A technical illustration is the use of sketching to visually show the technical physicality of an object. Technical drawings and diagrams are sometimes drawn in halves to show the insides of the living thing or the object. The details that are drawn come directly from direct observation. They depict details with the use of perspectives, graphic devices and divergences from technical exactness. Other technical illustrations are in the form of clipart that may be used in web design, documents, logo design or any other files to visually represent a certain object or identity. The composition of these illustrations is usually created by a professional technical illustrator using technical drawing software to form a vector. It can also be drawn by hand and scanned into digital form.
Here are some steps to make a technical illustration:
- Drawing and inking. Create the initial drawing on a piece of paper. Before transferring any illustration to a permanent canvas, make sure there are no longer any corrections. This is to avoid any dirt particles and eraser residues that may appear on the canvas or board. Mark all detailed shading on the paper drawing then trace the outline on the board or canvas and ink using drafting tools needed.
- Airbrush. Airbrushing is used because of its versatility. It is also easy to control when doing shading and color blending. Airbrushing usually starts at the bottom of the artwork or from the left side to the right so that the hand will not smudge areas that are already completed. You may want to expose more than one area of the artwork if the areas are adjacent to each other and if the spray patterns are not that large.
- Rendering. After the drawing is inked onto the board or canvas, cover selected sections with a frisket and cut it only along the black outline drawn previously on the object. In rendering, approach each section on its basic form and remember to always start from where the light originates. Add details and other highlights by hand with a brush. Clean the drawing surface.
Technical illustrations are usually used in manuals, self-help books, encyclopedias, and fiction and non-fiction books to help support information. Unlike children’s books and sermon websites, technical illustrations need not have a step-by-step illustration and demonstration illustration, such as graphs and charts. Commonly, they use stock images or clip arts that appeal to their audience.
There is high demand online for freelance illustrators with hand drawing and 3D visualization skills. Hired individuals should be able to produce professional illustrations with a technical pen and have knowledge in isometric illustrations. Technical illustrators also prepare detailed illustrations to give aid to clients to understand complex scientific or technical information and be able to use these items to their advantage. They can create these images for multimedia software, film and television, websites and architectural visualizations. Qualities that an illustrator should have are excellent drawing and IT skills, an eye for detail and design and a strong interest in the subject and an understanding of technicality.