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Illustration aids communication

They say that a picture paints a thousand words. If that’s so, then the role of illustration in any educational or coursework ought to be vital. While it is true some topics or concepts may initially seem too dry to exploit illustration in order to explain them, that is where the creative challenge comes in for the illustrator.

With the advent of computers, so came some new opportunities for those in the business of creating illustration. Traditional drawing and painting skills, creating material on paper or canvas, were now joined by the opportunity to generate illustrations on a computer screen. In the early days, that meant using a computer mouse to draw on screen, followed by the introduction of tablets connected to a computer, allowing freehand drawing using a virtual pencil on a flat pad to be translated into an image on screen.

Software helped these illustration techniques develop, while parallel developments took place to enable photography to enter the digital age. Software called Photoshop, developed so that digital computer images could be manipulated on screen, has been so successful that “photoshopping” has now become a generic term in popular use to describe photographs that are modified. Many models and celebrities now expect their photographs to be improved on the computer by specialist illustrators, photoshopping the image from taken by the camera. Blemishes can be removed, teeth whitened, tummies tucked and colours brightened in the quest for perfection in beauty.

Now, the latest development in computers is helping illustration to move forward again. Tablets such as Apple’s iPad now mean that it is possible to draw using finger strokes directly on a glass screen. Even famous artists who are well used to working in traditional media, such as David Hockney, are adopting the iPad as their preferred medium for creating new images, and exploring new ways of working.

At the same time, the consumer’s expectations have changed. Once upon a time, we were used to a static drawing or image on the printed page. Yet today, many people – and particularly the younger generation – now expect much more. Illustrations have more potential formats than ever before, and those reading educational material will now expect their reading matter to be online or at least delivered digitally, and to offer illustrations that are interactive.

Online shopping now provides images that can be spun around, zoomed in to and examined from different angles; while houses presented for sale often offer a 360 degree view of key room interiors. The same expectations apply to other information sources such as materials for school children and students as part of their education.

At HL Studios, the specialist illustration team regularly produces a range of illustrations for publications, often working on a subcontract basis for educational publishers. For tablets, the company can reformat a print file, creating an interactive talking book. The company has a team of illustrators, animators, layout artists and designers who produce a wide range of projects on behalf of educational publishers, ensuring that modern teaching materials can make the most of new ways of teaching. Along the way, they also meet the expectations of consumers who now look for a more interactive relationship with their learning coursework.

Contact HL Studios


Phone: +44 (01993) 848260

HL Studios, Witney Business Centre, Windrush House, Witney, Oxon, OX29 7DX.