashion illustrations may be published in books or magazines; but, frequently, they are made without any intention of publication, and are used for internal communications among stakeholders in the garment manufacturing process. They might be distributed or passed back and forth between fashion designers, end-use retailers and garment manufacturers as a means of communicating the details of a particular garment that is being developed for mass production.
Fashion illustrations can also be made independently of the fashion industry; there are home sewists, hand knitters and hand crocheters who create fashion illustrations as a means of communicating their ideas about the projects they intend to make. And beyond that, there are many illustrators who create fashion illustrations because they want to communicate their ideas, regardless of whether anyone will ever actually use those ideas to create a finished garment or ensemble.
If you’re interested in learning the basics of fashion illustration, we invite you to check out our page on how to draw a fashion sketch.
If you’re interested in doing fashion sketching for fun, you might be interested in checking out the Fashion Angels Fashion Design Sketch Set, pictured at right. This set offers you a fun, hassle-free, easy way to get started with fashion sketching.
Botanical illustration is used to convey ideas about how plants look in their various stages of life. There are many additional possible reasons to want to study botanical illustration. For example, I’m a textile designer, and I took a botanical illustration class because I thought it would help me to do a better job of representing flowers and leaves in my textile designs. (It did!)
If you’re just interested in learning how to draw flowers and plants for fun, I recommend The Colors Of Nature: a Coloring Book, Sketch Book and Art Journal. This book isn’t strictly a botanical illustration manual, and the drawings in it are not totally lifelike illustrations. For my purposes as a textile designer, that is totally OK, because my textile designs are not usually 100 percent realistic, either. For my purposes, this is one of the most inspiring books I’ve yet found on the topic of doing nature drawing — and it’s the one I reach for most frequently when I am interested in drawing floral or botanical forms.
Architectural illustrations are used to visually communicate ideas about buildings, structures or architectural details.
There’s so much more to say about illustration; but if you’re interested in learning about illustration, hopefully the above information could help to get you started.
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Posted By: Amy Solovay
This page was last updated on 8-13-2021.