cgvc 121 computer illustration

121 syllabus | project grades:


  • Final grade reports are available. Reports show all your grades as well as your final grade. Specific project comments can still be found on your project grade sheet (enter your access # above as usual). To get to your final grade report click here, and follow the directions on the page following.
  • Projects are graded. Final grades will be up soon.
  • My office hours the week of May 7th have to be adjusted due to committee meetings. For this week only my office hours are Wednesday [5/9] 10am-1pm, and Friday [5/11] 1-3pm.
  • Project 4 is graded. If you are missing grades for any projects at this point, please let me know asap.
  • Project 3 is graded.
  • Project 2 is graded. Instructions for accessing your grade sheet are in the prior announcement, below.
  • Adobe CS6 pattern creation - see video sneak peak
  • Class is canceled for March 8th. See Session 6 below for instructions.
  • You CAN scale and rotate your pattern with the transform and rotate tools! Hold down the tilde (~) key when using the tools. Or, use the pattern check box within the transform menu.
  • Shape Challenge grades are posted. Your grade sheet can be accessed by typing in your access number in the box at the top right of this page. Your access # is the last four digits of your student ID + 121 (e.g. if your ID is 900004444, your access number is 4444121). CLICK the 'go' button after typing in your number (hitting the return/enter key does not always work).
  • ADiM Open Lab Schedule: Spring 2012 Open Labs

sessions - click to expand -

Session 14 [ May 10 ] - Quiz 4

Topics: Working across Software


Session 13 [ May 3 ]

Topics: Brushes

Links: A Comprehensive Guide to Brushes / Creating flowers with brushes / Creating a Feathered Brush and a Set of Wings


Session 12 [ April 26 ]

Topics: 3D tools; Character Design

Links: Character lecture slides / Spin the Bottle tutorial


Session 11 [ April 19 ] - Quiz 3

Topics: Working with type, cont.

Links: Making an Ambigram / Tug and twirl text effects


  • Review chapter 12 (and 14, 19, & 20 from last week if you missed them!)
  • Complete the Product Label Project

Session 10 [ April 12 ]

Topics: Label design & working with type

Links: Label design lecture slides / Illustrator Appearances - Tackle Twill Effect / Ornate Lettering Process


Session 9 [ Mar 29 ]

Topics: Working with Symbols (duplicates, instances, sets)

Links: Symbols lecture slides / Spraying Leaf Symbols / In-Depth Study of Symbols


Session 8 [ Mar 22 ]

Topics: Perspective


Session 7 [ Mar 15 ]

Topics: Layers & Organization

Links: Layer panel overview


  • Review chapter 13
  • Review Using the blob brush - one video by Adobe TV, and another by Erik Miller is on the server (session 7 folder)
  • Review using the width tool video by Layers Magazine.

Session 6 [ Mar 8 ] - Class Canceled - Please complete the activities below for next week

Spot colors will be utilized for your Variations project (your 3 Illustrations based on the mood board). To understand spot colors and apply them, follow the steps below:

  1. Read What is a Spot Color?
  2. Read Pantone's page on spot vs. process color. Pantone is a brand of ink. Their color libraries are available in the Adobe software.
  3. Review this tutorial on where to find the color libraries in Illustrator.
  4. Open your artwork for the Variations project, and find spot color equivalents for the all colors you have used. You can use any Pantone library/color book - just choose one and stick with it. Watch two different demonstrations on how to convert your colors to spot colors:
  5. Save your re-colored artwork under a different file name (do not overwrite your original file with your initial color choices). We will take time during class next week to review your spot setup and make corrections.


  • Complete your illustrations for the Variations project. Convert the colors to spot colors, as directed in the steps above.
  • Complete this take home quiz. Work on your own, using your notes. Bring your finished quiz paper to submit next week at the beginning of class.

** Note: I will be available next week during my usual office hours for help or feedback before our Thursday class. JPGs of illustrations can be emailed for feedback as well (save your AI as a JPG via FILE > EXPORT).

Session 5 [ Mar 1 ]

Topics: Pattern swatches & freehand drawing practice

Links: Drawing a Gift Bag / Drawing simple shapes / Sydney Opera House


Session 4 [ Feb 23 ]

Topics: Pattern design, textiles, & spots, freehand drawing methods

Links: Spots & textiles lecture slides / Bezier curves handout / Bezier curves video


Session 3 [ Feb 16 ] - Quiz 1

Topics: Color, Gradients, Transparency

Links: Color lecture slides / Drawing an Apple tutorial / Speaker using shapes tutorial


  • Review chapters 10 & 11 in textbook
  • Finish the Shape Challenge Project (due before you leave!)

Session 2 [ Feb 9 ]

Topics: Building forms ~ Compound shapes

Links: Pathfinder explained / Using pathfinder and align tutorial / Shape Builder tool video /


  • Review chapters 6, 8, & 9 in textbook
  • Start the Shape Challenge Project (due session 3 at the end of class)
  • Attend the Catonsville Open Studio, Friday, to view examples of our second project

Session 1 [ Feb 2 ]

Topics: Illustration ~ Illustrator ~ Course Policies

Links: Introduction to Illustration lecture slides / Drawing an orange slice tutorial


  • Review chapters 1, 3, & 4 in textbook

projects- click to expand -

Project 5: MOji (Character design)


Create a contemporary character design - a moji. The character needs to have a name, habits, likes, dislikes, a superpower, and a description of their personality. The character will be presented on a card along with the personality traits (items listed prior). The design of the card should reflect the character.

Start by looking at character design site (e.g. along with other character resources. Don't limit your imagination. Develop a character that is interesting and unique.


  • Use the provided vertical or horizontal card template
  • Use of only PMS colors; maximum of 7
  • AI file named ""

Due: Session 15, May 17th

Project 4: Food Product Label Design


Create an original product name and label for either a chocolate bar or hot sauce.

Start by looking at exisiting products and ask yourself why they appeal to you (or not), what do they convey, and are they successful. Come up with an idea for a product name based on your findings. Visualize your product and product name in sketches. Complete at least two sketches for each name idea. Consider the type of packaging and label size. Sketches will be reviewed and critiqued in groups for originality and effective communication. After the critique, finalize your label design in Illustrator.


  • An original product name for a chocolate bar or a hot sauce
  • 2-4 Sketches of a label design using your product name
  • Final digital label design at a size fitting to the product packaging
  • AI file named ""

Sketches Due: Session 11, April 19th

Final Label Due: Session 12, April 26th

Project 3: Depth & Perspective


Create a structural illustration using the rules of perspective. The final render should create depth as well as an interesting space. You may work from an image or create a space from your imagination.


  • One, two, or three point perspective; or isometric perspective must be used
  • Your final file must include a perspective grid
  • AI file named ""

Due: Session 10, April 12th (due at the beginning of class)

Project 2: variations


You will be given a moodboard produced by an interior designer for a Boutique Hotel Suite north of Phoenix, Arizona. From this moodboard, deduce the look and feel the designer is trying to create. Create 3 pattern/spot graphic variations based on the interior designer's moodboard.


  • All 3 illustrations must be 6 inches square
  • Illustrations must be tileable if they are a pattern
  • Illustrations must be repeatable if they are a spot graphic
  • Files must be cleaned up and only contain the colors used in the art
  • AI files named "", "", ""

Due: Session 7, March 15th (due at the beginning of class)

Project 1: Shape Challenge


Create 9 unique abstract designs using only basic shapes in combination.

Shapes may be duplicated, scaled, rotated, overlapped; but, not distorted. Any combination of shapes in each design; not all shapes need to be used in each design. Only b/w (greyscale) - no color!

Consider size, placement, positive and negative space, repetition, movement, and creation of depth.


  • Use the provided starting AI file
  • AI file named ""

Due: Session 3, Feb 16th (due at the end of the class session)