Illustration vs. Artwork

Perhaps that is not a good title for this: the two are not really in conflict.  However they are significantly different and may require some explanation.

It was more than 25 years ago that I first added some element of subject matter to my otherwise abstract works.  The first of these depicts a pasque flower and seed pod– a small water color with some pen and ink work added.  (See below and click on the thumb for a more detailed view.)


As I look back on this today, I can see that it illustrates a timeline and expresses something about the temporal nature of things.  However, back then I did not consider it an illustration of or for anything.

When I first started illustrating The Villain (Available at Amazon, thank you very much) I had to consider how each piece advanced a story line and how one page would connect with the next.  It changes how the artwork is done in that it calls for a different focus–a focus on adding a visual story that matches the written story.

Here is an example my most recent illustration for an upcoming book by Katherine Pettus.  It will form a two page spread in a story about a boy who moves from the city to the country.


I believe that the comparison of these two pieces demonstrates a harmony between that which was created  as “Artwork”, and that which was created to help tell a story.  It is a matter of emphasis; more design and color balance focus in the “Artwork” and more story-telling in the illustration.



0 thoughts on “Illustration vs. Artwork

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