“Some of the most interesting illustration work produced today defies its origins, and is a successful mixture of ‘old’ technology with ‘new’ technology.” Andrew Hall 2011
“Can we really say with confidence that the computer will only be a silent partner? Can’t some visionary artist create an illustration form that is unprecedented? Or is illustration an antiquated art that defies change and so will vanish? Film is an integral storytelling medium that bears no relationship to painting. Can the computer be an integral medium that changes the way we perceive and practice illustration?”
Steven Heller 2000
Is there a clear distinction between digital and non-digital illustration? This might be in terms of style, production or the use of interactivity. Picking up on Steven Heller’s quote, what is the future for digital illustration? Note down your thoughts in your learning log.
As a starting point you might want to look at Computer Arts magazine which celebrates digital illustration in all its forms. www.computerarts.co.uk
I looked at designing board games for my altered book project in Book Design 1: see post on Games design which has links to a number of papers on basic ideas underlying game design. See:
Computer games have been slowly developing since the early 1970s, making the transition to TV and home computers in the 1980s. Game design covers everything from online and computer games, apps for smart phones and, of course, games for consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.).
Designing games requires a whole series of skills and ways of thinking, including how to construct nonlinear narratives that allow users to make choices within a game. This also requires an understanding of different coding languages.
The games themselves vary greatly in content, visual style and technical underpinning. Some can be made at home. For example in Flash see http://www.flash-game-design.com and
Others require teams of specialist technicians, equipment and 3D animation software like Maya, 3DSMax or Cinema 4D.
Illustrators are involved in various ways, from the visualising of live action through storyboarding to the development of characters and scenery, the creation of animated elements or directing the whole feel and aesthetic of a game.
Interactive illustration and animation
Illustrators have also creatively explored interaction by developing websites that blend illustration and animation, interaction and storytelling. Interactive elements for websites, mobile phone apps or other digital interfaces involve code to activate animated movements on a click of a button or hover states that make people feel computers are being responsive.
For an interactive Flash-based website that I developed for my work see:
Another recent development for illustrators is the growth of digital greetings cards which also give the opportunity to explore animations and interactive elements. See sites like:
They are therefore often (and unnecessarily) rather visually limited. This is partly to reduce filesize and bandwidth to be viewed on devices like mobile phones – though download speeds in Western and Asia urban areas are rapidly increasing. As in Games design, illustrators generally work with someone who has good command of scripting languages.