Technical illustrators in the past used ink, pens and T-squares to map
out their drawings, but that method of drawing is becoming less and less common.
"Those things are in my studio museum now," says illustrator Chris Ceccarelli.
"Everything from architecture to blueprints and instructions with exploded
views are more than likely done on a computer."
Technical illustrators are the people who draw diagrams and directions
for understanding how things work. They also prepare the artwork for operating
manuals for cars and appliances, industry parts and much more. They illustrate
company newsletters and digitally enhance photos.
Technical illustrations are designed to help people understand how to install
or fix a product. They are also made to help designers fabricate and piece
together a new product.
Drawings are also used for promotional and advertising purposes. Advertising
illustrations usually show how a device operates, or they depict a product
that can't be photographed well.
"A lot of parts are impossible to photograph, so a company calls me in,"
To begin their job, technical illustrators meet with the company or with
product designers to discuss how to depict the product. The illustrator does
a rough sketch. They may take the part as a measure for drawing or may photograph
it. Sometimes, the drawing must be made by following an oral description.
"There's always the creative sense like, 'This is what the client wants
and this is the way it's gong to be used. What's the best way it can be represented?'
I think that's where a lot of creativity can be employed," says illustrator
"But for the most part, you're getting a message through. There isn't going
to be a lot of room for artistic expression."
The work is mostly done on computer. According to people in the field,
technical illustrating is not physically difficult.
Draw diagrams for products and manuals
Watch a one-minute video showing what it's like to work in this career or related careers
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators
Note: This movie requires QuickTime.