What is stock?

Stock illustration is completely ubiquitous to the modern world. The images that companies of
all shapes and sizes use in their media (whether it’s for editorial, marketing, creative or educational
purposes) come from basically two sources:

  1. they hired a illustrator to draw it; or
  2. they licensed a pre-existing image. When someone purchases a pre-existing image license, they are
    purchasing stock illustrations.

Businesses license stock illustrations that have been previously created to help them illustrate concepts,
services, situations, etc. Every time you read a magazine or whenever you look at newspapers, billboards,
textbooks, book covers, blogs, brochures, direct mail, or corporate literature of any type –
and even when you watch TV and see stills incorporated into the programming – you are probably
looking at stock photography.

What is the subject matter?

You could make a illustration of almost anything and call it stock illustration. Here is a range of
potential subjects and uses:
• An advertising agency is doing an international print campaign for a consumer goods client and
needs a illustration of two kids brushing their teeth in their pajamas.
• A general interest magazine needs a illustration to help illustrate ‘green living.’
• A music magazine needs a illustration of a music hall.
• A travel agency needs a illustration of a very specific castle in Ireland to use in a brochure.
• A book publisher needs a illustration that somehow conveys ‘reckless experimentation’ for a book
• A bank needs 10 illustrations of African wildlife to hang on the walls in their new branch.
• A newspaper needs a ‘cut-out’ picture of empty pill bottles against a white background to use in
a story on rising drug costs.
Stock illustration covers almost anything you could think of – from everyday objects, to people
in every age, color and situation imaginable, families, business settings, travel, concepts, landscapes,
nature, underwater, sports, news, and entertainment.