Learn What Makes Illustration Great and How to Create It for Your Business

Illustration has played a vital role on earth for as long as man has existed, from the earliest cave paintings to the most sophisticated digital works of modern art. Illustrators play a vital role in how our brains work, whether they are used to accompany literature, sell a product, or present complex data.
However, the first step to understanding the importance of illustration is knowing the different types and techniques and how the practice differs from other similar fields.
Whether you're considering hiring an illustrator for an upcoming project or becoming a professional illustrator yourself, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about this creative field.
Different Types of Illustration
To understand «what is an illustration?» we must first look at the different types of illustration and how they are used in different ways. Let's look at each definition of an illustration below.
What is an editorial illustration?
An editorial illustration is an illustration that has been drawn to help explain the concept of a text. Often editorial illustrations can be found in magazines, newspapers, books, or online resources. Editorial illustrations should always accompany text because their role is to give the content a mood, idea, or information.
They can also attract potential readers and persuade them to read the accompanying content.
What is a promotional illustration?
A promotional illustration is a type of illustration that is used in promotional materials for the primary purpose of grabbing the viewer's attention. It can be used without text or with just a company logo, but it must present a powerful message to be memorable and effective.
What is concept art?
Concept art is usually created for locations, characters, costumes, and objects used in movies, games, graphic novels, and advertisements. This style of illustration is used as a starting point to help creators define the style and design of various visual elements.
Concept art is often created in several stages and must receive feedback from multiple stakeholders. The most important thing is to choose the most appropriate image, not the prettiest one. 
What is fashion illustration?
Fashion illustration is a technique for visualizing clothing before it is produced. Fashion designers often use these drawings during the creative process.

Most fashion illustrators work on projects for fashion publications, websites, or companies to enhance the visual appeal of concepts for potential buyers. Stylists and fashion consultants also use them to help their clients make style decisions.
What is a technical illustration?
A technical illustration depicts something accurately to make it more understandable. The clarity and simplicity of drawing in the technical illustration is more important than the beauty of the image.
Drawings, technical publications, manuals, diagrams, and equipment installation images are some of the most popular formats of technical illustrations. Typically, technical illustrations are created using special programs.
What is an infographic?
An infographic is a set of pictures and diagrams accompanied by a small amount of text that helps viewers quickly understand basic facts about a topic.
Infographics not only facilitate the perception of information but also provide a large amount of data at once.
Infographics are associated with graphic design and communication, but they can also be classified as a type of illustration.
What is package illustration?
Packaging illustration helps brands sell their products, similar to advertising illustration. It should be attractive and catch the viewer's attention by emphasizing the features of the product.
The purpose of packaging illustration is to give the product a personality and help build the brand.
Packaging illustrators often coordinate with consumer safety groups to ensure that images accurately reflect products and do not put consumers at risk.
The difference between graphic design and illustration
The main difference between graphic design and illustration is how and where they are used. Graphic design is often used for commercial purposes, while illustration is more closely related to fine art.
Illustrations are a type of visual representation of written material. They can be used to demonstrate an idea, a narrative, or simply for decoration. They are created in a variety of formats, including traditional and digital.
Graphic design, on the other hand, is the art and practice of solving problems and communicating ideas through visual elements such as typography, images, color, and form. While graphic design focuses on communicating with the target audience, the value of illustration depends on creative interpretation. In addition, graphic designers are usually guided by marketing and branding tactics rather than words or narratives.

Illustrators are usually hired for their unique style and artistic ability. Graphic designers often retain their anonymity because their main goal is to express other people's ideas through conventional design elements.
However, as commercial projects have come to demand more expressive and unique images, the distinction between graphic design and illustration has become less and less clear.
The difference between art and illustration
Although illustration is closely related to fine art, both fields have their differences. To begin with, fine art focuses on aesthetics for decorative purposes, while illustration is more functional.
Illustrations are often created for business advertising, publications, and product marketing. Fine art, on the other hand, is created for personal satisfaction and public display.
Fine art is an artist's self-expression through his or her craft. It is usually created for the artist's own satisfaction, disregarding the demands of the audience. Illustration, on the other hand, is the process of creating art that portrays an idea or solves a communication problem. Its main purpose is to convey a certain message to the target audience.
What are the best illustration techniques?
The most popular illustration techniques can be divided into two categories: traditional and modern.
Illustration techniques have evolved over time as materials have changed and evolved. In the past, artists mostly worked with paper, ink, and pencils, but as the digital age has evolved, many illustrators have moved to digital technology.
How to become a professional illustrator
Whether you're just out of art school or just changing careers, the transition to professional illustration depends not only on how you present your work, but also on your skills.
Follow these tips to start your career as a professional illustrator:
1. Hone your illustration style.
Whether you want to professionally illustrate books, editorials, or greeting cards, understanding your aspirations and honing your illustration style will help you stay focused.
While you may be able to illustrate anything from realistic portraits to abstract digital art, the «jackal all-around» attitude can often mislead potential clients. It can also distract you from what you really want to focus on.
The most successful illustrators have instantly recognizable art and a distinctive point of view. If you want a career as an illustrator, the first thing you need is a permanent portfolio of work.
2. Demonstrate and do the work for which you want to get hired
If you want to get a profession doing something you are passionate about, include in your portfolio exactly the illustrations you want to keep doing. Think of your portfolio as a creative resume, and keep the end goal in mind as you compile it.
Narrowing the focus of your portfolio can help an art director determine your specialization, but if you want to work on a variety of illustration projects, you may want to take a more diverse approach.
Keep the following tips in mind when creating a portfolio:
  • Having an online portfolio is critical to building a client base.
  • A portfolio is like a menu. You should offer only what you want someone to order.
  • A slow-loading portfolio can alienate potential clients. Use full-size illustrations instead of small thumbnails that need to be enlarged, and make sure your images are optimized for the web.
Don't choose quantity over quality. Only exhibit the best work.
3. Successfully manage customer communication and expectations
The next important step is to manage communication with your customers from their expectations to determine exactly what they want you to deliver.
Understand that those who want to hire illustrators have a specific need. They may like your style, which will spark dialogue, but they are often looking for something specific. This makes effective communication and asking lots of questions even more important.
Successful illustrators are those to whom clients keep coming back for more work. To achieve this, make sure that you always meet your deadlines. Also, keep your clients, art director or editor informed of your successes.
Enjoy an exciting journey in illustration.
As you have learned, there is much more to illustration than meets the eye. From the different meanings of illustration to the wide range of illustrative techniques, you now have a deeper understanding of the elements that make up illustration and how they work together to create an expressive and emotional work of art.
If you're thinking about pursuing a career as an illustration designer, you're embarking on a challenging but exciting path. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can become a professional in this field.