Open Educational Resources

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2020


Illustration is a visual interpretation of the world around us and is meant to communicate ideas in a clear and creative manner. The illustrator uses many different tools to convey their perspective, including painting and drawing, photography, digital media, printmaking and more.

This course is an introduction to the analog, non-digital, handmade 2-dimensional techniques and materials that illustrators use and the messages they are attempting to convey. Throughout the course, you will be asked to describe and analyze different techniques and apply them to your own work. As with any other skill, warming up, exercising and practicing are essential components of being able to illustrate well. Class-time will be structured with this in mind -- I will provide time for students to warm up not just hands but also minds; I will introduce elements and principles of illustration, show examples and demonstrate ways to use them; ask students to interpret the meaning of images; and judge the effectiveness of the approaches that illustrators use.

The course is built around 6 in-depth projects designed to engage student passions, opinions and ideas about the world we all live in. Because we will be interpreting current events and the people who play a large role in these events, it is necessary that we develop a safe and tolerant environment in which to share ideas. I will encourage open-ended and wide-ranging discussions. Students will be asked to help develop this trusting, respectful, yet critical setting -- a skill that will prepare them for working in a professional environment in the future.

I will also provide ample time in class to get down to the business of illustrating. We will focus on elements: shape, line, texture, form, size, color relationships, pattern; as well as techniques: cropping, overlapping, foreshortening, perspective, figure/ground, contrast, complements, harmony, focus, and more. This requires students to come prepared for each class. Though the school will provide some materials, I have included here a supply list outlining the materials that could be purchased to complete the assignments.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Illustration Commons



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