Discovering abstract illustration: Fresh, new and exciting

Anna Goodson

Abstraction asks us to open our minds: to new possibilities, to venture beyond boundaries. I appreciate the freedom of expression an artist shows when creating an abstract illustration. We often have to look closely to unearth the meaning in each design.

Abstraction is a language all its own: a language of emotion. That’s why abstract illustration exploits an expressive potential in both color and form. Whether with geometric shapes, amorphous figures, 3D imagery or vivid line and color, there’s a good chance abstraction will elicit a strong emotional response. It’s such a great option when illustrating complex ideas or subjects that require more in-depth comprehension.

We’re seeing abstract illustration on the covers and front pages of major news sources because tailoring an abstraction to depict complex topics like athletic achievement, stock market volatility, or the future of electric cars, makes sense.

Most of us can appreciate the creativity that goes into an abstract illustration.  When we’re looking at a composition of recognizable objects, the idea is to create a thoughtful placement of objects on a page. Sometimes the “objects” are just shapes, juxtaposed so they have meaning or purpose.

Abstraction can also disassemble objects or people in order for us to see them in a completely new light.  Still, other types of abstraction build forms and construct something brand new.

Using the language of color, line, pattern and shape to convey experience or emotion is truly a special talent.   Every mark has meaning and importance.  A curved line or a straight line, negative vs. positive space, transparency or opacity, yellow or blue: every choice matters.

I find an illustrator’s style is all-important with abstraction. Some illustrators simplify when abstracting an image.  Others add complexity. Some choose vibrant colors, others are more subdued.

To me, abstract illustration promises a chance to discover something fresh and new. It’s surprising, unexpected, and exciting, all at the same time.