Conceptual illustration: When the idea counts

Anna Goodson

The idea counts more than the method when talking about conceptual illustration.  The concept is what catches your attention first, though the way it’s drawn matters too.

Every one of our illustrators has a unique way of conceptualizing to come up with the remarkable visual ideas I see from them every day.  Some illustrators start their creative problem-solving with a list of words when working on an assigned topic; others free associate, and some sketch out their ideas until one of their concepts stands out from the rest.

Many conceptual illustrations rely upon a play on words or a visual pun, others combine two very different subjects we wouldn’t usually think of together.

The goal of great conceptual illustration is to make us think. An image that stops us in our tracks as we browse through articles and ads online or in a magazine, newspaper, or book, is what the best of conceptual illustration does.

At times, the goal is simply to make us smile. Some conceptual illustration helps us see the need to change something that exists and cries out for reform. That’s why so much of conceptual illustration focuses on social issues like violence, gun control, the environment, life choices, sexism and racism.

The beauty of creating images that speak to issues that are larger than the page or the tablet upon which an illustrator draws, is that these illustrations not only exhibit creativity at its peak, they have the power to change minds about issues of the day.

Illustration presents choice from the vantage point of some of our most creatives minds; a way to look at something differently, with a fresh perspective, maybe for the first time.  How lucky we are to have this immense creativity available as a counterpoint to today’s news; tomorrow’s global crisis.

Our illustrators, here at Anna Goodson Illustration Agency, keep their eyes and their ears wide open: watching, analyzing and creating cutting-edge illustration on topics that matter most.