With a focus on the human form, figurative illustrators position, pose, and align the human body either on its own or in a specific environment.
Rather than placing an emphasis on a single feature of human anatomy, figurative illustrators show figures in active poses as they move through space. They’re much like fashion illustrators but a tad more down-to-earth.
Often presenting more than one figure at a time, figurative illustration can be highly-stylized and usually features the signature drawing technique of the person who created the illustration.
The successful figurative illustrator knows a lot about movement and can visualize how a body can bend, stretch, twist, and turn. They can place someone on a beach or on the street in clothing that matches the scene. Facile drawing skills are required of the figurative illustrator who’s always on their toes when it comes to spontaneous drawing methods.
Whether quick pen and brush, watercolor, or simple line drawing, they’re the quickest draw in town. Expect the figurative illustrator to arrive with sketchbook in hand wherever people assemble.
Masters at composition, they’re aware of the limits of a page; artfully placing figures within the frame to maximize space. With an inherent understanding of human anatomy, the figurative illustrator abbreviates the human form, showing only those details that matter.
Whatever shorthand they choose for sketching, once back in the studio, they have enough information to fully develop a final illustration.
Never underestimate the power of the figurative illustrator to tell the story with movement or a pose. While they’re studying yours, you may be unaware of their eyes upon you. Strike a pose and see.