Who Is An Illustrator?

Have you every wondered what it means to be an illustrator? According to Wikipedia, “An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea.” Of course this is the simplest most pared down definition.

Illustration blends the lines between designer and artist. When I was in design school at Auburn, we didn’t have an illustration major or minor. Some of my design classes had more of an illustration component than others. I also took illustration specific courses. Illustration is definitely a part of design but not all designers are illustrators and not all illustrators are designers. I’ve always had a propensity to drawing so I consider myself a designer and an illustrator.

If you’re still not sure on what an illustrator does, stay with me as I share some of my favorite illustrations in varying styles and applications.


You most likely have illustrations all over your house. Many times the cover on books is an illustration (and duh, children’s books!). You will also see illustrations accompanying articles in magazines. Jackie Magpie / Jen Collins


Illustrated recipes have been a thing here recently. You might also think about all those info graphics that have been popping up all over the place, those were probably made by an illustrator/designer. Corina Nika / Bene Rohlmann


Illustrations can kind of be like doodles, small and quick. I’m really into simple but smart designs. Emily Isabella / Unknown


A variety of materials and techniques like collage, watercolor, and stamping are used in illustration. Illustrations are sometimes turned into surface design like fabric or wallpaper. Brittany / Bouffants & Broken Hearts


These days (as in the technological era) illustrations can be colorized, enhanced, or entirely made on the computer. The best illustrations to me are the ones that are definitely started by hand. Once you have trained your eye you can spot the difference most of the time. Charlotte Farmer / Josh LaFayette (Classmate/Friend of mine from Auburn. Hey buddy!)


Illustrators usually have a recognizable “style.” This is either within their subject matter, materials, or the types of marks they make. Lynnie Zulu / Samantha Hahn

illos7Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the image is an illustration, fine art, or both. It’s all subjective y’all. Angela Dalinger / Bella Foster

I hope you’ve learned a thing or two or at least enjoyed looking at pretty pictures. If you want to see more of my favorite illustrations head on over to my illustration Pinterest board. You can also check out some of my work in the ol’ portfolio.

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