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What Does Illustration Mean?


Have you ever had the thought: what does illustration mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term illustration means something that serves to illustrate: such as a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive or an example or instance that helps make something clear.

The definition of illustration is clear. It is to make something visual that provides information more straightforwardly, but why are illustrations so crucial today? 

The Importance Of Illustrations

We live in a visual world. Walk down the street, unlock your iPhone or turn on the TV, and everywhere you will find visual imagery.

Information, when presented in colours and shapes helps us to understand complex ideas and concepts much more quickly than if it were to be in written or numerical form.

We’ve all had to sit through a long class or meeting that bores us half to death but throw in a video, some multimedia, or a well-put-together Powerpoint presentation, and you’re suddenly more interested. Like your writing teacher taught you when writing fiction, “show, don’t tell.” 

Types of illustration

Illustrations are more than just diagrams and photographs; they’re art and come in many forms. For those interested in fine art or just art in general, you may be wondering what types of illustrations exist and what their differences and similarities might be.

Drawing, carving and painting are some traditional types of illustration that might come to mind, but here are some other forms of illustration you might not have thought about:

  • Block illustration
  • Charcoal illustration
  • Ink illustration
  • Woodcut illustration
  • Watercolour illustration
  • Advertising Illustration
  • Scientific illustration
  • Pencil Illustration
  • Collage Illustration
  • Acrylic Illustration

As tools and humans have evolved, so have illustration and art. People now have the means to express their ideas and concepts in creative and dynamic ways. 



Illustrations are information in visual form.

From the picture books, you read as a child to the art in a museum. Illustrations range from artistic to scientific.

We need illustrations to interpret information and see things in visual form. Without them, life would feel pretty boring, wouldn’t it?


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