Custom illustrations inform and satisfy the visual needs of your audience. Without them, your company won’t stand a chance against its competitors.
In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about custom illustrations and how they can help your company establish a strong and compelling presence online.
What are Custom Illustrations?
Custom illustrations are visual portrayals of concepts or written text. Graphic artists make these entirely from scratch to suit the client’s specific brand identity. They can come in the form of charts, images, drawings, etc.
People’s inherent ability to understand symbols through colors, shapes and other design elements allows images to convey messages effectively without requiring them to read a full-bodied text; making illustrations more memorable for audiences even if they only had a few seconds to look at them. For this reason, most businesses choose to invest most of their money in visual marketing.
Companies benefit from custom illustrations because people have a short attention span. A moment is all you have and need to capture the attention of your audience when they pass by or scroll through your platform.
Traditional Illustration utilized tools and natural materials. Masters of the arts cultivated and refined these techniques throughout the centuries and artists continue to study them today. It includes:
1. Pencil illustration
Pencil illustration is the most popular type of illustration there is. Pencils are a very flexible medium, it provides artists a wide range of options in how they want to illustrate their vision.
It can create soft shadows and harsh lines, which can give illustrations a realistic effect if the artist has a strong attention to detail. Despite being a beginner’s medium, it can give life to complex works of art depending on the artist’s skill in portraying texture and depth.
2. Pen and ink illustration
Artists tend to level up to pen and ink after learning pencil illustrations. This medium exhibits the artist’s ability to control and make the best of mistakes because — unlike pencils — ink is unerasable.
Contrast is the key element seen in pen and ink illustrations. It also allows artists to use techniques they would otherwise have difficulty applying with pencils. Ultrafine lines, defined dots, and strokes — even splatters of ink give artworks a cleaner, clearer, and more powerful visual appeal.
3. Charcoal illustration
Charcoal makes use of charred wood on paper. Just like with pencils and ink, it relies on lines, shadows, and texture to give life to artists’ illustrations. It is a very portable medium favored by artists on the go, as ideas can be fleeting.
Artists mostly use their fingers to blend this material on paper, allowing them to make detailed, fast sketches. This gives artworks created through this medium a rough and losoe quality. Although sharpening the charcoal also achieves fine details.
4. Watercolor illustration
Watercolors are also a portable medium compared to liquid paints which require individual bottles and thinners. It is regarded as the most difficult medium to master. When applied, it has a light and translucent effect on paper. This refreshing and delicate style depicts nature and gentle scenes of life well.
Unlike oils and acrylics, watercolor is much more difficult to blend and control. Coloring mistakes are unrecoverable and can ruin the illustration in an instant. Artists often use drying as a technique to layer colors without damaging the paper, making this a time-consuming medium. But the results are always stunning.
5. Gouache illustration
Gouache is a modified version of watercolor, making the paint more opaque. This saves the artist’s time in going through the tedious drying process. It also provides illustrations with strong, solid colors which watercolors can never achieve in that time frame.
In illustrations, artists tend to do mix-media with gouache and watercolor. Applying the same gorgeous effect of the latter with bold centerpieces by the former.
6. Acrylics illustration
Acrylics are also a water-based medium that is more affordable than oil paints but gives off a similar effect. They are easier to work with because they dry much faster than oil (but not as fast as watercolors) which has a tedious drying process. They also become water-resistant after.
The lack of complexity makes this medium an artists’ favorite. They give rich, solid, and lively colors to illustrations.
7. Collage illustration
Collage illustration joins together varying pieces of illustrations of different styles and media. It is a technique that creates art out of “rubbish.” This unseemingly curated artwork appeals to audiences because of its loud and messy aesthetic.
This style of illustration highlights an artist’s resourcefulness and eye for detail and texture. If you can’t afford even the most basic art materials, scissors and a blade will suffice. It teaches us that nothing can stop a born illustrator from creating art.
The modern style of illustration is purely digital. An artist can even achieve each and every effect of traditional illustration with just their computer and drawing pad. Which is also convenient for businesses who wish to incorporate traditional styles in their visual marketing strategy. It is divided into:
1. Freehand digital illustration
‘Freehand’ simply means ‘drawn’, making illustrations unique and original to the artist you commissioned. The technology available today allows artists to execute any style of drawing and coloring with a touch of their personal style.
Professionally, digital artists can conform their style based on whatever their clients ask them to illustrate for them. These are usually created in raster format or pixels which limits the scalable size of the illustration. Making these images too big will decrease the overall quality. Common raster formats are JPG, GIF, PNG, and PSD.
2. Vector graphics
Vector graphics are the ideal illustrations used for web illustration. Unlike the previous style, images created through vector graphics don’t have pixels. They have seamless lines that are enlargeable without compromising the image quality.
Though vectors have their own cons, too. Pixels in raster formats allow illustrations to be more detailed and the lack of it in vectors makes it less so. Giving illustrations done in this style a more cartoonish feel. Some examples of vector file formats are SVG, EPS, and PDF.
How to use Custom Illustrations
1. Branding and logo
Companies are like people — they have their own identities, personality, and goals. The company’s logo and branding are the visuals that can communicate all of these to the public without having to say a single word.
By letting your custom illustrations speak on your behalf, not only will you establish your brand’s identity, but it is also a smart strategy to get recognized everywhere.
It’s a given for companies to have custom packaging. Having custom illustrations on product packaging is the easiest way to set it apart from other products in stores.
Even in a room full of clutter, an emptied product packaging can still do its intended purpose of drawing people’s attention.
Photography can be overused and the best way to give your product a new light is through custom illustrations.
After all, advertising is just selling a dream. A dream that can only be fulfilled through purchasing your amazing product. Custom illustrations are a great way to make your product seem enticing and desirable.
4. Children’s book illustrations
Like most adults, children have short attention spans and no particular care for long texts. A children’s book’s illustrations should have a clear message and an immediately understandable scenario.
It is centered around story-telling and is characterized by simple, child-like drawings. These concepts aren’t just limited to children’s books. Artists also apply this in manuals and cooking books as well.
5. Graphic novel/comics
If children’s book illustrations have basic drawings, graphic novels or comics are where graphic artists can go all-out. These exhibit mastery of design elements and perspective not to mention superior storytelling.
Graphic novels express messages and larger concepts to a wide array of audiences. Graphic novelists aren’t particularly worried about immediately capturing attention in a short time frame. They’re focused on delivering a meaningful visual experience to audiences.
Where You Can Find Custom Illustrations
1. E-Commerce Websites
Artists offer pre-made illustrations for sale on e-commerce websites like Etsy and TurboSquid, which you can then add to your ads and social media posts. With a little bit of tweaking to match your company’s color palette, you have your very own custom illustrations.
But the catch is that individual and/or sets of illustrations can be costly. If you think about it, why pay for the drawing when you can use the money to have the project done as a whole?
Freelancers in sites like UpWork are usually artists trying to make a name for themselves by building their portfolios. For business owners on a budget, this translates to affordable illustration services. Although rates vary depending on the skill of the artist you’ll commission for your design needs.
But not all artists work the same way. They each have their own style and communicating with them could be tedious. If something a little more structured is what you would prefer, then the next option might just be what you need.
If you ask agencies for custom illustrations, they’ll definitely take it to the next level. They’re the height of professionalism in the industry, catering to well-known companies left and right.
They can even make a whole campaign for you. Everything from conceptualizing and strategizing, to implementation and product launches. They’ll have packages ready for you that’ll take care of your ads, posts, commercials—the works. That is… if you’re ready to shell out thousands of dollars for a binding contract.
4. Online Subscriptions Services
If you want agency-level quality custom illustrations that are just as affordable as a freelancer, then availing a subscription from a design platform is the best option for you.
Companies like DotYeti offer design packages for as low as $499 a month. This provides companies access to unlimited design requests including custom illustrations.
Unlimited Graphic Design with DotYeti
At DotYeti, we have amazing graphic design nerds that can create any type of custom illustration you can ever ask for. Feel free to take a look at our portfolio and case studies to see if we’re the perfect fit.
We want even the smallest of businesses to have access to the best quality custom illustrations. Affordability, efficiency, and reliability are the core qualities of our services.
Check out our pricing page to see which design package fits your needs best. And if you can’t choose, you can always reach out to a Yeti for a custom package.