An illustration is a drawn, painted or computer-generated visual object explaining, clarifying or visually representing some concept that can be explained in a textual format. It can be an object intended for commercial use, for illustration of some abstract term, or a mere decorative item. Visual art has a long history of existence, dating back many millennia. Even prehistoric people captured the power of a visual image and drew illustrations on stones, woods, walls of ancient buildings, and handicraft items.
Since ancient times, illustrations were created via woodcutting and lithography, produced on metal etchings, drawn with pencil or pen, with charcoal, watercolor, acrylics, and gouache. Collage and pen-and-ink illustrations have also been popular. With the advent of photography and later with the development of computer-generated images (CGIs), the concept of an illustration underwent a fundamental transformation. Photographed images are realistic, while hand-drawn and computer-generated images may be of a more creative style. Modern illustrations for animation are created with the help of 2D and 3D software, 3DMax and Maya, as well as a realm of digital tools and techniques adding realism, special effects, textures, and styles to the images. Styles of digital illustrations include freehand digital art, vector graphics, concept art, etc.