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Introduction to Illustration (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 25th September 2024 (Code VC006-112) Add to Basket Wednesdays from
25th September 2024 6:30pm - 9:30pm • (10 classes)
Charteris Land Art studio (G.03) • Tutor: Katarzyna Matyjaszek MA; MSc
£350.00 Concessions and discounts

Course Summary

This course introduces students on how to tell a story through images. Exploring narrative illustrations based on literary sources, to investigating visual interpretations of themes and texts through drawing and mixed media approaches. The course will enable students to be taken through a series of illustration briefs which explore the planning and development stages of illustration as well as the context. This will lead to students’ visual interpretation to a given or chosen text, a more ambitious outcome.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Special Information

This course will include a limited supply of basic papers and cards. However please do acquire the materials recommended for this course.

Materials you will need to bring to the first class:

  • An A4-sized sketchbook

  • A selection of drawing materials such as pencils, dipping pen, fine-liners or colour pencils according to student preference

In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicative tools, materials and equipment:

  • An A4-sized sketchbook

  • 2B, 4B and 6B pencils

  • A dipping pen and a drawing nib

  • A few sheets of A2 or A1 cartridge paper; according to your personal preference

  • A selection of drawing materials such as fine-liners, watercolours, inks or colour pencils depending on depending on individual projects

Content of Course

Over the class sessions the course will cover:

1. What is Illustration?

2. Ideas ‘Inner Animal’ Brief.

3. Observational drawing and sketch books – Documentary illustration brief.

4. What is research and how can students research?

5. Experimentation with materials and process – Packaging brief.

6. Composition – Editorial brief.

7. Text & Image – Book jacket brief.

8. What is a brief? Planning personal projects.

9. Developing and resolving a personal project

10. Group critiques.

Teaching method(s)

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor.  Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a ‘directed study plan’ which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness. Students are expected to demonstrate how their research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks, a visual digital journal and practical outcomes. 

The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to develop ideas supported by a contextual awareness for historical and contemporary illustrations through employing a range of practical research approaches.

  • Show an enquiring approach to developing a personal visual language by exploring various processes and materials in creative responses to an illustration brief.

  • Evidence appropriate judgement to present a body of resolved work, demonstrating a range of ideas, storyboarding and its development.


Core Readings


  • BAINES, P., 2005, Penguin by Design: a cover story, London: Penguin Books.

  • HYLAND, A. and Bell, R., 2003. Hand to Eye: a survey of contemporary illustration. London: Laurence King Publishing.

  • BLAKE, Q., 2002. Magic Pencil: children's book illustration today. London: The British Council; The British Library.

  • NEW, J., 2005. Drawing from life: the journal as art. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Web Sources

Class Handouts


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.