Choosing an Illustration Medium

If you’re just getting started as an illustrator, or you’re just curious about how illustrators work, keep on reading!

Illustrators have access to a whole lot of different types of mediums too choose from for their work. I think what tends to happen overtime is that the illustrator gravitates more toward one medium than another and the more they use it the better they become at it so it becomes their medium of choice.

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Medium is often chosen based on the desired outcome, for example, I use a lot of solid block colours in my illustrations, which would be nearly impossible to achieve with watercolour paints. With my personal experience in this industry, I have found that digital illustration works the best for me because it allows me to make as many edits as I need for a client and I find it overall very easy, time efficient and cost-effective. I like that if a client needs a specific shade of a certain colour I can use the eyedropper tool instead of mixing several colours until I finally get the right one.

I know lots of illustrators who use gouache as a preferred medium, and if I had to choose an alternative, that’s what I would choose. Gouache is great for solid colours, it has lots of pigment and the best part about it is it can be reactivated with some water if needed, unlike acrylic that dries into a non-malleable plastic.

It really comes down to preference and style. Based on the illustrator’s style, they can choose a medium that would suit it best. Some illustrators also use a mix of mediums, such as markers and watercolour or gouache and fine liner. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting.

I think we’re very lucky in this day and age to have access to so many different options when it comes to creating, albeit sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, it ultimately comes down to just choosing one and sticking with it. I recently tried to go back to paints, but it was a complete disaster! Because I’m so used to be able to edit my drawings over and over again digitally, I have a hard time accepting a less-than-perfect painting. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I think it just means I have found the right medium that works for me.

What type of medium do you use? Comment below!

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Sabina