Generally speaking graphic designers usually use Illustrator and/or Photoshop to create digital illustrations. The main difference between the programs being that images created in Photoshop are usually pixel based jpegs also referred to as raster images whereas graphics designed in Illustrator are typically vector files such as pdfs. One highly significant difference is that vector art can be scaled up in size and it will not lose quality, in contrast pixel based art such as jpegs cannot be enlarged very much before becoming pixelated or bit mapped.

Raster or Vector Images?

Prior to creating an illustration it’s important to consider how the artwork could potentially be used in the future. Will the artwork ever be scaled up, perhaps appearing on a banner? Is it likely the artwork will need to be printed on a surface other than paper maybe a t shirt? If the answer to these questions is yes, then ideally your artwork should be a created in a vector format using Illustrator. However, if your image is a fixed size and will only ever be seen onscreen, a raster image such as a jpeg or png created in Photoshop will work well. The significant difference between Photoshop and Illustrator is that images created in Illustrator are extremely versatile and can be converted into virtually any other file format, whereas images designed in Photoshop are typically more limited in terms of how they can be used.

 

Illustration For Diagrams

This camera illustration was used as part of a diagram for a teaching aid. I created the image in Adobe Illustrator using a photograph for reference.

Overhead illustration of a camera which was used for a diagram.

Icon Design for Websites and Cell Phones

Icons are symbols which are created to communicate effectively when rendered on small screen sizes, such as cell phones, or tablets. The small pixel dimensions, and limited color use, keeps file sizes down, and load time fast, making them a popular option for web designers. Here’s a small selection of some of the icons I have designed and illustrated.

Eight icons demonstrating my ability to create simple illustrations.

 

Working With Illustrators

Frequently I am asked to design logos, diagrams or infographics, images which are either simple or primarily informative. If the illustrations which are required are complex or highly stylized (like you would see in a children’s book), I would source and commission a professional who works exclusively as an illustrator. Whilst working in the publishing industry it was an integral part of my role as an art editor to commission illustrators and photographers.