In general sense, illustration is the art of representing pictorially some idea which has been expressed in words. It is as old as art itself.

The art of illustration is a comparatively modern product. In actual association with literature in its printed form becomes 'illustration'. The illustrator's also work is the complement of expression in some other medium. A poem can hardly exit which does not awaken in the mind at some moment either of picture or music. The sensitive temperament of the artist or the musician is able to realize out of words some parallel idea which can only be conveyed, or can be best conveyed, through his own medium of music or painting. Similarly, music or painting may and often does poetry. It is from this inter- relation of the emotions governing the different arts that illustration mat be said to spring.

The success of illustration lies then in the instinctive transference of an idea from one medium to another, the more spontaneous it be and the less labored in application, the better. Leaving on one side the illustration manuscripts of the middle age, we start with the fact that illustration was coincident with the invention of printing. The sudden development of engraving on metal and wood also drew many painters towards illustration as a further opportunity for the exercise of their powers and line work either original or engraved by others. Illustration has generally flourished in any particular age.


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