Illustration Concepts



I'll be your instructor for this course. These links will help you get to know me better. See you in class!



Illustration is an underused medium in design today. If you want to stand out in the crowd of designers who endlessly shuffle through stock photos—use your illustration skills! Draw your own type, draw the headline for your brochure, or, illustrate how to cook macaroni on the back of your packaging. This is a fun class that gets you away from the computer and creating wonderful things with your hands. Kind of a "back-to-the-origins" of art and design.

You'll illustrate three main projects in this class:

  1. Transportation vehicle
  2. Greeting card
  3. Editorial illustration

As some of you may already know, my teaching style and class atmosphere will allow us to slowly and intentionally learn how designers should integrate illustration into their design work. I like things to be calm and comfortable—it makes for a great learning environment. I also like to make sure you have plenty of class time to work, and that you receive plenty of feedback from me and your classmates.

These illustrations can add a uniqueness to your graduate portfolio. Take your time with them and I'm confident each of you will create wonderful work!


Credits: 3
Instructor: Craig Kunce
Office: C244
(608) 785-9164

- Teaching Schedule and Office Hours
- Advising Forms: (2008–2012) (2013–20xx)

- Western's Calendar
- Western's Student Handbook


All grades are on Blackboard


There is no required textbook for this class

Resource Websites

  •, this web site, will be used in this class

Course description and objectives

Students will gain experience with communicating messages, ideas and content through the use of illustration. Projects will be based on various real-life industry assignments and commissions and will be created using popular mediums such as colored pencil, ink washes, pen and ink, and a combination of these mediums.

Course Goal

To teach students how to successfully design and illustrate industry-quality marketing materials for a variety of products, services, and target-markets.


  1. Skills
    Colored Pencil & ink (35pts)
  2. Illustration 1
    • Pencil Lines (25 pts)
    • Critique (25 pts)
    • Final Illustration (100 pts)
  3. Illustration 2
    • Pencil Lines (25 pts)
    • Critique (25 pts)
    • Final Illustration (100 pts)
  4. Illustration 3
    • Pencil Lines (25 pts)
    • Critique (25 pts)
    • Final Illustration (100 pts)
  5. Illustration 4
    • Pencil Lines (25 pts)
    • Critique (25 pts)
    • Final Illustration (100 pts)

Western's Grading Scale

93%–100% = A
89%–92% = AB
83%–88% = B
78%–82% = BC
70%–77% = C
60%–69% = D
0%–59% = F


You must come to class. You will be graded on your ability to complete quality assignments on time. Meet the project and group work deadlines, and put a lot of effort and quality into your projects, and you will do well.

Back Up Your Work - And Keep It

Keep all of your work and/or computer files. You will need them for your graphic design portfolio. You will need an external hard drive to back up your work. Be sure to always have at least three copies of your computer files at all times! Investing a little time now to back up your work will pay off when you loose a file or if you disk goes bad, like they tend to do, when you least expect it.

Western Student E-mail

Use your Western e-mail at least once each semeter or it will automatially deactivate. You can reactivate it through MyWestern, but it is easier to just use it each semester.

Special Needs

Please let me know within the first week if you have any special needs. We will do our best to accommodate you. If you are in need of support services or accommodations for a disability, please see me and/or the Disability Services staff, located in ARC 154, phone (608) 785-9875.

Academic Success Center and Online Writing Center

The Academic Success Center (ASC) and the Online Writing Center provide assistance with all stages of the writing process. The ASC is located in Coleman 227, and the OWC can be found at center. Visit these centers to see what they have to offer.

Course Materials

Bring your art kit to class. You will need these materials to work in class—especially note taking materials, pencils, erasers, etc.

C or Better Grade Policy

You must earn a C or better grade in all classes in the graphic design degree in order to graduate. Classes with a D or F must be repeated and a C or better earned.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Your work must be original and not taken or borrowed from another source. You may be "influenced" by another designer/artist's work, but yours should look considerably different. If a student is caught cheating or plagiarizing the teacher reserves the right to drop them from the class, and pursue a program drop.

Late Projects/Assignments Policy

• Late 1–7 days = lose 20% (2 letter grades)
• After 7 days = zero points
• Missed in-class group work, projects and presentations cannot be made up = zero points

Drop Policy

I do not drop students from my class.
You will receive the grade you earned in the class at the end of the semester. If you need to drop the course, for whatever reason, you must do it yourself within the appropriate timeframe.

Mutual Respect

I expect all of you to conduct yourself in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner. Please be respectful of your fellow classmates--it makes for a positive learning environment. My goal is to create and maintain and safe creative environment where all student, not matter their skill level, feel comfortable showing their work and receiving feedback and constructive criticism.

Speak To Me About Issues

Please talk to me if you have a situation or issue that may affect your progress in class. I am reasonable, we can usually work these issues out before they affect your grade and success in the class.

Western's Course Guidlines

Western's Academic Dishonesty Statement
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: plagiarizing; cheating on tests or examinations; turning in counterfeit reports, tests, and papers; stealing tests or other academic material; knowingly falsifying academic records or documents of the institution; accessing a student’s confidential academic records without authorization; disclosing confidential academic information without authorization; and turning in the same work to more than one class without informing the instructors involved. Student Expectations: Each student is expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found in violation of academic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary action as per the guidelines of the Western Student Code of Conduct.

Western's Student Withdrawal Policy
Students are encouraged to contact their program adviser when withdrawing from a program. The student must drop a program or courses in which the student has chosen not to continue. In addition, students may wish to:

1. Communicate with their instructor(s) and respective division offices (if withdrawing from a program or from college).
2. Contact a college counselor to consider alternative options.

If a student does process an official drop from classes:
1. The permanent record will reflect a withdrawal grade (W)*.
2. The student may or may not be eligible for future financial aid.
3. The student may receive a refund of fees paid (if within the stipulated allowable time-frame).

Any reduction in fees paid will be refunded to the appropriate funding institution, as mandated by federal guidelines, or to the student. If fees have not been paid in full, a credit will be posted to the student’s account.

If a student does not process an official withdrawal:
1. The permanent record will reflect a failing grade (F).
2. The student may or may not be eligible for future financial aid.

Please click here to get more details. Or copy and paste this url into the address of your internet browser .

Western's Attendance Non-Emergent Excused Absence Policy
Students are expected to attend all classes. Faculty will not drop a student for non-attendance, but may assign a failing grade. However, the College reserves the right to drop a student for attendance related issues at any time during the semester, if it is felt to be in the best interest of the student or the College.

Western considers certain class absences to be officially excused without jeopardizing student academic standing. Students shall be excused from classes for: mandatory religious observations, military service, jury duty, and participation in College sponsored events. Students shall not be penalized for excused absences and shall be allowed to make up missed quizzes or tests. Please click here to get more details, or copy and paste this url into your internet browser

Western's ADA Statement
It is the policy of Western Technical College to provide reasonable accommodations (when requested) for qualified individuals with disabilities. When a student wishes to request an accommodation, it is necessary for that individual to use the Student Accommodation Request Form, which may be obtained from the Counseling Staff or Instructional Support Specialist located in the Welcome Center, 400 7th Street North, La Crosse, WI 54601. Click here to access Western's Student Handbook for specific information. Or copy and paste this url into the address of your internet browser .

Western's Tobacco-Free Policy
Western's Tobacco-Free Policy prohibits use of all tobacco products on College premises or in College vehicles. Only exclusion is private vehicles. Click here for more information. Or copy and paste this url into the address of your internet browser .

Finding Art Reference - Guidelines

Once you decide on your layout and which elements you want in it, find reference for each element you are going to draw.

  1. Reference can be a photograph, printed photographs in a book or magazine, digital photographs that you take, from, or real-life items such as your hand, shoe, trees, a sunset, house, etc.
  2. Reference CANNOT be someone else’s art, drawing, cartoons or painting.
  3. Be sure you have permission to use someone’s likeness or photograph before you use it. You should get in the habit of drawing your own art and only using the photos for reference (to look at). This will open up your drawings to new ideas and options, and will lift the limitations of a photo.
  4. Reference is valuable to the illustrator because it provides us with what an object really looks like. Don’t guess, and don’t draw from memory.
  5. Find reference for everything you will need to illustrate. The more reference you gather, the more professional your art will become and look. Even cartoonists use reference to draw from. There is no way to know what something should look like unless you look at the real thing.
  6. Good reference photos must be:
    • Clear and in tight focus
    • Detailed, not blurry, or fuzzy
    • In full color
    • Large enough to see everything you want to look at
    • Available for you to use
    • NOT someone else’s art, drawing or painting
  7. All reference used for the same illustration must have the same light source and the same lighting technique (hard, soft, natural sunlight, studio light, etc.).
  8. Reference CANNOT be low-resolution images from the internet. I will not accept these, and neither should you, because they do not offer enough detail and clarity to draw from.

Western College-Wide Learning Outcomes

  1. Use effective communication skills
  2. Apply mathematical concepts
  3. Transfer social and natural science theories into practical applications
  4. Demonstrate ability to think critically
  5. Demonstrate ability to value self and work ethically with others in a diverse population
  6. Use technology effectively
  7. Make decisions that incorporate the importance of sustainability

Graphic Design Program Outcomes

  1. Apply the principles of design to develop strategic marketing and communication products and services
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Verbal and Written Critiques
    • Criteria
      • You select appropriate assets for a given project
      • You effectively use typography, illustration, photography, color and layout to meet design objective
      • You demonstrate appropriate writing and editing skills
      • You follow industry standards and respond to current trends
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of design software, tools and technology
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Digital file review
      • Verbal and Written Critiques
    • Criteria
      • You select appropriate tools, software and technology for the project
      • You use appropriate tools, software and technology to meet project requirements
      • You apply tools, software and technology according to current industry standards
      • You demonstrate neat, precise and efficient production techniques that meet established standards and guidelines
  3. Implement creative solutions from concept through completion using a formal process
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Verbal and Written Critiques
    • Criteria
      • You define the design problem
      • You research solutions to the design problem
      • You develop and revise options for solving the design problem
      • You follow a formal design process by producing thumbnails, roughs, and comprehensives
      • You implement solutions to the design problem
      • You evaluate results
      • You articulate the specific strategic, aesthetic, media and production considerations that influenced the final product
  4. Apply effective legal and ethical business practices and project management skills
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Verbal and Written
    • Critiques
      • You utilize legally obtained software, images and fonts
      • You apply project management strategies effectively to meet customer and market demands
      • You describe pricing and estimating guidelines
      • You demonstrate environmental and social responsibility
      • You collaborate with other members of the design and production team
  5. Communicate artwork rationale in formal and informal settings
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Verbal and Written Critiques
      • Industry Interviews
    • Criteria
      • You collaborate and communicate with members of the design team
      • You articulate rationale using design vocabulary
      • You listen to others and re-frame or re-interpret their point of view for clarification
      • You communicate design rationale in terms the client can understand
  6. Collaborate with Clients/Industry
    • Direct Measures
      • Portfolio Presentation
      • Verbal and Written Critiques
    • Criteria
      • You collaborate with a real business/org to complete a design project
      • You articulate rationale using deign vocabulary
      • You communicate design rationale in term the client can understand
      • You demonstrate strong understanding and applicaiton of Learning Outcomes 1–5