Illustration drawing is a type of drawing that represents, or reinforces written text. This can more often than not be seen in books of a historical, literary or natural world subject matter. Nowadays it is better known as technical and scientific illustration, and is done to an extremely detailed level.
Illlustration drawing goes back hundreds of years and was used in the production of posters and advertisements in the 1800-1900’s, where this was seen as a very highly skilled job. It then moved into the realms of comic books, billboards and nowadays is used extensively in the greeting cards industry and for highly finished pencil portraits.
In the early years illustration drawing was done using various mediums including pen and ink and charcoal, later to be replaced with a multitude of print processes such as lithography, woodcuts, etching and even half tone engraving.
Illustration of today is categorised into 4 clear types; Literary illustration, used in childrens books, Educational Illustration, used in the area of science literature and natural world books, Commercial Illustration, for product advertising and promotion and lastly, science fiction illustration, used in magazines and periodicals. Nowadays many of these types of illustration are done using computers and specialist graphics software packages such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and created using tools such as digital tablets. That said a lot of illustrators still lean towards a more traditional medium for their work like watercolours, pencil and pastels, even mixing in a more craft led style incorporating wood engraving and linoleum cutting
As a lot of illustration drawing can be highly detailed there is an ongoing debate to how illustration art is best categorized, should this be fine art, decorative art, or even applied art? Whatever peoples opinion, if you look back over time you can have no doubt that some of the illustration artsits from history rank alongside some of the most famous artists who ever lived.
Life drawing is one of the oldest and most traditonal types of drawing, it is the act of drawing a person, usually a nude model, live as they are in front of you, not from reference or imagination.
The main reasons the models in life drawing are nude is to get a true representation of the structure, shape and energy of a life model, whereas a clothed model is often seen as not alive, a muted version of the life beneath. Capturing this energy and life is the most crucial part of life drawing and is most effectively done without covering up the life parts of a person with lifeless clothing textures and shapes.
Another reason is the human shape and structure is very meaningful and quite fascinating to us as human beings, as it is quite rare we see and appreciated the naked human form in a non sexual way. As well as this, going back in time to some of the old masters like Da Vinci and Rembrandt, they clearly thought it was a very interesting subject, so if they think its good enough to draw then why shouldn’t we…
Obviously in history there have been some amazing drawings done of clothed people, which are still famous today. Capturing every fold and texture of clothing can make for a stunning piece of artwork. That said if you are wanting to practice your life drawing skills, your more likely to get willing models if they are allowed to remain clothed.
A lot of artists are staunch life drawing advocates and say that drawing from reference, such as photographs is a waste of time. Personally I find you can capture a more accurate representation of the subject as it is completely still and at each sitting none of the angles differ or change. The staunch life artsits would argue that drawing from reference is 2 dimensional whereas drawing from a life model is a living 3 dimensional thing.
The main idea behind emotive drawing is for the artist to depict strong emotions and feelings within their artwork. It has more of a skill than standard drawing or sketching, as the artist, as well as matering their drawing skills, they also need to be have a good understanding of human emotions, that they can then translate to their drawing. The combining of these two skills is the true skill in the art of emotive drawing.
There are 3 different Types of Emotive Drawing
The abstract style of drawing, on the face of it, does seem to be easier to project emotions onto paper, but is a lot deeper and slightly more difficult than just being expressive with a pencil. That said it is a great way for beginners to just draw quite happily with no boundaries and create what they feel. But to truly create an emotive drawing that
captures deep feelings you need to be versed in a great deal of emotional intelligence, far more than the technical aspects of drawing.
Capturing true emotion in a pencil portrait drawing is best achieved in two ways. One is to have the model or good reference of the model in front of you, depicting clearly a certain emotion or expression, then using this you can simply copy it. The other way is to draw from your imagination, but this requires an extremely high level of visualisation in your mind, as though the model is in front of you.
Drawing from a vivid memory or picture in your mind is much more difficult than using reference, irrelvant of what style of drawing you are doing. This style of drawing from memory requires your mind to be able to visualise with clarity, the subject and expression, as well as being versed in the technical aspects of accurately drawing the human stucture in a balanced way.
The style of figurative emotive drawing has a steeper learning curve than a lot of other styles of drawing. Understanding emotional intellect and communicating that emotion in a conscise way is the hardest part. That coupled with having a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the human skeletal structure & facial expressions, is why this style of drawing lends itself to be more of a subject undertaken by professional, more well established artists.
Analytical Drawing or more commonly known as technical drawing is a style of drawing where an artist will create a 2D projections of 3D objects, implemented using the rules of perspective. A lot of school teach the basics of analytical drawing in CAD or tech illustration, this is basically using the 1 and 2 point perspective rules to draw objects. As a kid I used to experiment by drawing a random shape and creating a vanishing point in the distance, then extrude each point of my shape to the vanishing point, this is very basic 1 perspective point analytical drawing. As CAD
professional this principle still remains but it is used across 1-3 perspective points to create various angles of isometric objects. The main difference is CAD professionals create highly complex objects and massively complex combinations of them.
PERSPECTIVE / TECHNICAL DRAWING
The art of perspective drawing is to convey three dimensional objects on a 2 dimensions picture plane. Perspective is the building blocks to any good piece of artwork that has a subject that is an object, building or structure.
There is three key elements to perspective; one is the size of the object and how fast it diminishes in the distance, the second is how the colour or tone changes of the object the farther away it gets from the eye, and lastly how narrow the viewpoint of the object is from the eye.
The art and science of perspective was developed and brought to life by two architects in the 15th century. Leon Baptista Alberti (1404-72) and Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446). From its inception by these two genius guys, the principles of perspective drawing remained a fundamental of western art for over 500 years. These principles were then challenged by the cubist movement in the early 20th century. No matter what kind of art you are undertaking or interested in, a basic knowledge of the fundamentals of perspective drawing is an essential knowledge to have, that will more than likely enhanced your drawing knowledge and skillset.