Key time periods in the history of illustration.
Early humans used symbols, ideograms, and drawings to record their world and to aid in the practice of ritual.
Farming and trade in Egypt and Mesopotamia form large competing cultures.
Art and illustration of the Mediterranean and Aegean civilizations.
The Middle Ages
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Europe sank into a 700 year period of instability and then began a gradual recovery that led to the Renaissance.
The Renaissance brings a division between fine art and craft.
Early 18th Century
Illustrations in prints and books reflect society.
Late 18th Century
Illustration at the time of the Industrial Revolution becomes a more common part of the printed materials that are seen daily.
Early 19th Century
Social and political illustration reaches the public through satirical prints, newspapers and journals. Illustrated novels become more common as does fiction intended for children.
Late 19th Century
Illustrated children's literature and illustrated magazines bring the beauty and pleasure of art into daily life.
The Decade 1900-1910
Magazines extend their media dominance and take advantage of new color printing capabilities.
The Decade 1910-1920
Full-color printing is adopted by all the major magazines, and book publishers produce novels and classic literature with illustrated plates.
The Decade 1920-1930
New illustration stylizations join traditional ones to portray post-war American culture in the "Roaring Twenties."
The Decade 1930-1940
The illustration profession in the 1930s was radically affected by the Great Depression and new forms of entertainment.
The Decade 1940-1950
Illustrators depict war-time adventure and romance stories in magazines and use their talents to help support the war effort.
The Decade 1950-1960
The decade of the 1950s is a bridge between pre- and post-war illustration and the new illustration styles of the 1960s.
The Decade 1960-1970
Contemporary social and political issues dominate American culture and are reflected by the art of illustration as the post-war generation comes of age.
The Decade 1970-1980
The 1970s were the beginning of a two-decade long "renaissance" in illustration.
The Decade 1980-1990
The illustration profession changes as new communication technologies affect the ways that art and business are conducted.
The Decade 1990-2000
Illustrators take up new digital tools and struggle in an economy adjusting to technological change.
The Decade 2000-2010
Technological innovation opens up new opportunities for illustrators.