Learn about 2D illustration in Infographics, books, magazines, and more.
- The definition of an illustration is an example or instance that helps make something clear. So yes, illustration is a very broad term for all types of work, but the purpose of it all remains the same, creating clarity. Illustrations are used in so many ways, some of which include children's books, magazines and newspaper articles, comics, branding materials, medical books, technical manuals and instructions, architectural renderings, infographics, assets for video games and movies, and that's just the beginning.
In addition, illustrations can be created using all types of media from oil paint and charcoal to photo composites and CG renderings. You'll find a great collection of courses in our library for working in all kinds of media. For foundational instruction on drawing where every new illustrator should start, please check out our courses by Will Kemp. He's an extraordinary artist and will walk you through essential skills like rendering light and shadow, sketches landscapes and cityscapes and more.
When it comes to digital media, there are too many courses to mention here, but we have a fantastic learning path called Become a Digital Illustrator. This is a series of courses covering all aspects of the topic, and if you complete them all, you get a certificate of completion you can post on your LinkedIn profile. Illustration is an ever-evolving field with all kinds of opportunities. That said, it's also extremely competitive and it's changed quite a bit over the years.
For example, there are fewer opportunities in publications and newspapers, but more in gaming and web apps. If you're thinking about a career in illustration, I highly suggest you check out my interview with Marshall Arisman, the founder of the Illustration as Visual Essay master's program at the School of Visual Arts. Although he's now a renowned fine art painter, he's spent many years doing illustration and shares his insights on the current state of the industry as well as what it takes to succeed.
When thinking about an illustration career, it's important to figure out what you really enjoy doing, and the medium or mediums that work best for you. Marshall said to me, "If you can use yourself as content "and make pictures about the things "you actually know about, they're probably going to be "better pictures because they're meaningful to you." For example, are you a very precise, technically-driven person that would love to accurately visualize a piece of machinery or product? If so, watch our course, Technical Illustration: Creating a Cutaway.
This way you can hone your skills. Or do you excel at creating loosely rendered works that evoke an emotion more than a specific object or place? In that case, you may like our course, Drawing Vector Graphics: Painting with Vectors. Once you know what kind of work you enjoy, do some research so you know who the key employers are, how competitive the area you're interested in is, and the correct process for getting your foot in the door. And remember, to be a great illustrator, you need more than just beautiful work.
You need work that supports the end goal of whatever project you're working on. If it's a map, make sure it's easy to understand and use. If it's a medical illustration, it must be precise. For children's books, your job is to communicate the story and delight young readers whereas when it comes to branding, your task is to evoke a feeling for the product, person, or place you're branding. Always keep the end goal front of mind for every job and you'll make your clients very happy.
Kristin Ellison—the content manager of art and illustration at LinkedIn Learning—kicks off the course by walking through the core elements of the creative process: drawing, composition, and color. Next, she highlights the specific skills and software you'll need to successfully launch a career in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art. To wrap up, Kristin covers the business of art and illustration, sharing how to promote, present, and get paid for your work. Throughout the course, Kristin mentions additional courses you can reference to get an in-depth look at specific tools and skills.
- Learning about the core elements of the creative process
- Understanding the power of composition
- Understanding color
- Pursuing careers in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art
- Promoting and presenting your work
- Getting paid for your work