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Illustration 2: Responding to a Brief

Course Level: 2 (HE5) | HE Credits: 60 | Approx. Duration: 15 months at 10hrs/week


This course builds on your learning from illustration 1 by developing your practical skills, extending your critical and contextual understanding of illustration by undertaking client led projects, exploring reportage illustration, introducing you to sequential illustration, and by starting to define your own voice and visual language within your work. Working to a brief is central to the practice of illustration, taking this context as a starting point this course will begin to locate your practice professionally by explore how to develop your visual language, intepretive skills and ability to visualise your ideas to creatively respond to the demands of a brief. This course will explore reportage illustration, investigating how you use drawing and illustration to capture a sense of place, introduce contemporary forms of illustration such as street art. It will introduce you to digital artworking, using software to scan, make and manipulate your images; explore narrative and sequential images through storyboards, comics, graphic novels and simple animations; and develop a greater understanding of metaphor and meaning within your and other illustrators visual language. The learning log will be used to document and reflect your learning journey and location of your practice. Developing critique and self-reflective skills are important in helping define your own visual language and assessing the effectiveness of your visual communications, these will be supported through written feedback, peer interaction and tutor feedback.


The course aims to:

  • A1 develop an understanding of the visual language, practices and processes of reportage, narrative and intepretive illustration;
  • A2 explore the relationship between illustrator, client and audiences;
  • A3 apply creative problem solving, interpretive and/or reportage skills to client led briefs, competitions or other real world contexts
  • A4 apply visual research and idea development techniques;
  • A5provide an opportunity to select, test and apply appropriate methods of visual and written communication;
  • A6 develop the skills for the critical evaluation of the work of others and of self.


On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • LO1 show a critical and contextual understanding of illustration practices (A1, A6)
  • LO2 demonstrate an ability to interpret and creatively respond to client led or self-initiated briefs (A2, A3)
  • LO3 generate visual research and outcomes that show some personal visual language (A4);
  • LO4 pesent evidence of selection, testing, application and evaluation of illustration skills and techniques (A1, A5, A6)

Course content

  • An overview of reportage illustration: exploring the sketchbook / drawing as document; an investigation into illustration beyond the page / street art. An appreciation of the relationship between illustration, graphic design, and typography.
  • The practice of illustration: applying creative interpretive skills to a range of contexts.
  • Understanding how to work to a brief or text and appreciating the demands of working for a client and audience; an introduction to digital art working and desk top publishing; using software for scanning, image making and image manipulation.
  • Visual language: a creative exploration of metaphor, meaning, and symbolism within illustration; an introduction to the use of symbolism in the work of key illustrators and artists; sourcing and using images / reference material within illustration, copyright issues; an introduction to narrative and sequential images within illustration, comics and graphic novels and an introduction to simple animation techniques.
  • A creative exploration of the use of narrative within illustration; an introduction to storyboards, comic strips and sequential images.
  • Application of skills learnt so far; developing illustrative responses to narrative, reportage and interpretive starting points; reflection on style within work through further development of the critique