From Pencil To Pixel: The Evolution Of UK Illustration Design

From television and online ads to brochures and entertainment systems, illustration plays a vital role in a digital society. The last few years have been a roller coaster ride for UK designers and illustrators, as the design field has seen many technological advancements and exceptional growth.

There are now multiple new tools and software that are helping in the illustration of unique designs. Whether you are making a poster for any brand or your social media profile, you have to think of something creative. It holds the power to catch the attention of the viewer and communicate your idea to the audience.

In this blog, we will cover the complete journey and evolution of illustration design in the past years and how it is getting increasingly popular in today’s world.  So let’s read on to see how the design has progressed over the years.

Everything You Need To Know About The Ever-Changing World Of Illustration Designs

The Evolution Of Illustration Design

The Traditional Period

The traditional illustration started in 15000 B.C. People used to craft ancient designs using cave paintings and written languages. The ancient Romans and Greeks played a great part in their making. After this era, people started finding new ways to advance the design process.

There was an introduction to printing that took illustrations to a new level of creativity. Chinese used wood reliefs to stamp or print their designs on paper and silk material. They also invented a moving printing machine, making the process easier and more advanced. Printing was popular for many years, and people started creating multiple designs and texts on a bigger scale. Newspapers, books, novels, and many other printed materials became easily accessible to people.

At the start of the 90s, there were technological innovations such as color printing or chromolithography. Many businesses started using these designs as a marketing and advertising tool. There were new color schemes and fresh ideas that helped the brands in building their name.

The Digital Era

After the 1950s, the world faced a drastic change from traditional to digital methods. There was mass adoption of new devices like computers, and it overtook the printing era. The use of computers gave easy access to digital software and art styles for crafting new designs. However, in 2010, the digital world saw a significant change with the introduction of Abode Photoshop. Features like adding effects, typography, combining images, and editing were now more straightforward, and designers enjoyed using the software. Soon after, there were many software as competition with Adobe, such as Affinity Designer and CorelDraw. This is noticed as a historical moment in the evolution of illustration.

Designers now have a choice of software and new features to make the design process smoother. The illustration method is now more streamlined and efficient with sharing tools and cloud-based storage. You can now find designs on social media, video games, web design, and animation.

Individuals are also earning from their skill of designing by providing Illustration services in London. Apart from individuals, the brands are using the advancements to their full potential. Moreover, they can now easily grab the attention of customers with appealing and engaging graphics.

Different Kinds Of Illustration Designs

Types Of Traditional Illustration


Woodcutting was popular in the middle ages. It was commonly used after the printing press for new designs. As the name tells, it is a kind of illustration that was made by engraving images and patterns on wood. Also, people used it for block printing in China and Europe.

Pencil Illustration

Artists in the past used pencils to sketch their ideas. To make their drawings clear and attractive, they used to apply shades and multiple effects. Colored pencils and graphite leads were common for creating stunning designs.

Acrylic Illustration

This type of illustration was a form of painting. Most beginners used to do it in the past. In this method, you only have to use acrylic paint on surfaces like canvas or cloth. Eventually, these paints dry up easily and become water-resistant.


Lithography was a unique form of illustration that was started in Germany in the 19th Century. It is a type of printing that uses water and grease to create a print. The print is then put on paper or any other item. People brought many variations and tried different techniques in this traditional printing technique.

Charcoal Illustration

Charcoal illustrations are not as clean as pencil ones, but the artist preferred them in the past to draw fast sketches and illustrate short stories. The charcoal allows the artist to create unique textures and effects. They use their fingers to blend and smudge the design to create shadows.

Types Of Digital Illustration

Vector Designing

Using multiple features and sequences of mathematical commands, illustrators create amazing vector graphics. The lines, curves, and points in these graphics allow them to scale and shape any design without losing the quality of the work. Vector illustrations are preferred to freehand. Also, you can use them with text or images. Nowadays, you can see vector images almost everywhere. From the company logo to any product packaging, there is a wide use of UK illustration designs.

Freehand Illustration

This type of digital design is similar to a pencil or pen but uses advanced tools. Artists use tablet pens or stylus to make digital art using their creativity. By using multiple brushes, features, and colors, designers can craft the perfect artwork. Moreover, the best part about this illustration is that you can make any required changes quickly.


Illustrations have been an important part of our lives. Since a very old time, humans have been creating drawings and artwork with specific meanings. The evolution of the design process has brought many changes in the way we make and share art. Traditional methods are valuable, but innovative tools have made it easy for us to create even complex designs easily. From ancient cave paintings and Chinese printing to exceptional digital masterpieces, artists have constantly adapted their techniques and styles to communicate ideas and thoughts effectively.

The shift from traditional mediums to digital tools has brought about endless possibilities and accessibility in the world of illustration. As we move forward, it is certain that the evolution will continue, shaped by emerging technologies, and will enrich our visual storytelling.

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