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illustration

illustration, any type of picture or decoration used in conjunction with a text to embellish its appearance or to clarify its meaning. Illustration is as old as writing, with both originating in the pictograph. With the advent of printing, the art of hand-painted illumination declined as a means of book illustration.

History of Book Illustration

Modern book illustration originated in the 15th-century block books, in which the text and the illustration were cut on the same block. Book illustration has followed closely the development of the printing processes. Copperplate engraving and etching tended to replace the woodcut during the 16th and 17th cent., but it was not until the close of the 18th cent. that the art was revolutionized by Thomas Bewick's ingenious use of wood engraving and Senefelder's invention of lithography. These two processes greatly stimulated the production of illustrated books and magazines and were exploited by such masters as Daumier, Doré, and Gavarni.

In the late 19th cent. wood engraving and lithography were superseded by the photomechanical processes that made possible the reproduction of a wide variety of painting and drawing techniques. The exploitation of these processes for cheap and rapid but sloppy mass production obscured their artistic potential. Thus early hand processes were revived in book illustration by such artists as William Morris, Matisse, Rouault, Picasso, Chagall, Rockwell Kent, and many others. However, such major illustrators as Aubrey Beardsley, Howard Pyle, and Elihu Vedder understood and exploited the photomechanical processes to great effect in the reproduction of their art works. Other great artists famous for illustration are Dürer, Holbein, William Hogarth, William Blake, Manet, and Winslow Homer.

Fiction and Children's Literature

Illustration of fiction was more popular in the 19th cent. than in the 20th. Dickens's works were illustrated by John Leech, H. K. Browne ( "Phiz" ), and George Cruikshank. Sir John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are almost as well known as the text itself. Today much of the finest illustration is done in the field of children's literature. From Beatrix Potter to Ludwig Bemelmans and Maurice Sendak, a number of gifted writers of children's stories have illustrated their own books. Among the great illustrators of children's books are Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Edward Lear, Ernest Shepherd, Palmer Cox, A. B. Frost, and Wanda Gág (see children's book illustration).

Illustration in the East

In the Middle East fine printing of illustrated books is a very recent development. The lavish King Fuad Qur'an (1923, Egypt) is exceptional among Middle Eastern printed works. In East Asia the art of book illustration is very old. Printing was highly developed in China by the 9th cent., and exquisite block-printed illustrations enhanced many volumes. Japan borrowed Chinese techniques as early as the 9th cent. and used the ancient processes for wood-block printing of ukiyo-e (see Japanese art) in books into the 18th cent. Twentieth-century printing of illustrated books in Japan involves the best and most recently developed processes.

Bibliography

See D. Bland, A History of Book Illustration (2d ed. 1969); D. Klemin, The Illustrated Book (1970); R. M. Slythe, The Art of Illustration (1972); J. G. Heck, The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration (1979); M. Melot, The Art of Illustration (1984).

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"illustration." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"illustration." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/illustration

"illustration." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/illustration

illustrate

il·lus·trate / ˈiləˌstrāt/ • v. [tr.] provide (a book, newspaper, etc.) with pictures: the guide is illustrated with full-color photographs. ∎  explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc.: the results are illustrated in Figure 7. ∎  serve as an example of: a collection of pieces that illustrate Bach's techniques. ORIGIN: early 16th cent. (in the sense ‘illuminate, shed light on’): from Latin illustrat- ‘lit up,’ from the verb illustrare, from in- ‘upon’ + lustrare ‘illuminate.’

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"illustrate." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"illustrate." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate-0

"illustrate." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate-0

illustration

il·lus·tra·tion / ˌiləˈstrāshən/ • n. a picture illustrating a book, newspaper, etc.: an illustration of a yacht. ∎  an example serving to clarify or prove something: this accident is a graphic illustration of the disaster that's waiting to happen. ∎  the action or fact of illustrating something, either pictorially or by exemplification: by way of illustration, I refer to the following case. DERIVATIVES: il·lus·tra·tion·al / -shənl/ adj.

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"illustration." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"illustration." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustration

"illustration." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustration

illustrate

illustrate throw light or lustre on; elucidate XVI; exemplify; elucidate with pictures XVII. f. pp. stem of L. illustrāre, f. IL-1 + lustrāre illuminate, rel. to lūmen LIGHT1.
So illustration †illumination XIV; exemplification, example XVI; pictorial elucidation XIX. — (O)F. — L. illustrative XVII. illustrious distinguished by rank, etc. XVI. f. L. illustris.

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"illustrate." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"illustrate." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate-1

"illustrate." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate-1

illustrate

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"illustrate." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"illustrate." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate

"illustrate." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/illustrate