If you’re like me, the difference between a drawing and an illustration may have confused you before. Now you really want to know it, so in the next few paragraphs, I’ll clear out all doubts!
Merriam-Webster defines drawing as (emphasis mine):
The art or technique of representing an object or outlining a figure, plan, or sketch by means of lines.
A drawing is a picture that has been produced with this technique. Other dictionary definitions emphasise:
- that a drawing is made with pen or pencil;
- and that a drawing does not present the colors of an object.
Merriam-Webster defines an illustration as (emphasis mine):
Something that serves to illustrate, such as a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive.
Other dictionaries emphasise that illustrations usually accompany written works such as books, magazines and newspapers.
The key difference is:
- Drawing is the technique of representing an object with lines.
- Illustration serves the function of clarification.
Pictures that exemplify or clarify an accompanied text can be called an illustration. If it’s a colorless representation of an object made with lines, you can call it a drawing, too, like the cover image above.