Is Illustration an art?

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog.
Samhain is knocking on the door and we can smell the Scent of the Witch.

Scent of Witch – watercolor, ink and pencils

The story about this work is quite funny: I was thinking about Halloween and what I could draw. In this days my friend has a new e-cigarette which steams a lot. So I was sketching and in the room and on the paper was so foggy! You know now were the idea of the smoke in the picture comes from 🙂

For this Picture I’ve used watercolors, ink, pencil, colored pencils and watercolor pencils. Look at this video if you are interested in seeing the whole painting process.

While I was drawing it I was also thinking about something I’ve often heard from professors as I was a student at the Fine Art Academy. They always told us something like “don’t do this, don’t do that”. They want to teach what they think, and this is great, but they didn’t clear explain why they think we schouldn’t draw/paint like that (ok not all professors were like this). In particular I’m thinking about a teacher who was always telling us “don’t draw puppets” meaning don’t draw in illustration/comic style (he thought this style is like draw people in puppet-style).
I completely disagree now, but at the time I was trying to do what professors have to teach me, even if I couldn’t really understand why he is saying that and why he doesn’t really  explain it!
I think their purpose was to teach the canonical, traditional way to paint and this is also very important if you really want to learn how to paint, but it is also important to experiment with different techniques. By my experience, it was allowed to experiment with abstract painting, putting pieces of newspaper on the canvas, but was not “allowed” to draw some illustrations (of course it was allowed, but I had to hear “don’t draw like this” everytime I did that).

I think they were old-school teachers, they learned this way and they thought it is still the right way.

…Or maybe they was afraid of a new style? Afraid that what they learned is not valid anymore.
And maybe they didn’t consider at all that illustration can be a form of art. But why? In my opinion they believed that the purpose of illustration and art are different and that art is more noble. But art has the same aim of illustration: to show a concept to make it clearer. The word “illustration” comes from latein “illustrare” which means “illuminate”, to enlighten about something wich is not clear.
In the history this was the same aim of art: often the purpose was to illustrate the content of a book (for example the content of the Bible in western art history).
Later, about two-three hundred years ago, art start to became something to show what is inside the mind of an artist, to enlighten others about feelings which couldn’t be explained in another way. This is, in my opinion, an intensification of illustrating something.

If art and illustration has the same aim, what is then the difference between them?
The importance of the illustrated content? I don’t think so: back to the religious example, there are illustrated Bibles for children out there.
Or maybe the style? Of course this is a difference, but art has several styles too. But I think this is the point: this style is considered only for children. Fortunately things are changing, also thanks to mangas and animes, and now we know illustration can be for adults too. Of course people who thought that is only for children, ignored completely the first type of modern illustration style in western world, like engravings or particular styles like art nouveau.

And you? What do you think about it? Let me know your opinion with a comment!

Thanks for reading me!
your Elisa

Is illustration art


2 Comments Add yours

  1. orijinalchris says:

    Yes, illustration is art (:


    1. Of course is illustration art. For me it is but not for some old-schoold teacher


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