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How to Find Different Type of Illustrations For Free Online? – Full Guide for 2021


The illustration is a vast field with a lot of branches that each has its own features. Rather than using texts to transfer information, visuals come to aid the artist in order to communicate ideas and concepts in a more powerful way.

We are going to learn what illustration is, what style of illustration there are, how they are made and find out easy ways to find free illustrations for websites. Also, the new type of illustrations for 2020 are introduced in this article.


What is an illustration and what are the main Styles of illustrations?

types of illustrations

Illustrations are of 2 types, traditional and modern ones. These 2 types are divided into other categories

Whenever you want to present an idea, concept or even a process in a more interesting way you might bump into drawings, digital art and/or any other kind of imagery. It is emphasized that different types of illustrations produce a deeper impact on readers mind thus making a subject more absorbing.

Illustration has gone through changes and has evolved over the years to gain a major contributory role in books, magazines, animations, movies, video games and in all kinds of printed or digital media.

different types of Illustrations categories can be divided into two main types which are; traditional illustration and modern illustration.

They differentiate in the manner of production suggesting that traditional works are hand-drawn artwork and modern illustration is the result of the use of certain programs such as adobe illustrator, 3d max and Adobe Photoshop.


Traditional Type of Illustrations

These type of illustrations are comprised of those illustrations using old-school design trends but still can be classic and add a smooth feel of elegance in your design.



Woodcutting illustration

It is the oldest technique of illustration that was common in the middle ages. Although, artists still use this type of illustration when they are looking for a natural or even rough sense to their work. Woodcutting illustration was very popular in China and Japan.


Pencil illustration

This type of illustration is one of the most popular techniques of illustration. The artist can choose how to use this technique to achieve the goal of his work. It allows the illustrator to create soft shadows and transitions, as well as creating sharp and precise lines.

This technique can be used to create a draft and then finish off the illustration with another material.


Charcoal illustration

A charcoal illustration would not appear as precise as a pen and pencil technique but it has its own purposes and usage. This type of illustration is used in fast sketches, portraits, short stories and where rough constructed lines need visibility.


Lithography illustration

Lithography illustration

This is not a Lithography illustration, but this is a sample of illustration you can download from Freepiks

This type of illustrations uses an image drawn with fat, oil, or wax on the surface of a smooth limestone plate. But, nowadays offset lithography which has become the most common way of printing since the 1960s, has been widely used by the illustrators to print on books and magazines.

Lithography illustration develops a certain level of softness onto artworks where in some spots the colour even looks pale and faded. It is worth to mention that Lithography comes from the Greek word for stone.


Watercolour illustration

By using this type of illustration, a depth in whole and also in details is made where creative splashes of colours that are merging into one another. This type of illustration creates effects and shades by adding water to pigmented colour and makes the work look plain.

It is mostly used in children`s books and fashion types of illustration because it is very light.


Acrylics illustration

Acrylics illustration is most preferred by beginners since it is easier to work with rather than watercolour or oil. This type of illustration results in almost same effects of watercolour or oils and you can paint with them on any surface such as wood, metal, fabrics, or even artboards and by the time it is dry, they`ll become water-resistant.


Collage illustration

Collage illustration - Type of illustration

In this technique, the artwork is made with many different forms which come from quite different materials and together assemble a new whole. Collage roots in a French word coller, which means “to glue”.

This type of illustration has gained a lot of attention in recent years, which inspired big trends such as fashion and material designs. The goal in collage illustration is to use shadings to achieve a 3D effect and create depth in the illustration.


Pen and ink illustration

type of illustration - Modern illustration

When an illustrator wants to create an artwork in precision, details, and high contrast between elements usually this type of illustration is chosen. An artist can apply different tones, dots, and fine lines in different characteristics and densities to make precise details.

Using ink on light surface outcomes in high contrast between the pieces which ignores the fact that this method is single coloured.


Modern Illustration Methods

These type of illustrations are designed and brought to life using the latest methods and trends in design. These types of illustrations add a feel of modernity to your whole artboard.


Freehand digital illustrations

type of illustrations

The freehand digital illustration only differentiates in the production which is done with programs like adobe illustrator, adobe Photoshop and etc., and also the nature of the illustration being digital.

Other than that it is much like the traditional technique being done on paper or canvas. There are advantages to be noted such as having access to a broad range of colours, brush presets and tools to make the process of illustration happen a lot easier and faster.

Edits and changes are easier to be made and mistakes can be undone as well. The use of colours and shadings to achieve certain effects are the positive reinforcements in this type of illustration.

Since the product is digital art, it can be printed only in certain sizes and there is an extent to zoom in or enlarge it or the quality decreases and the image becomes blurry. Freehand digital illustration is used for storytelling, animations, and etc.


Vector graphics

In vector graphics/illustrations every point is represented on coordinate axes for determining the direction of the path. This type of illustration can be saved in PDF, EPS, or SVG extensions. Opposing to freehand digital graphic design, these illustrations can be zoomed or scaled to an extent without losing quality.

They are mainly used to create illustrations for webs such as logos and posters. Because of their clear outline and precise nature, they are usually ideal for print media and aren`t much used in detailed works or sketch-related works.

They can be skewed, stretched and changed in various ways to get the desirable results. Since they carry certain limitations due to their main characteristics, they aren`t used in photo-realistic arts and/or to add details to an artwork.


Different genres of illustration

modern illustration - type of illustrations

Illustration has a broad range of genres and each represents its own goal. Such as Children book illustration which is aimed towards a young audience featuring bright colours and scenes that are easy to understand. This type of illustration is very clear and you can see what is happening to the characters.

Next is the Narrative illustration that is used to represent the content of a text. This type of illustration depending on the intention of the author or illustrator will represent words in a more realistic or abstract way.

The comic illustration is followed by a series of event and develops the action of a story in a number of parts. In this type of illustration, the author and illustrator come together to visually represent the action.

Some illustrators are interested in making humour through their art. They create pieces that are easy to understand and imaginative for their audience. Now we move to editorial illustration which is about making illustrations for magazines, newspapers and publications that are committed to engaging the reader into the content.

Their main concern is to represent the text which is sometimes literal and other times metaphorical. Illustration in advertising is to be able to transfer a message and also attract potential clients. Fashion illustration is used for fashion designers and their characteristic is that bodies are more elongated than usual and features clothes of a certain designer or brand.


Importance and goal of illustration

The illustration can be used to explain difficult concepts or enhancing the user’s experience. One of the important uses that it has is that it brings originality towards an approach. Most of the photos that are available for us is also used by others, therefore one of the ways to bring uniqueness to a work is to generate a custom illustration to gain the desired appeal and outcome.

If you want to enhance the appeal of a certain photograph, you can bring plain and dull photos to life with a few effective illustration techniques in order to change the feel and look of your website to an extent.

The illustration can make storytelling more interesting by engaging the target audience`s attention in an effective way. Another way to gain publicity and uniqueness for your website is to boost the brand.

You can boost your presence on the web and make it stand out by using an original illustration. If you want to show your ideas to your potential clients with creativity and clarity, you can add an illustration to your work and make communication plain.



Illustrations take a huge part of the modern lifestyle and if paid attention they are engaged in pretty much everything. There are a lot of contents about illustrations online that can help you gain more insight about them like how woodcutting technique is done or adobe illustrator tutorials.

To sum up, now that we know what illustrations are and how much they affect our lives, it is time to find free illustrations online. These are some links that offer free illustrations for websites and are available for everyone:

Complete List of Best Free Illustration Libraries

The following are the best free illustration libraries from where you can get thousands of traditional and modern illustration art and vector art.

Dave Miller
Dave Miller

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