Talk:Technical illustration

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The practice[edit]

Is Technical Illustration dead? I've been a Technical Illustrator for almost 30 years now and every year there seems to be less and less work. Hardly anyone has the budget these days for an Illustration that can take months of work.

Raymond Ore, - 24 April 2007. 00:45 (UTC)

I agree. As an illustrator for over 20 years, it seems like it is not valued as much as it used to be or the quality is not as important.
By the way, why does the definition of this continue to change by people who seem to have no idea what technical illustration is all about? " complete the operation of a procedure". Not necessarily.
I would go ahead and change it again but it keeps getting changed back OR is get grouped into technical writing. - 1 June 2007, 00:00 (UTC)
Popular science magazines are still full of them, but most of it is digital or digitally enhanced. If you are an old-school Rotring artist, more power to you, but yes, that is going out of fashion, for cost reasons, as you state. (talk) 06:11, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

The definition of technical illustration[edit]

I think this article is in need of a more clear definition of technical illustration. As a start I have collected some definitions and descriptions from the field:

  • 1. Technical illustrator Kevin Hulsey (1955) stated here (version 2007):
“Technical illustration is not subjective like fine art or other types of illustration,” Kevin explains. “The only requirements are that you draw the subject matter correctly and make the illustration readable. Lighting, and deciding where and/or how to cut-away an object are the most ‘creative’ aspects of illustration?”
"Technical illustration is a specilized field in the world of graphics and design"
"In basic terms, technical illustration employs a balance of informative graphics, text, and embedded data or intelligence to compose pictorial views that visually communicate and clarify critical product information".) Source:here)
"The definition of technical illustration is taken quite simply to be illustration of man-made materials, objects and constructions, possibly including the situations in which they are used and the processes and systems in which they are incorporated..."
"Technical subjects include vehicles and transport systems by air, land or sea, from space probes to the family car; working structures, from nuclear power stations to oil rigs to windmills; heavy industrial and agricultural machinery, from whole processing plants down to the smallest components of individual machines; telecommunications apparatus and networks; computer hardware; domestic appliances and everyday items such as cameras, calculators, radios and watches; and energy sources for mechanical and electrical devices, such as pump and motor actions, wiring and lubrication systems..."
"This is far from being an exhaustive list, but it indicates the general context of technical illustration work."
"This type off illustration ... can take a concept, blueprint, CAD drawing or design and bring it to life with complete technical accuracy"... It "could explain a difficult concept or hidden process, provide multiple angles or views of a piece of equipment at the same time, or even demonstrate a design where the product only exists in your imagination".
"Technical Illustration also offers a photorealistic and unparalleled view at a fraction of the cost that it may take to actually build a prototype. In another example, it may be difficult or impractical to do a recording of a device or process; perhaps the site cannot be accessed, or is extremely hazardous. In this case, Technical Illustration can take viewers “inside” and will focus their attention on only the items you want them to see".
"It is the use of drawing and diagrams to visually communicate information in a technical manner. In the past technical illustrations were created manually using drawing tools such as colouring pens and brushes. However, illustration software programs have replaced the role of the manual drawing tools. Today, a technical illustrator must be able to use the relevant tools and drawing software for creating drawings of technical subjects. Example of technical subjects are engines and exploded views of machineries."
""Drawing a view of an object in three dimensions according to blueprint specifications." (Thomas) It is also sometimes called Industrial Graphics, Production Illustration, Engineering Illustration, Technical Art, or Design Illustration. It must be clear, and easily understood even by those with limited knowledge of blueprints."
"A technical illustration is a rendering (drawings, diagrams, images, designs) that combines computer graphics and art to visually communicate complex technical information. Technical illustrations form documents of varying complexity and use a diverse range of media - from printed materials to interactive screen illustrations. Parts catalogs, schematics, wiring diagrams and assembly instructions for maintenance manuals are just a few examples of technical illustrations."

Now there are enough definitions to work with. They are however not in line. For example no 2 defines it as

  • a specilized field in the world of graphics and design,

while according to description no 7 definition

  • it can mean almost anything in the field of graphics from drawings, diagrams, images to designs.

These two opinions seem to be the two opposites, and the rest of the definitions from the field are in the middle.

If you take in account who is talking here, these differences become somehow understandable. No 2 is an illustrator adverticing his specalized work, and no 7 is the software developer praising the software features. However the fact remains that the term "Technical illustration" can have those two meanings. I should take an other look at the definitions in scientific literature.

-- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 22:48, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

In books[edit]

  • T.A. Thomas (1978) in Technical illustration (Gregg Division, McGraw-Hill) includes in his book:
What is technical illustration -- Freehand technical sketching -- Isometric drawing -- Ellipse and hexagon templates -- Basic techniques intersections and sections -- Measuring with sphere and protractors -- Ellipse as a measuring device -- Fastners and springs -- Layout and construction methods -- Perspective drawing -- Shading techniques photo retouching and airbrush -- Oblique drawing -- Inking methods and equipment
See also here
  • Clive Holmes (1982) in Beginner's Guide to Technical Illustration (Newnes Technical Books) includes:
Isometric projection, technical pens, dimetric projection, circlip, knurl, french curves, right angle bracket, Oblique projection, split pin, minor axis, stipple, City and Guilds, mechanical pencil, Roller chain, major axis, centre point, millimetres, spur gears, Third Angle Projection, milling cutter

Books entitled "Technical Illustration", chronologically:

  • Higgins Ink Company Brooklyn (1953). Technical Illustration‎. Higgins Ink Company. 62 pp.
  • A D Pyeatt (1960). Technical Illustration.‎ Higgins Ink Co. 113 pp.
  • Robert Lloyd Batho (1968). A Practical Approach to Technical Illustration‎ 72 pp.
  • Joseph Clifford Gibby (1970). Technical Illustration: Procedure and Practice‎. American Technical Society. 352 pp.
  • T.A. Thomas (1972). Problems in Technical Illustration‎. McGraw-Hill 166 pp.
  • James H. Earle (1978). Technical Illustration‎ Creative Pub. Co., 1978 ISBN 0932702651. 70 pp.
  • T.A. Thomas (1978). Technical illustration. Gregg Division, McGraw-Hill.
  • John A. Nelson (1979). Technical Illustration, Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0442257775
  • John A. Nelson (1979). Drafting for Trades & Industry--technical Illustration: Technical Illustration‎. Delmar Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0827318480
  • Clive Holmes (1982) Beginner's Guide to Technical Illustration. Newnes Technical Books, 1982. ISBN 0408005823. 166 pp.
  • George C. Beakley, Donald D. Autore, David W. Hudgins (1983). Introduction to Technical Illustration‎ Bobbs-Merrill Educational Pub., 1983. ISBN 0672979934
  • James D. Bethune (1983). Technical Illustration‎. Prentice Hall, 1983. ISBN 0139039562
  • Jon M. Duff (1983). Industrial Technical Illustration‎. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983. ISBN 0442219571
  • Jan Mracek (1983). Technical Illustration and Graphics‎ Prentice-Hall, 1983. ISBN 013898171X
  • Judy Martin (1989). Technical Illustration: Materials, Methods and Techniques‎ Child & Associates, 1989 ISBN 0867771356
  • Kazuo Abe, Fumihiko Nishioka (1993). Diagram Graphics: The Best in Graphs, Charts, Maps and Technical Illustration‎. Nippan, 1993. ISBN 4938586347
  • Jon M. Duff, Jon M Dudd (1993). Technical Illustration with Computer Applications‎. Prentice-Hall, 1993. ISBN 0138990484.
  • P.I.E.Books Staff (1998). Diagram Collection: The Best in Graphs, Charts, Maps, and Technical Illustration. P.I.E. Books. Nippon Shuppan Hanbai (Deutschland) GmbH, 1998. ISBN 3931884066
  • John A. Dennison, Charles D. Johnson (2003). Technical Illustration: Techniques and Applications‎. Goodheart-Willcox, 2003. ISBN 1566378710

Now these are 19 books entitled "Technical Illustration" I could find so far.

-- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 23:35, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Nontechnical audiences?[edit]

This seems to be a POV assumption that the main purpose of technical illustrations is to describe or explain these items to a more or less nontechnical audience. Why exclude "Technical audiences?" Why wouldn't a skilled person benefit from a technical illustration? If technical illustrations aren't for technical audiences, then what kind of illustrations are? Oicumayberight (talk) 08:49, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Find a reference that confirms your concerns and we add it to the article. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 09:01, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
P.S. For now I rephrased that one sentence

Technial Illustration Images[edit]

I changed the main visible landing image to more accurately demonstrate technical illustration. Has anyone got any more images to add? For a page on technical illustration it seems odd to not have more related images, especially black and white line art.

Gerald Geake,, 20:55 26 April 2009 (UTC)

I can live with changing the first image, for now. What I don't understand is, why there should be more black and white illustrations of engineering systems in the article. Aren't two of these images enough? -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 21:15, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, although don't underestimate how much of technical illustration is taken up by black and white line art, Gerald Geake,, 08:55 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Article section(s) removed[edit]

Due to possible violation of copyright, see WP:Copyvio, I have removed one or more section of this article for now.

I apologize for all inconvenience I have caused here, see also here. If you would like to assist in improving this article, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get. Thank you.

-- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 23:29, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Scientific illustration[edit]

I believe there is a distinct subset of Technical illustration, known as scientific illustration. This style is characterized by simple pen and ink lines and stipples, to convey flora and fauna, cells, and other natural history images with more precision than a photo, and a minimum of artistic interpretation. i believe there are strict rules about what technique is used for any given surface to be portrayed. i added a link to a sample image in this style, and a sentence stating briefly what i have said here. I think the subject needs further expansion.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 02:26, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

I know what you are trying to say with "a minimum of artistic interpretation" but this kind of misses the point by stating what it isn't instead of what it is, A good scientific illustrator brings his or her knowledge of the subject into the rendering. That is both an artful and an interpretative act! What you mean rather is that flight of fancy and dramatic flourishes are banned (and even there there is a tiny bit of room for debate), (talk) 06:09, 12 April 2016 (UTC)