Illustration is an art of visual communication. The combination of great artwork and wisely chosen ideas is the formula for an illustrator’s success in communicating with pictures.

At NTU’s school of Art Design and Media, students become experts in creating and understanding pictures which inform, entertain and persuade their audiences. They develop not just their drawing, painting and media skills, but their creativity and imaginations too.

The course is special in that it educates students as artists of visual communication. In a world where fine arts and communication arts are often separated, NTU’s school of Art Design and Media weaves them together. Students are encouraged to explore, innovate and express themselves personally, and uniquely, as artists do exploring the application of that art within communication projects.

They develop their creative concepts and problem solving expertise. Students examine historical forms of visual communication and aim to define its future.

Illustration for designers is a practice-based course primarily concerned with visual communication – the production of images with the aim of communicating a message. Courses in the Department of Design are rooted in Creative Thinking (innovative idea generation and making). You get to see the best of contemporary work and the most influential historical work.

The Department’s definition of what constitutes illustrative practice is broad, and work can vary from traditional drawing and painting, through graphics based, collage, photographic, print, digital and other process based drawing techniques. The course has a strong emphasis on practical work and it encourages experimental and creative approaches to image making, whilst not seeking to impose a ‘house style’ in any way. There are opportunities – as the course progresses – to develop a highly individual portfolio of work.

Illustration and Graphic design

Powerful illustration as a form of communication communicates, persuades, informs and educates. It covers a vast array of commercial applications and in trying to visualize the scope and breadth of the discipline it is wise to remember that all communication design has emerged from is practice.

The street sign, the book or newspaper, the CD sleeve, the instructions on the medicine bottle, the pack that contains your favourite brand of breakfast cereal or the software that you use have all been touched by the hand of the graphic designer.

Aims & Objectives

The course aims to stimulate and challenge your ability to communicate with a variety of set and self-initiated projects.

At the end of the course, your work will be presented as a portfolio and an exhibition.

  • Study of illustrative styles from past to present.
  • The role of illustrations in communication design.
  • Introduction of visual problem-solving.
  • Developing conceptual illustrations from sketch to reality.
  • To effectively communicate ideas with appropriate illustration
  • To contextualize practical work undertaken and reflect upon own work and the work of others
  • To understand the role of illustrators in
    a design context.
  • To acquire the ability to conceptualize
    and develop meaningful illustrations.
  • To explore visual strategies for expressing ideas.
  • To acquire the ability to examine and record personal responses to visual ideas.

Student Obligations

There will be an informal class critique and discussion upon the completion of each project assignment.

Students will study each lesson and apply that knowledge to prepare illustration and homework as assigned.

Students will complete and submit projects by due dates.

Students will participate in discussions in class or in Blackboard.

Students will be on time to class and stay until the end of the class period unless dismissed early by instructor.

Project Evaluation Criteria


Process (30%) – actively participating in class activities and discussions; work habits (including punctuality and attendance ).

Product (70%) – quality of visual communication, composition and technique; ability to follow instructions and meet deadlines; ability to understand and apply concepts; willingness to experiment; ability to develop thoughtful and creative visual statements.

PRODUCT Final Deliverables (total 70%)

Self Portrait: Using tradition/digital media
(weeks 1–3. Submission beginning of class week 4)
– 10%

Editorial Illustrations: 1 magazine Front cover and 1 double page spread (weeks 4–9. Submission beginning of class week 10)
– 20%

Applied Illustration: at least 5 items (weeks 9-13 Submission end of class week 13)
– 30%

Academic Blog: A visual and reflective diary. To include at least 10 posts documenting full developments for each project including: reflective writing, research, sketches, developments and final designs (weeks 2-14. Submission beginning of class week 14)
– 10%


70% of your grade will be assignments and project.

30% of your grade will be participation.

  • A+ 85-100
  • A 80-84
  • A- 75-79
  • B+ 70-74
  • B 65-69
  • B- 60-64
  • C+ 55-59
  • C 50-54
  • D+ 45-49
  • D 40-44
  • F 0-39

Course Text Books & Resources


The Fundamentals of Illustration Second Edition
Lawrence Zeegen
ISBN-13: 978-2940411481

Illustrated Packaging: Design and Illustration Package
Carolina Amell
ISBN-13: 978-8416500086

Illustration: A Theoretical and Contextual Perspective (Required Reading Range)
Alan Male
ISBN-13: 978-1474263023