6 Most Popular Illustration Styles You Need to Know

Growing up with Disney, we must have been familiar with its animation series. From the classic to the recent ones, every kid—at least—has one favorite story coming from this animation house. And it is just one example of the illustration role as a telling story tool. In further action, it also can be a powerful tool to grab attention. And each style has its own charm that speaks uniqueness. In this article, we will delve into Illustration styles that you can work with.

What is Illustration? Is That Really Important?

The illustration is a visual representation that depicts the whole story as well as the concept. It takes various forms with one ultimate goal to fill the gap between words and images. Other than that it helps people to simplify the words and understand what is written, especially for those who are visual in their thinking. In short, a good illustration should convey ideas and give a clear visualization.

As a visual person, illustration is completely important for me. I used to draw to understand the subjects more when I was young back then.

Rike Edel, Peterdraw’s Illustrator

Different Types of Illustration Styles

The illustration itself is so versatile. With a ton of styles, one illustration can be completely different from one to another. From the traditional to the contemporary and experimental, below is the list of illustration styles that you can try to find the true colors of yours.

1. Traditional Illustration Styles

Let’s start our diving journey with the most classic one, the traditional illustration styles. The thing that makes this style noticeable is the use of conventional materials like paint, ink, and pencils to create the illustration. Visual-wise, its timeless and classic vibes bring create a strong vintage presence that makes this style look artistic. Some styles like realism, cartoon, oil painting, and watercolor are some examples of traditional illustration styles that are still eminent today.


Realism illustrations refer to artworks with a high level of accuracy in capturing the details of real objects. The artists who work with this style must be detail-oriented person who is able to catch every component closely. As a result, this style requires high techniques to create lifelike illustrations. You can find realism paintings in the form of self-portraits, still life, landscape, or narrative illustrations.

Realism Illustration Style


Next, let’s get to know about the other traditional illustration style that probably we have been familiar with since we were very young, cartoon. In contra to realism, the cartoon is more vibrant and versatile. It aims to create a visually engaging and humorous illustration that can pitch a laugh. The artists who work with this style likely exaggerate the object features, making them become more expressive. Along with that, the versatility of this style allows the artists to tailor this concept to different themes and moods. As a result, you can easily find this style across the media.

Cartoon Illustration Style


The next stop from traditional illustration style that you can greet is watercolor. This style has a unique appearance that makes the overall design look more vintage-ish and captivating. Like its name, this style is inspired by the beauty of watercolors that create transparent layers. Visual-wise, it evokes deep emotion and creates a warm feeling for those who stare at it. In addition, the technique used in this style can range widely, from loose and expressive to highly detailed and controlled.

2. Digital Illustration Styles

In the digital age, technology enables artists to create illustrations in various styles. The key point of this style is the use of software and applications to create illustrations. There is no exact border that limits artists to explore their creativity. Otherwise, with the advent of technology, there will be more and more techniques born in the future. Here is a list of some styles that were born in this area.

Flat Illustration

The flat illustration is completely unique and timeless. This style is close to 2D illustration that usually avoids the use of shadowing or 3D effects. With the play of minimal colors and basic shapes, this style creates a mesmerizing illustration that highlights the ‘less is more’ concept. It offers a clean look that makes the design seem more modern. Wonder not, this style is pretty popular that is applied not only in conventional media but also in user interface design.

Calm and Cute Office Work Illustration Set with Dusty Pink Dusty Blue Ash Grey and Nude colors
Simple Flat Digital Marketing Illustration Set with Blue Aqua and Orange colors

Hand-Drawn Illustration

The hand-drawn illustration is kinda popular nowadays. With its supple strokes and adorable design, this illustration is completely a perfect choice to apply in a playful design. In a nutshell, the use of traditional tools like pencils and brushes inspires this concept. It highlights the human touch which is not always precision. Even so, it makes this style even more lovable and charming which creates a sense of playfulness.

Soft Pastel and Playful Weather Illustration Set with Pale Yellow Pastel Tosca Pastel Lilac and Pastel Pink colors
Softy Hand Drawn Birthday Illustration Set with Blue Red Pastel White Cream and Yellow colors

Isometric Illustration

This one is another illustration style that you need to know. Unlike flat illustration which is twin-like with 2D animation, isometric closely resembles 3D illustration. This style gives a unique point of view that shows the wide volume of an object. It uses parallel lines to present the scenes, creating a 30-degree angle that makes it look unique. Besides, it features geometric shapes, clean lines, and a sense of precision. You can easily find this style in the applications of architectural designs, product visualization, infographics, or even video games.

In Conclusion

Every illustration style is beautiful and unique. Each of them has a key visual point that makes them stand out with their charms. Exploring illustration styles can help you gain a deeper appreciation for creativity. You can also find the best style that you can deal with to shape your characteristic. Embrace the world of illustration styles and embark on your own visual journey!

Wanna have a complete illustration scene that meets your needs? Our illustration is ready to visualize your ideas and bring them alive. Kindly contact our team to get whether illustrations or other graphic designs.


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