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Illustration Styles: An Ongoing Evolution


The conceptualization behind graphic designs and illustrations is not the same. So, what could possibly be an illustration? How is it any different from graphic designs? In simpler terms, illustration means a form of art that conveys thoughts, ideas, notions and even meaning into a visual design or drawing.

There is no better way than an illustration to display and convey emotion. The digitalization in today’s world is making textual content outdated and utilizing graphics, illustrations and even animations for marketing any brand’s offerings, propositions and message. While the use of illustrations is not limited to brands, magazines, games, books and the entertainment industry alone, three unique illustration forms have faced modernism overtime.


Photorealism, belonging to the category of literal illustrations, is a popular illustration technique that emerged in the 1960s. When you create a photo-realistic illustration, you are not limited to any art style. Whether it a painting or any other sort of graphical design, photorealism works when you want to reproduce a photograph into the form of a super-realistic replica. The drawing style of photorealistic images started airbrushing and adding new effects to a photographed image. While it not surprising for people to confuse photorealistic art with a photograph, the entire concept behind this illustration style itself is to make drawings as realistic as possible.

Conceptual Illustrations

The thought and imagery behind the creation of a conceptual illustration are based on realism. However, the basis of this illustration style does not solely depend on realism instead; it also involves the incorporation of metaphors and subjective yet reality-based elements. A conceptual work of art demands for an imaginative mindset. Just like a fictional story, this illustration form needs to have creative notions of design elements. Mostly used in illustrations for fantasy artwork, games, and animations, in concept illustrations you also have to follow a certain design theme to make the overall aesthetics of the illustration less complicated.

Vector Graphics

Being a more modern-day illustration technique, vector graphics are created in both the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional spaces. Mostly used in websites, infographics, and social media sites, vector graphics are easily customizable on editing tools like Photoshop, as they need to maintain good quality. You can customize and scale vector images befitting your preferences and it will not bring an impact on its quality. Vector graphics might not look like an illustration form but its popularity in the modern day web applications is increasing its use over time.

conceptual illustration

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