Digital Illustration In media

What is illustration

Illustration is a form of art that aims to serve a purpose, which could be a story, a design or an advertisement. We use illustration in order to bring a creative and entertaining side to try and send a form of message to the viewer or audience, which is why it is commonly used in different kinds of media; like Youtube, social media and advertisement. it differs to art and graphic design because illustration is used to tell a story or send some sort of message whereas graphic design is to create something that will form into a brand, illustration isn't limited like that, however it is more limited than art because art doesn't have to serve any purpose at all.

"Illustration beats explanation"

Western Engraving & Colortype Co. (1916)

This quote shows the necessity for Illustration in our forms of media communication, because it is a super way of portraying a point.

Examples of digital illustration in media

Lloyds TSB

Lloyds TSB is a bank with a large number of branches all over the country, they have used illustration in their advertisement and this has been successful because it has made the company highly recognisable, because it is different to what someone would expect from a bank advert and this creates an interest. This works as an example because it is digital illustration within a advertisement.

John Lewis

The Bear and the Hare.

Over the Christmas period John Lewis introduced the Bear and the Hare to advertise their products, this worked best as a digital illustration with how endearing it became, and a story like the Bear and the Hare would have been much more difficult to create without digital illustration. It also made the story of the advert more quaint and child-like, making it more endearing for an audience, because it was released over Christmas this style fit especially well in a family themed advert which is part of why it became so popular.


In this instance Nestle has made a product aimed at children because they are powdered milkshakes, digital illustration is used well here because children respond more to something colourful and fun like a cartoon rather than a factual advert or something live action that won't hold their attention long enough for them to want to get the product. Illustration makes it easy to create something cute and endearing as well, which particularly shows in this design.

Mr Muscle

In this advertisement media it is advertising a cleaning product, and I think the illustration works particularly well in this because cleaning products are seen as a boring and this adds some creativity which will separate it to other products that are similar. In this the illustrations allows for the advertisers to use bright and significant colours that will complement the whole design, and become memorable for a customer.


This is an example of illustration used on social media, it is used in a way to tell a story and works better than using live action because it creates a dynamic, and also makes it easy to recreate scenes in the stories. It's also easy to know the channel because of the memorable illustrations he uses, it has made a theme for his channel and means that when he collaborates with other Youtubers that make similar content he will be easily recognisable and it brings more attention to his channel.

The way illustration is used in advertisement

Illustration tends to be used to bring a fun and creative element to products and through that people are attracted to the product and advert. They work especially well in adverts for children because cartoons are something they respond very well to. Illustrations are used in advertisement to create logos as well, this means the company will have something that a customer can relate to them, and the company will become memorable. This means that they can create a brand through their illustrations and include it in their graphic design.

Some advantages of digital imagery over other forms of media

Illustrative work can be superior to other forms for a number of reasons, one of the reasons is the creativity it can bring to something that would otherwise be considered boring, this means the audience it is aimed at isn't just looking at information, there's some interest created. Illustration can be better than something like an Art piece because illustration has a purpose to fulfil whereas an Art piece is just purely for the aesthetic. Illustration is also better in adverts than live action in the way that it can achieve more, there is only so much you can do with live action but with digital illustration it's easy to create things like animal characters which children would like a lot more than seeing real actors. digital illustration means whatever it's used in will be potentially more colourful and entertaining than the majority of other options, and because it means using a particular style it makes it much more memorable.

Five of my illustrative pieces of work

Pirate Ship

In this illustration I used a mixture of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, I started out on Illustrator with the pen tool to create the shapes and added the colour and shading on Photoshop. I like the shading on this, particularly on the beach, however I don't like the sky, I wanted it to look like I'd used paint brush strokes but I think it needed to be done neater and it just looks a little unfinished. Something I do like about it is the filters I used to try and bring out the colours and I found this worked really well, and just added a finishing touch it needed to bring it out some more. I also liked the use of the burn tool in this which is what I used for the shading, in a lot of my illustrations I struggle to create depth but I think I was fairly successful in this piece. Overall I really like this and the brush strokes worked in creating depth and texture, I would like to continue with styles like this it is just quite difficult to get right without a drawing tablet.

Night Lake View

In this illustration I wanted to create the image of a lake but I think I should have done the lake differantly because it's not obvious that it is a lake, I designed it with the pen tool and a gradient to try and show depth, I also used a gradient on the land around the lake which I think worked well. another improvement I think I could have made would be to add more of the weeds so it would look more natural and authentic, something I could have done to make it much easier for myself would have been to make the weeds a paintbrush and then placed them down where I wanted them with ease. However I like the stars I made, and they were made through the paintbrush tool which I altered the sizes of for each star. Something I also think was successful is the choice to stick with a theme of colour, I was worried it would make it dull but I think it allowed for easy shading and more ways to show depth. Overall I think the set up and styles work in this, it just could use some more detail and time spent into it.


This illustration was also made with a mixture of illustrator and photoshop, similar to my pirate ship design. I used a gradient on the background to create the glare from the sun and I think that looks good, however I think some of the shading I made with the burn tool could have been done better, I think it's a little messy and not very realistic. The shark fin could have used some shading as well, because it looks a little like it doesn't belong In the design. I should have made a reflection in the water of the ice caps as well, because they look unnatural in the way they are sitting on top of the water, I could have done that in photoshop. I made a reflection in the water with a gradient on a paintbrush and I though it worked well because it blended in and still created the effect I wanted. Overall I like this design and I think it has a nice setting it could just use more careful shading and maybe a little more texture.


For this design I originally wanted to create a foggy scene on an ocean but I liked the idea of being above the sky more as I went into the design, I made the sky with a gradient to make it less of a harsh transition into the clouds and I made the clouds with the paintbrush tool, and altered the opacity. I also added stars with the paintbrush tool and altered the sizes for each one to create a dynamic look. I like this design but I think it the U.F.O needed to be at a better focal point, it just became hard to change because I did all the clouds first. I also think the U.F.O could have used a gradient to look a little less flat and bring in a bit more of a dynamic. Overall I like the design but it would probably work better as a background where it doesn't need to be focused on and become the centre of attention, because the U.F.O doesn't take centre-stage.

Logo Design

I made this to create a logo design for my enhance account and I went through a few designs before I decided on one, which ended up being the one on the bottom right, to improve I would have liked to make the colours a little more bright and eye catching, the logo seems dull. I think the font I chose looks good, I wanted to use something that looks familiar to my signature and I think it helped give it a professional look. Something I don't like about this is that there are a lot of logos similar to this, however I wanted to create something that resembled my name. Another thing I thought was successful in this illustration is the I used in the final one, I think it added something the logo needed for it to be interesting. Overall I just think that the logo needs to be brightened up for it to look significant and work in it's own style.

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