The Difference Between Drawing and Illustrating – Wise Words from Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki

Behind the scenes here at TFIB we’re tagging all over our posts, putting them in neat buckets so that the data can managed for potential future uses. Often though I struggle with how to tag certain posts. Is it art, design, illustration? Illustrator and cartoonist (her words) Jillian Tamaki has written a nice piece on the difference between drawing and illustration which hits the nail on the head, I think. Here’s a snippet.

I actually think that most people don’t realize or think about the difference between Drawing and Illustration. They think they’re the same. They’re not. Drawing is an act, whereas Illustration (as I define it) is a profession. Illustration *can* involve drawing (it can expand beyond drawing too, obviously), but it’s actually the act of thinking and problem solving. I think I’ve mentioned this before but Tim O’Brien once said something to the effect that the sketch-phase of a project IS the Illustration… I couldn’t agree more, despite my work being incredibly different from Tim O’Brien’s.

I definitely agree with Jillian and I think she explained it so well. I always tend to think of art or drawing as a personal outlet, while illustration is meant to visualize an idea and is probably something you’re getting paid for. It’s certainly a grey area but I appreciate Jillian taking a crack at trying to better define these terms.

November 9, 2012 / By