Drawings and Illustrations

14,931 artworks, 1,453 artists
Drawing (Middle English drawen, dragen, Old English dragan — to draw, drag, pull) is a manual application of an image on a plane using graphic means: straight and curved lines, dots, strokes or spots. Drawing is the cornerstone of all types of visual arts. The artist creates an image from life or from his memory, carefully analyzes the form and plans the spatial arrangement of the object. The combination of graphic elements creates a play of light, volume and perspective. Drawing became the basis for the development of other graphics areas — engraving and lithography.

Illustration (lat. illustratio — lighting, visual imaging) is a product of fine art that explains context of a text, an artwork, a scientific treatise or a technical document. Visual images allow the reader to quickly understand the meaning and plunge into the emotional atmosphere of the story, get a visual image of characters or objects. Artists create illustrations in strict accordance with the text, so the genre, in fact, has become a part of literary creation. In addition to the explanatory function, illustrations adorn books and magazines.

The history of drawing originates from the very origins of human civilization, when people depicted objects of the surrounding reality using coal or a piece of chalk and declared themselves as artists. The development and formation of drawing as a full-fledged art direction took place during the RenaissanceMichelangelo Buonarroti formulated the definition of drawing as “the highest point, source and soul of painting, sculpture and science”. In the 16th century, an academic system for teaching graphic art was formed, and a century later, drawing became an academic discipline in art and educational institutions. Studying drawing techniques helped novice artists master the shape, volume, line and proportions of the image. The academic subject developed along with painting genres and acquired stylistic differences: the splendour and dynamics of the Baroque, the detail and refinement of the Rococo, the severity and laconicism of Classicism, the emotionality and pathos of Romanticism and Expressionism.

Illustration as a visual direction was born around 1400 BC as explanatory pictures for the “Book of the Dead” of Ancient Egypt. The invention of printing in the 1450s brought immortality to the art of illustration. The golden age of illustrators came with the advent of books, newspapers and magazines. In the 20th century, the authors allowed themselves to move away from the strict transfer of the literary context and express the reader’s associations.

The drawings are divided according to the level of their artistic complexity and detail into croquis, sketches, studies, etc., and according to the technique of execution — into original and printed images. Craftsmen can paint on paper or cardboard, with pencil or charcoal, ink, pastel or watercolour paint. Illustrators tend to be proficient in a variety of techniques, such as painting or graphics, photomontage or computer graphics. Artists create illustrations based on location in a book or print. The cover, frontispiece and headpiece open the work, the page illustration occupies one page, and the double-spread illustration occupies two adjacent pages. The literary design contains fragmentary illustrations: decorative elements in the form of vignettes and drop caps.

Famous drawings and illustrations:
Illustrations for the “Divine Comedy” 1488 by Sando Botticelli; “Newton” 1805, “Nebuchadnezzar” 1805 by William Blake; “Hesiod and the Muse” 1857, “Leda and the Swan” 1882 by Gustave Moreau; “Kingfisher” 1871; “View of Amalfi” 1844 by John Ruskin; “Sister Alyonushka and brother Ivanushka” 1901 by Ivan Bilibin; “Cats” 1915, “A Day in the Country” 1920 by Louis Wayne.

Famous artists:
Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sandro Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens, Théodore Géricault, William Blake, John Ruskin, Gustave Moreau, Edward Lear, Louis Wayne, Ivan Bilibin.