Updated: January 03, 2022
IRWIN ALLEN FAN GRAPHIC ART GALLERY #03
The term 'graphic art' (a derivation from the German Graphik, originating from graphikos, the
Greek for drawing) commonly denotes those forms of visual expression that depend for their
effect on line and tone (disegno), not colour (colorito). The main classical type of graphic art
is drawing, which includes cartoons, caricature, comic strips and animation, as well as line
drawings and sketching with pencil or charcoal, and pen and ink. Graphic art also denotes those
art forms involved in printmaking, such as etching and engraving, including drypoint.
Although always a type of visual art, graphic artworks can also (depending on the application) be
classified as applied art (if design-oriented), or fine art (if stand-alone).
The supreme type of graphic art is surely calligraphy, the art of stylized writing, originating in
the Far East.
The two great forms of calligraphic art derive from the Arabic and Oriental languages (Chinese,
Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean), although the art has been consistently practised in the languages
of India, Tibet, Persia, Latin and others.
Another exemplar of decorative graphics is Celtic style designwork. This derives from the Ancient Celts,
and from Hiberno-Saxon Insular art. Its curvilinear motifs had a strong influence on the development of
modern styles of artistic design like Art Nouveau.
Fashion Graphic Design:
Another form of graphic art is simple illustration, involving black and white drawings or sketches which
explain a piece of text, although a better example of textual graphic work is monochromatic illumination
the art of embellishing text through the use of complex typographical and alphabetical symbols.
Peaking during France's Belle Epoque (1890s), poster art was made possible by Jules Cheret (1836-1932) and
his invention of his "three stone lithographic process", and popularized by the Post-Impressionist Toulouse-Lautrec
(1864-1901), the Czech artist Alfonse Mucha (1860-1939), and a number of decorative artists and designers
including Theophile Steinlen (1859-1923), Eugene Grasset (1845-1917), Albert Guillaume (1873-1942), Pierre Bonnard
(1867-1947), Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942), Lucian Bernhard, William Bradley and
Edward Penfield. For more information, see: History of Poster Art.
In the era of postmodernist art, the term 'graphics' has come to denote computer-generated imagery, as used for
example on television in the form of expository diagrams, in commercial printing and on the Internet. It is
what used to be called commercial art, and is not confined to black and white works. In this commercial sense,
graphic artists inhabit an area close to graphic design, as practised in areas of applied art such as textiles,
wallpapers, tiles and so on.