Kawaii KittenLove, friendship, loneliness, appreciation of good food… these are emotions we all experience. It’s part of human condition.

An image that depicts a familiar emotion evokes a deep emotional response within us.

In this post I will explore how images cause us to have this emotional response. I will also show 15 examples of illustrations that do this very well.

Most of the examples I use show positive emotions. These are the images and feelings I welcome into my life.

You may not agree, but it is my experience that images that surround us penetrate deeply into our mind. Therefore, we must be selective about the kind of images we choose to create and to surround ourselves with.

How Images Evoke an Emotional Response

We respond strongly and unambiguously to images. Why?

Scientists have observed that human brains don’t know the difference between experiencing something and imagining it. Same neurons fire! Therefore, looking at an image is a direct way to have a profound experience. That’s why vision is our dominant sense.

One way we experience emotions from an image is by interpreting what is happening in the picture, what is the story, and how we relate to it. For example, if you’ve been in love, you will be moved by romantic images of two people embracing.

Understand the emotion that you want to communicate. Find a situation (perhaps from your personal experience, a movie, or even a Google search) that causes the emotion to happen. Now you have the structure and the idea for your illustration.

Drawing on your personal experiences is a good way to illustrate emotions. Chances are, someone else is experiencing the same feelings! Plus, it helps you understand yourself better through your art making. It’s a win-win!

After selecting the theme, you can use devices such as colour and tone to add the right mood to your illustration. If it’s about love, bright colours of red and pink might be appropriate. If it’s about sadness and loneliness, bring out the rain and dark heavy clouds.

Look at lots of illustrations you like, and ask yourself, “Why do I like them?” Over time, you will develop your own library of stories and emotions that you want to share with the world.

Below are 15 of my favourite ones ๐Ÿ™‚

15 Masterful Illustrations of Human Emotions

1. Today the Flowers Are For You

Emotion of romantic love

Illustration by Animuba

2. Meaning of Love

Emotion of partnership

Illustrations of “Love Is…”

When I was a child, these were paper inserts inside gum packs. I loved discovering and collecting new pictures. The feeling of love that these illustrations evoked in the 12-year-old me stay with me to this day.

3. Unexpected Love

Emotion of unexpected love

Illustration by yours truly, Tatyana Deniz ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Mother Holding Her Child

Emotion of mother's love for her child

Illustration my Wild Rose Studio

5. Mother Hugging Her Child

Emotion of mother's love

Illustration by Loxly Hollow

6. Mother and Baby Share Special Moments

Woodland Foxes Illustration by Mika

Illustration by Mika

7. Mother Protecting Her Child

Kawaii hen protecting her baby

“Mother Hen” Illustration by Tatyana Deniz

Of course, I had to draw an illustration of mother & baby! ๐Ÿ™‚ Since becoming a mother myself, I feel deeply moved by these images. ♥

8. Friendship Between Animals and Men

Emotion of friendship

“Giant Wombat” Illustrated by Flossy P

9. Friends Having a Good Time

Emotion of sharing a good time

“Picnic” Illustration by Aida Zamora

10. Adventure!

Emotion of adventure!

Illustration by Rachelle Anne Miller

11. Flight of Imagination

Emotion of imagination

Illustration by Naoko Stoop

12. Tender Care and Nurturing

Emotion of care and nurturing

Baby Bear Waters the Flowers (Artist Unknown)

13. Power of Creativity

Emotion of creativity

“Painter” illustration by Pete Revonkorpi

14. Standing in the Rain

Emotion of being along in the rain

Illustration by Jorey Hurley

15. Delicious Food

Emotion of good food

Kawaii Ramen Illustration (Artist Unknown)

I may just have to go and get a bowl of ramen after seeing this illustration!!

Materials I Used This Week

This week I decided to add some color to the drawings by using watercolor washes. Unfortunately, the vellum surface paper I am using is not suited to wet media, so that didn’t work. I was only able to paint little hearts and blushes along with pen outlines.

That’s ok. I will get some hot press watercolour paper. It has a very smooth surface, and it is excellent for blending colours right on the paper. ๐Ÿ™‚

The two pens I used this week are Tombow Dual Brush (black) and Copic Multiliner 0.3 (black) for fine detail. The paper I used is vellum surface. Excellent for pen illustration. Not so excellent for watercolor, heh.

Finally, the watercolour box set I used is super awesome! It was a present from a friend, and it has 24 vibrant colors in compact little boxes. The box itself is a palette, plus it has an additional fold out palette. The paints are artist-quality and fade-resistant. Love it!

Full disclosure: I personally own and use all of these. If you buy anything using my links, Amazon will pay me a small commission (no cost to you - thank you!). But if you normally shop somewhere else, it's totally ok too.

Drawing Time Diary

Monday, April 17: 10 mins
Tuesday, April 18: 1 hr
Wednesday, April 19: 1 hr, 1 hr 20 mins
Thursday, April 20:  45 mins, 1 hr
Friday, April 21: no drawing
Saturday, April 22: 15 mins
Sunday, April 23: no drawing (blogging)

Total drawing time: 5 hours 30 mins

Next week I will write about humour for drawing and illustration. Be sure to check it out on Sunday, April 30th!

Next week is the final week (week 24) of my drawing challenge. Wow. Unbelievable that it is nearly over… Thank you for coming along on this journey. You can view my progress week-by-week at this link. See you soon!