This is a kind of image that I've seen in dictionaries and encyclopaedias since my childhood. That kind of educative images have a theme. In the image there's a lot of different things related to that theme but in a context. I mean, let's suppose it is an image about animals, there are not just isolated images of animals against a backdrop like this one:

This is not what I mean

Animals on white background

... but instead the animals would be depicted in a context as if you were lucky enough to, by chance, meet all kinds of animals in the same picture frame while they were going about their lives, like this:

This is what I mean:

Animals on pictorial background

Here's another example about a complete different theme, notice how every geographic feature is depicted in context as if happening in an imaginary place where everything happens at the same time for ilustrative purposes:

This is also what I mean:

Animals on map background

Often every object in the image would have a number referring to a legend under the image.

A word that occurs to me is diorama but I'm sure that's not the correct word. I don't even know what to call it in my native tongue, so I cannot do a dictionary lookup.

  • 1
    Perhaps "tableau" would do, at least for the animal picture.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 12:18
  • 2
    Or collage - where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. Or even montage - a mixture of different things Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 12:27
  • Those are all good words that cover more or less the same ground; and there's also panorama, which does, too. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 14:00
  • Your illustration of animals in a jungle/forest habitat combines jungle species, savanna species, and temperate species, as well as various animals from Africa (most of the ones shown), South America (the macaws, the emerald tree boa, and what appears to be a jaguar), Borneo (the orangutan), and North America (the green-winged teals). So what you're seeing in this wildlife scene is exceedingly unnatural.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 20:29
  • 1
    @SvenYargs Yes it is. The image about geographic features is also unnatural. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 0:13

2 Answers 2


A panoramic illustration:


  • (Art Terms) a large extended picture or series of pictures of a scene, unrolled before spectators a part at a time so as to appear continuous. (Collins)


  • something that illustrates, as a picture in a book or magazine. (AHD)

The Free Dictrionary

  • 1
    Panorama is a series of views one after one - an imitation of turning head and looking around, attached to each other as if it is one spherical view. In this question all illustrations are one hypothetical view, not a panorama. If you enter 'panorama' in google image search, you will see landscapes only, and no illustrations.
    – Oleksii
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 3:20
  • @javaNoobs - No, as you can se from the definition I posted a Panorama can also be a large extended picture.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 4:28
  • Josh61, this type of illustration is not a large extended picture, it is only a combined image of different objects that can hypothetically be in the picture at different time as if they are there at the same time. Panorama is what you see on google image search when you look for 'panorama'.
    – Oleksii
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 7:49

When I was a child, I had an educational wildlife atlas with illustrations of animals in their habitats/biomes. There were different habitats like rainforest, coast, desert, arctic, jungle, ocean, savannah etc.

I did some research and couldn't find the exact book; but I found a similar book called Wildlife Atlas, a Complete Guide to Animals and Their Habitats (by John Farndon) in amazon.com and these kind of illustrations are called realistic illustrations in the description.

The animal habitat illustration that you provided is not that realistic but they are usually illustrated more realistically (including the animals sharing the same habitat) like below:

enter image description here

Another example is a food web illustration: (Amsel, Sheri. “Food Web Activities.” Amazon Rainforest Food Web Activity. Exploring Nature Educational Resource. © 2005 - 2015. April 24, 2015. http://exploringnature.org/db/detail.php?dbID=2&detID=3451)

enter image description here

The geographic illustration can be a type of realistic illustration also but it is more specifically a pictorial map.

Pictorial maps are a category of maps that are also loosely called illustrated maps, panoramic maps, perspective maps, bird’s-eye view maps and Geopictorial maps amongst others.

In contrast to the regular road map, Atlas or topographic cartography, pictorial maps depict a given territory with a more artistic rather than technical style. [Wikipedia]

A pictorial map can include the geographical features and animals together like this pictorial map of Cambodia: (mapcollection.wordpress.com)

enter image description here

You can see other examples in Google Images.

  • +1 Excelent answer. The geographics feature image I show in my question doesn't depict a real place or any known fictional place. It's made up on purpose to show every possible geographical feature for educational purposes. It is not realistic at all. Another example could be an image of a workshop showing every possible tool laying around with a legend naming them. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 0:36
  • @user1598390: Thanks. I said it can be but a better term is a pictorial map. Also, here, "realistic" connotes realistically illustrated as if it was real. It doen't mean it has to be a real place or an actual view.
    – ermanen
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 0:51
  • A pictorial map, like the one you show is some kind of turist promotional map where animals and landmarks are show out of scale. They serve a totally different purpose and are not the same as the geographical illustration in my question where everything is at scale and there are no animals or buildings that are larger than a complete state or region of a country. This is a great answer but I have not accepted it because it doesn't answer my question. Maybe the kindof illustrations I'm asking about doesn't have a name. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 11:14

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