Digital Illustration: Art in the Modern Age

by Sumaiya Minnat
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digital illustration

Many artists have now moved to digital illustration due to the freedom and wide variety of features it offers. Digital illustration can take an artist’s creativity to a new dimension. For a beginner, this guide will be very helpful in learning this illustration process and starting your new journey.

What is a digital illustration?

Digital illustration refers to visual artwork done with digital tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, tablets, and stylus pens. It includes vector art concepts, digital painting, character design, and more. Unlike the traditional form of art, digital illustration allows artists to do revisions and experiments easily. You can try out different styles, colors, and textures. Some people think digital illustration and graphic design are the same thing. However, the goals of both are different. Digital illustration tries to express the artists’ imagination; whereas, the graphic design aims to provide visual problem-solving and communication.

Types of Digital Illustration Styles

There are various styles of digital illustration styles. Each style is unique and serves a different purpose. Looking at the variety of styles available, it is evident how digital illustration is evolving and getting popular.


Anime is very popular today around the world for its detailed expressions of characters and great storylines. This style of digital illustration originated in Japan and was used in comic books. It is expressed in 2D or 3D providing more detailing than Western cartoons. You can express emotions very well with this style. The big expressive eyes, fine hairstyles, and other features are impressive.


In this style of illustration, the artist adds exaggerated physical features to the subjects to get a comical effect. The artists create figures having small bodies and large heads. The caricature style of illustration is mostly used on politicians and public figures for mocking. Before the election, especially, you will see newspapers full of caricatures of the political candidates.

Cartoons or comics

These illustrations express a storyline using a series of images and simple captions. These often appear in daily publications. Comics are used for educational, communication, or entertainment purposes.

Commercial art

It is created by advertisers to sell products or services. These illustrations are used in print media, TV, or websites. Before creating commercial art, the artist has to take a brief from the client about the product or service.


You can have a bright career as a digital illustrator. You can become a graphic designer, children’s books illustrator, editorial illustrator, character designer for gaming and animation, and digital artist. For this, you must learn software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio, Procreate, Krita, and others. You must learn how to use different tools for creating your artwork. It is better to experiment with several techniques before finding one that suits you best. You must create a rich portfolio of your work to get a job as a digital illustrator.

Being an artist, you must find inspiration from nature, architecture, people, and anything that surrounds you. After getting the idea you should put your creativity into the digital art. You can join art workshops or forums to learn what others are doing and get motivated by their works and stories.


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