Difference Between Drawing and Illustration (With Table)

The difference between drawing and illustration is one that has confused several but there is a very brief line that separates drawing and illustration. Drawing and illustration both are visual representations in form of art to convey a message or thought. The technique via which we represent an object with the help of lines is drawing whereas the function of clarification provide to a text is an illustration.

Drawing vs Illustration

The difference between drawing and illustration is that drawing is a technique of self-expression while illustration is a professional work for commercial purposes. Drawing can stay only as art whereas illustration is always accompanied by a text.

Drawing is a technique or self-expression where a person can represent his feelings with the help of lines in two-dimension format. An illustration is a technique used by writers, poets, and publishers to poetry their act.


Comparison Table Between Drawing and Illustration

Parameter of ComparisonDrawingIllustration
DefinitionDrawing is representation of objects in a two-dimensional format with the help of linesIllustration is a pictorial representation of texts
ValueLimited commercial valueHigh commercial value
UseFor personal useFor professional use
MessageCan stand alone as an artCannot stand alone as an art
ExpressionIt is a personal or independent expressionIt is an expression which is dependent on other form of art or text
ThoughtThe artist is free to use his own thought at his own free willThe illustrator is restricted to use is own thought
ImaginationThe artist is free to use his/her imagination at its peakThe illustrator is not free to use his own imagination at his own will
ArtIt contains personal thought and ideas hence it is personal to the artistThe base of an illustration is based on a text hence there is little or no personal link
RelationIt can be used as a base of an illustrationAlways accompanied by a text can by a painting drawing or photograph


What is Drawing?

Drawing is a form of a visual two-dimensional representation of art. It is an art technique via which an object is represented with the help of lines. Several instruments can be used for the process of drawing, like paper, pen, pencil, charcoal, eraser, brushes, crayons, markers, etc. also a standard surface is usually required on which drawings are made commonly it is paper but several other mediums can also be used such as wood, canvas, plastic board, etc.

Irrespective of materials that have been used for the process of drawing keen observation and visual composition is required for the acute representation of thoughts on the medium. Drawing also has several kinds with the help of which one can enhance their representation such as- animation, illustration architecture, and engineering.

Supremely drawing is a form of self-expression which portrays thoughts, feelings, and ideas within an artist. There are several methods of drawing such as stippling, shading, tracing, and line drawing. Drawing has a high artistic value and imagination yet its commercial value is very restricted.


What is Illustration?

An illustration is the visual representation of a text that is represented by an artist. It is represented by an artist. It is in various forms such as painting, drawing, diagram, or photograph. An illustration enhances the visual experience and clarifies the text or theory. Illustrations are used for the publication of media which includes novels, posters, books, advertisements, video games, etc.

Illustrations are always accompanied by a text; it narrates a story. It is inspired by the thought and creation of another author or artist. Textbook with the help of visual illustrations makes it easier for the readers to understand the theory. The perception created by the illustrator is as near to the text.

In ancient times, the cave craving and painting were the initial stages of illustrations but nowadays, illustrations have become for more developed, and high-tech illustrations that have come into the light. An illustration is a primary way via which one can narrate a story through characters with faces and bodies. Illustrations are not just limited to physical figure but it also includes tables, graphs, diagrams, and charts, etc.

Main Differences Between Drawing and Illustration

  1. Drawing is a technique of self-expression where a person expresses his ideas and thoughts with the help of lines whereas illustration is a technique used by writers, poets, and publishes o portray their act.
  2. A drawing depicts a personal message by the author in the case of illustration there is no personal message that is presented by the illustrator.
  3. Drawing can stand alone as an art whereas an illustration cannot stand alone as art.
  4. Drawing as a form of art has restricted commercial value whereas an illustration has high commercial value.
  5. The thought and imagination that is put into a drawing are at the artists’ free will however for illustration it is not the choice of the illustrator he is within restricted boundaries.



Both drawing and illustration are visual representation that portrays a specific message. Both the terms can be broadly differentiated based on value, use, message, expression, thought, imagination, ar, and relation.

Drawing refers to the self-expression of ideas thoughts and imagination. It is presented on a medium in a two-dimensional format with the help of lines. The artist here is free at his own will and can portray whatever he likes on the medium. The commercial value of a drawing is quite less.

An illustration is a technique used by writers, poets, and publishers for a visual representation of their work. The illustrator is usually restricted with his work limits as he cannot completely control what he wants to represent in his own format he has to follow the base work of the text. The commercial value of an illustration is very high.


  1. https://hal.inria.fr/docs/00/53/75/07/PDF/BCD01_screen.pdf
  2. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/posc.2009.17.1.5
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