I have a weakness for good science fiction and fantasy illustration. You could say it is a driving force that keeps me creating. Seeing fantastic things that never existed or imagining things that may someday exist is very compelling.This blog entry is connected to IllustrationFriday.com.

This is your introduction into my love for illustration. Occasionally I have shown you my quick sketches or sketch book entries. This is actually the first time I have brought up my illustration background in this blog. It is really no different than a watercolor painting, a comic strip, or even a one panel humor bit. All employ my creativity, but engage me in different ways. I will share with you some brief insights into what illustration is about. Perhaps you can use this knowledge when you create as well.

Illustration Is Art.
Much to my dismay many people want to compare the proper fine art to that of commercial art. Both have the same agenda, to make money for the creator. The only difference is the way they are sold. Sometimes the "fine artist" has less freedom than the illustrator. It all depends on intent.

Illustration Is About The Story.
Illustration on its own may or may not communicate the message it is intended to share with the world. With the back story, illustration will thrive. It is about the narrative.

Illustration Is Found Outside of Commercial Art.
You could say that classic art, especially oil paintings and sculpture, are examples of illustration. They fit the narrative mold. Many folk artists who only created art because it was an itch they had to scratch also narrated stories through their art.

Illustration Has a Decipherable Message.
Unlike conceptual art of the modern and post-modern era, illustration has one purpose alone--the message. If it is not communicated clearly, it may still be art, but it is not an illustration.  

Illustration Has a Diversity of Styles.
There is no set style to illustration. It has changed and grown over the years. Materials have changed along with technology that allows you to make sleeker art, but the media was never the focus. The message was central.

Illustration Has a Diversity of Applications.
Illustration as I said above can be found outside of commercial art. It is also applied to everything from movie animatics to comic strips to how-to books and even toys. As an artform illustration is very flexible.

Though far from exhaustive, this list above represents the major points on what illustration is about. Perhaps when you look at a book cover or Greek statue or any other message baring image you will think differently about what the story is behind it.

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