Definition of Illustration Image: Purpose, Type, Function and Role

Definition of illustration images – When talking about images, of course there are many types of images. Of the many types of images, one of the types of images that many people like is illustrative images. Then, what exactly is meant by illustration? For those of you who want to know more about illustrative images, then you can see this article to the end, Readers.

Definition of Illustration

Drawing illustrations can be said as an activity that aims to clarify story ideas or narratives, where the main goal is to clarify, strengthen, reinforce and beautify the story both from the news and from the message. In creating an illustration, a graphic designer will certainly need a strong mind to combine design elements. So they can produce something different from the others.

Illustration comes from the Dutch language ( illustratie ) which means decoration with a picture or making something clear. The average use of this illustration is in the form of a book in cartoon form. Illustration as the highest element as an attraction in the design of a book. With an illustration, it will help readers imagine when reading a book. In other words, it is hoped that the meaning or message in the book can be conveyed more easily.

Meanwhile, according to the Big Indonesian Dictionary, an illustration is a picture to help clarify a book, essay and others. Then, the illustration is also an image, design or decorative diagram. In addition, the KBBI also says that an illustration is an additional explanation to explain an explanation.

Illustrative images are also images that provide explanations or tell the story or written text, so that illustrations are not only used as a means of supporting the story, but can also decorate empty space.

Examples include tabloids, magazines, newspapers and so on. Apart from that, illustrations can also take various forms such as painting, graphics, cultural, sketch artwork and even recently many have used bitmap images to work on a photograph.

With illustrations, it will be communicative, informative which is easy to understand, arouse feelings and desires, new ideas that are original are not plagiarism, have strong appeal and have good quality in manufacturing techniques and artistic value.

So, it can be said that illustration itself is a visual form of text and sentences by clarifying the scene description in a story. So that the picture in general will explain the character or the whole of the story. Not only that, illustrations also serve to attract readers so that reading interest increases.

Purpose of Using Illustration Images

The purpose of using illustrations is as follows:

  1. Illustrations will make it easier for Readers who read to remember the ideas and concepts that have been conveyed through the existing illustrations.
  2. Illustrations will provide variations on teaching materials, so that they become more motivating, interesting, communicative and better understand the Readers who are reading to be able to understand a message.
  3. Illustrations are used to clarify information or messages conveyed.
  4. In addition, illustrations can also save presentation. Because with illustrations, it can present a complex and broad concept in a limited space or place.

Types of Illustration Images

After discussing the meaning of illustration images and also their purpose, then at this point, we will discuss the types of illustration images.

1. Naturalist illustrations 

A naturalist illustration is an image that has the same color and shape as reality without adding or subtracting the image.

2. Figure decorative illustration

Decorative illustration image is an image that has a function to decorate something with a simplified form or vice versa, exaggerated. In this decorative illustration image made with a certain style as style .

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3. Cartoon image

Cartoon images are images that have certain characteristic forms or are funny. It is usually used to decorate children’s magazines, illustrated stories and comics.

4. Draw a caricature

A caricature image is an image of satire or criticism or input which in its depiction has experienced a storage form of body proportions.

5. Illustrated stories

Picture story is a kind of comic or picture with text. The techniques for drawing comic strips are based on stories with various interesting depiction points of view.

6. Textbook illustration

In illustration, textbooks have a function to explain a text or a description of an event, both scientifically and in part pictures. The illustrations for this textbook have forms in the form of natural images, photographs or in the form of charts.

7. An imaginary illustration

As an image of the processing of creativity imaginatively or imaginatively. This depiction technique is commonly found in story illustrations, novels, romance and comics.

Illustration Image Function

Illustrative also has several functions, including:

1. Descriptive Function

The descriptive function is to replace a description of something narratively and verbally by describing or using long sentences. With the existence of illustrations can be used to describe so that it will be easier to understand and faster.

2. Expressive Functions

This function can express and show an intention, feeling, idea, abstract concept or situation to be real in a precise and striking manner so that it will be easily understood quickly.

3. Analytical or Structural Functions 

This illustration shows the details of one part with another in detail so that it will also be easy to understand.

4. Qualitative function

This function is used in commonly used illustrations, such as tables, lists, cartoons, graphs, pictures, sketches, symbols, and schematics.


Illustrated Figure Roles

Illustration is an art that has a role and purpose in conveying a certain purpose in order to explain the events that occur. The role of illustration, among others:

1. Can attract attention

In a magazine or book that is not accompanied by illustrations, it is less attractive, will be bland and the reader’s interest will decrease. However, if it is accompanied by an illustration, it will further invite the reader’s interest.

2. Make it easy to read the text clearly

The presence of illustrations in a story can cause the text to be read clearly, periodically then attention will also lead to illustrations. At the same time trying to find the relationship between the text and the illustration, during this process the two hemispheres of the brain are also involved in storing more memory of the newly incoming information.

3. Expressing the meaning of text or information

Provide a visual picture of what is in the content of a piece of writing related to the story being told and represent it in the form of an image. In addition, as a means of expressing the experience of an event that is expressed in an image. The characteristics of the image provide information in written form and then represent it with a representative visual image.

4. Make it easy to understand an explanation or description of an article

With illustrations, it will be easy for every reader to understand the meaning. Not infrequently, sometimes illustrations place positions as a form of understanding and explanation of an event. So, the benefit of having an illustration is to facilitate understanding of the text and describe the semantic process by providing connections for text elements in an image.

In addition to the four roles above, there are other roles of illustration, including:

5. As an information tool

With detailed, intricate shapes and black and white lines, illustrations are often used to record the physical and intellectual world. This can be found in educational books, knowledge and encyclopedias.

Illustrations are used as a tool to document and fully explain the subject being studied, from natural life to anatomy. In addition, illustration is also used as a means of reconstructing an important event in human history. For example, there is cooperation between experts and illustrators.

In general, illustration is a good medium of instruction, making information easily digestible visually. Illustrations can also explain simply to play musical instruments, sports or games to complex things, installation techniques, architectural structures and so on.

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6. As an opinion 

This role can be seen Readers in the editorial world. This has the main function of being a symbiosis with journalism in a newspaper or magazine. The contents are themed such as lifestyle, politics and issues that are currently happening. Editorial illustrations will stimulate thought and debate, present questionable arguments and make provocative statements. For example, in writings with a lifestyle theme in a magazine, illustrations are made in a light form to make it more entertaining for readers.


7. As a tool to tell stories

This illustration is often found in children’s books, graphics, novels and comics. In adult books, illustrations are also often used for book covers that function as packaging and point of sale.

This illustration style depends on the genre of a piece of writing. If Readers is going to make an illustration, it is necessary to pay attention to the balance between text and images. Readers also has to be careful whether the images created must show in detail part of the script or give a more mysterious impression to produce an interesting narrative.

8. As a means of persuasion

The role of this illustration is evident in the commercial world of advertising. For illustrations in advertising are also planned in detail. The concept of a product forms the basis of how the illustration is created. Planning communication so that the message from a product is conveyed to the audience.


9. As identity

The role of illustration as a product or company introduction context. So, illustrators will work closely with graphic designers for placement in below the line media, point of sale, packaging and others. Apart from being a brand recognition tool, illustrations also serve as the identity of a company or an organization.

In addition, the role of illustration itself is widely used in retail and promotional media, so that it will provide a visual impact related to information and promotion of a product or service. In companies, illustrations are often used to describe an abstract theme, such as products from financial companies, banks and others.

With illustrations, it will make a product more attractive and can increase interest in consumers. For example, in children’s food products. Not infrequently, at first children will be interested in the outer packaging because it has cute illustrations that make them interested in buying.

In addition to food products, illustrations are found on book covers with visual product packaging. Therefore, understanding the contents of the book is also very important in determining the visual cover of the book. Apart from being a point of sale, the function of the cover is also an existing identity and marketing strategy.

10. As design

The close relationship between design and illustration provides opportunities for illustrators to also act as designers. Some examples are toki oki, an illustration product by illustrator Simone Legno. This illustration with a fashion theme is applied to t-shirts, bags and so on. Illustrations form the basis for designing products and other visual communications.

Illustration Image Characteristics 

Besides having a role, illustration images also have characteristics. The following are the characteristics of the illustrative image.

1. There is communication

Illustration as an image that implements or provides communication of a concept or message. This illustration can be a comment or opinion on a problem.

2. There is a relationship between pictures and words

The initial function of the illustration as a complement to the text. With the interaction between text and images creates a harmony. In line with developments, illustration develops and has a broader role than just a complement.

3. As an arousing factor 

The existence of visual communication makes Readers feel something, present drama and evoke existing emotions. This factor makes people interested in an illustration and determines whether this illustration will be successful or not.

4. Mass production and print media

The purpose of creating illustrations is to ensure that the message is received or not. This production technique has advantages and disadvantages that can affect the visual appearance of an illustration. In addition, the influence of color must also be adjusted to the marketing strategy that has been implemented.

5. Displays 

Unlike the art of painting, illustrations are not to be exhibited or displayed. In general, original illustration works may differ from the final result due to the effects of print and scale issues. If Readers want to enjoy an illustration in the media, they can visit or buy such as in print media, magazines, books or where the entire virtual concept is seen in detail.

Well, that’s a discussion about the meaning of illustration images to the characteristics of illustration images. After reading this article to the end, are you interested in making illustrative images? In this all-digital era, it can be said that it makes it easy to make illustrations. Therefore, understanding the nature and role of illustration is very important, yes.