Technical Illustrator

As manufactured products become increasingly sophisticated, there is a growing need for technical information to be presented in a form that is acceptable to both experts and lay people.

One of the most efficient ways of doing this is to use technical illustrations. Professional technical illustrators must prepare these illustrations. Technical illustration is the preparation of visual images to communicate factual information of any kind.

Technical illustrators may be required to produce illustrations of many different kinds and of many different subjects. Typical examples of technical illustrators’ work include:

  • three-dimensional assembled views

  • three-dimensional exploded views

  • sections, cut-aways and ghosted views

  • functional diagrams

  • flow diagrams

  • electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic circuit diagrams

Subjects covered by these illustrations range from the most complex power station or aircraft, to everyday items such as cameras, calculators or televisions.

However, regardless of the type of illustration or the subject matter, technical illustrators must produce visual images that are technically accurate. Even though the work of different illustrators may vary slightly in style and presentation, they do not have the freedom to produce works of art as exhibited by either graphic artists or other artists.

Although most technical illustrations are prepared in line form using pen and ink, the technical illustrator must be able to work in various mediums, using many different techniques. These techniques include the use of an airbrush to produce more realistic images.


  • armaments industry

  • automotive industry

  • aircraft industry

  • any type of manufacturing industry

  • self-employment, on a contract basis for companies in need of this service

Getting Started

  • take courses or extra lessons in art and/or technical drawing

  • make an appointment to speak to a technical illustrator about this type of career


Coastal KZN TVET College, College of Cape Town , Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Lovedale Public TVET College, Motheo TVET College, North-West University, Tshwane North TVET College, University of Johannesburg, Vuselela TVET College

Related Occupations