Friday, August 3, 2012

Illopedia! An Illustration Lexicon Shortlist!

I've compiled a shortlist of some common illustration terms we hear or read often in the industry. I say shortlist because some are used frequently and many are more obscure. My approach to defining things- Sum it up and go for the basics! Let me know if there are any you want added to the list. 

Illo- This is short for illustration/illustration artwork. It's a popular term within the community especially when describing work quickly in social media like on Twitter. 

Thumbnail- This is a small quickly drawn idea for an illustration or a series of illustrations. The thumbnail idea basically means its small. Once an idea is chosen, the illustrator will move on to the rough stage.

Rough- This refers to the early idea stage for an illustration. This is similar to a sketch but depicts more details and the layout is closer to what the artwork will look like. This is typically done on paper or tracing paper then either presented in person or scanned then sent to a client for approval.  

Spot- This is a small illustration used on websites, books, banners or magazines that are quite small to accompany text and larger illustrations.

Kill-fee- This means the payment that is owed after a current project that is in progress has been cancelled. This fee needs to be included in your letter of agreement with your client. It essentially pays for the work/time that has already been put into a project. Some charge 50% to 100% of what they agreed project fee stated in the letter of agreement and the termination circumstances. 

Continuity- When creating a series of images especially for a children's books and for an animation, there needs to be continuity with the images to create a flow for the viewer.  

Vector art- This is a technique to make images in a vector-based program. This vector art consists of creating paths and points in design programs such as Illustrator. The scale of these vectors helps keep the proportions and quality when sized up and down without losing any image quality.

Art work- This refers to the final illustration that will be used for a project. 

Crop- This refers to a partial section of an image. Typical reasons to crop are for websites, promotional pieces, website banners, 

CMYK- This is short for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These are printer colours as opposed to RGB, which is known as process colour. CMYK is the format you want to use to post images online.

dpi- This is short for dots per inch. Depending on your image file needs, you may want lower dpi for images online and higher for printed work. The higher the dpi the better quality image. 

• Lo-Res- This is short for low resolution. It is measurement online to keep files small with low pixels. This is recommended for blogs, websites and other online sites for quick downloads. The lower the resolution means the lower the quality of image if someone tries to print it or use it without your permission.

Png File- This is short for portable network graphics. It is a bitmap image file. The purpose is to incorporate low-resolution images that load quickly but  look great too. 

Flattening- This refers to making your image have one layer in Photoshop and other imaging software instead of many which can be a rather large file. Once you flatten it you can save it as a jpg, tiff, eps file to name a few. It does mean you will have less flexibility when editing it. 

Encode- This means to convert information, images into code or a digital form. 

Storyboard- This is the preliminary idea process for a series of illustrations. Storyboards are typically thumbnails or rough drawings to create a sequence of work for such projects as animations, children's books, comics, to video games. The idea is create sequence and continuity to make the illustrated project flow.  

Spec work- This refers to speculative work or work on spec. This practice is typically frowned upon in the illustration industry. This term essentially means the client wants you to create art work on the idea that they may like it, may hire you and that they may pay you IF they like what you created and you might get free exposure. This process is typically a gamble for illustrators mainly due to many competing for the same project. It has gained a bad rep over the years a way to get free illustration without paying. Many times the illustration is used anyway without the illustrator receiving payment or given proper credit as the creator.

Leading- This refers to the proper space in-between type. The term originated from hand type-setting. This is a 'eye' technique in order to change the space in-between letters so it does not appear cramped or too loosely apart. Proper leading on your promotion pieces, websites and other written materials will help you look very professional. 

Pixels- These are tiny units of colour that display digital images. Pixels also measure digital resolution and file size. The greater the number of pixels per inch-the greater the image resolution. 

Pica- This a term for smaller measurement used in design.

Bleed- This is generally a printing term that refers to the image going beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming.  This is also a buffer that gives enough space for a printer to account for the movement of paper and layout changes from the computer.  


Iris Biran said...

Thank you, Holly. It's really helpful and so is your whole blog!
I'm also looking for your post from July 30, 2012, about The Cover Letter Decoded. Couldn't find it. Can you write the link?
Thank you!

Holly DeWolf said...

Hi Iris, Thank you for the note. Here's the link for that article: