5 tips to create good illustration

posted on 19th of march, 2009

As the market of stock illustration is constantly growing there is the task number one for author to attract customers to his works therefore to make illustration of good quality. What is the difference between good illustration and bad? I'd like to offer several tips of creating pictures.

Tip №1 Make sketches

Before you start in order to clear your idea for yourself make a sketch using usual pencil or brush and a piece of paper. Good sketch makes good result. Then you can scan it and use it as separate layer in Illustrator or Photoshop. If you are going to create illustration of simple forms as circle, rectangle, triangle etc., sketch will help you to save time when you open graphic editor program and you know exactly what you want to draw.

Tip №2 Create your own
No matter how bad your illustration looks at first if you continue drawing you works will be getting better and better. So my advice is not to use someone's ideas! Look for your own which will help to distinguish you among other colleagues. This can take quite a long time but the game is worth candles. If 10 different illustrators will get the task to draw apple, you can be sure there won't be two exactly the same apples. Everyone has something unique and he or she just needs to develop these features.

Tip №3 Define colour
When you start, think of colour palette you use. Colours can create mood of your picture: sad or happy, energetic or flabby. Choose maximum three main colours of your picture and you can use as many half-tones of those main ones as you wish.

Tip №4 Don't ignore composition
Composition that is how you place elements of illustration on canvas is very important. Remember that figures of dark colours and/or big size couldn't be at the top of canvas. They are "heavy" and should be located at the bottom. The other rule is that if you place isolated object, the distance from the canvas bottom to the object should be longer than the distance from the top. It is connected with the human vision - the optical center of the canvas is located higher than geometrical center.

Tip №5 Use different types of lines
Many authors forget to use the line: you can vary its thickness, colour and type (solid or dotted, wavy or strict).

I wish everybody good luck in first or further steps of creating illustrationS.

Comments (15)

Comment by Awizard on April 20, 2010

Hi Olya! We might know each other as we have a common friend - Yana. :)
Now I'm reading your tips - they are great and what is very important - kind. I started to try creating illustrations, however I was sure that I could not draw at all. Indeed, if you try each day, you develop your skills. Thank you once again!

Comment by Emha on August 08, 2009

Thanks for the tips. this is very useful...

Comment by Emmacharles on March 22, 2009

Olga, you are the BEST! I,m sure there are others in DT land that have no idea about illustration and have learned from you. Thank you from all of us !

Thank you,



Comment by Olyashevchenko on March 22, 2009

Tarja. I wish you inspiration and good luck!

Comment by Emmacharles on March 22, 2009

Thank sooo much Olga. I may look into CS3 and start plying with it.


Comment by Olyashevchenko on March 21, 2009

Ok. I use Adobe Photoshop CS3. Of course, there is huge difference between photoediting programs and full versions:)

Comment by Emmacharles on March 21, 2009

Well, the PS Elements is for amateurs it is mainly for editing of photos ( I think) i'm still learning to use it , costs ~ $ 70-100 and the "real" photoshop is for professionals has lot's more stuff and I believe it is very expensive like thousands.

Comment by Olyashevchenko on March 21, 2009

Tarja, what do you mean by Photoshop elements?

Comment by Emmacharles on March 20, 2009

One more question Olga-you mention Photoshop can be used to do illustration. Is it the professional Photoshop or Photoshop elements ?

I know your time is valuable and I truly appreciate you sharing it !


Comment by Emmacharles on March 20, 2009

Thank you Olga. I can tell I have a LOT to learn.

Comment by Mellie430 on March 20, 2009

Thanks for the tips!

Comment by Olyashevchenko on March 20, 2009

Tarja. I use Adobe Illustrator but you can use Photoshop as well for creating illustrations. The picture with fruit is made using watercolour and then post-processed in Photoshop.

Comment by Emmacharles on March 20, 2009

Thangs again Olga !
What program do you use ? I only have photoshop elements 6 and I don't think it can be used to do illustrationds.

Comment by Seema_illustrator on March 19, 2009

Hey Olga great tips! I really liked the set of snails image

Comment by Eclecticelegance on March 19, 2009

Very useful tips!!

Comments (15)

This article has been read 8868 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: , Olyashevchenko.

About me

I am a graphic and UI designer since 2007 and also an amateur photographer. I\'ve been working with microstocks since 2008-2009. This kind of business has inspired me to improve my skills as an illustrator and I wish this tradition will go on. Thank you.

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