Friday, June 18, 2010

Illustration vs Painting

During his lifetime, N.C.Wyeth created over 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books!

Wyeth, who was both a painter and an illustrator, understood the difference, said in 1908, "Painting and illustration cannot be mixed—one cannot merge from one into the other."

This is an interesting idea and I'm curious to hear what people think about it. I have to agree that my paintings and my illustrations usually have two different styles as well as different intentions behind them. However I don't always see such a separation in other artist's work. Are illustration and painting truly two different things? I certainly see the pre-raphaelites as illustrators and painters both. I'm just not sure if I fully agree with this statement. Do you?


  1. You've given me something to think about today... I don't know enough about art history to form an opinion about painting vs. illustration... I guess illustration is more directed toward a specific external purpose? And a painting might be generated from a more internal creativity? And maybe I don't know what I'm talking about?

  2. I'm not sure if you have to know a lot about art history to have an opinion about this. I'm just curious to know what people think. Many people have been commenting via my facebook page instead of on here unfortunately so it's hard to get a stream going. Here are some things that people have been saying...

    Kat: My take, an illustration is a pictoral that depicts a sense of story or narrative. It's an idea which is being 'illustrated'. That can be painted, drawn, sculpted, photographed, even dramatized. All can be illustrations of something. A painting that depicts that which is outside a narrative, an exploration of visual space but without story, is just that - a painting.

    Sarah: If Illustrations tell a story(which invoke emotion and thought) then what is a painting? To me they are the same. Everyone has a different way of telling their story.