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COMD 3313| FA 2020

Introduction to lllustration

Class meets: Tuesdays 2:30 pm to 5:50 pm


Section D174 | 3 credits, 4 hours

Openlab Home: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/schoenbrun-3313fa2021 

Office Hours: Tuesday 10-11 am

Course Overview

This course is a practical introduction to the field of illustration.  Focus will be places on process work and professional practices, presented within contemporary and historical context. Course includes projects and lectures in a variety of illustration genres including: product design and advertising, storyboard, book illustration, editorial illustration, and institutional illustration. 
A variety of materials will be introduced through lectures and demonstrations for use on assignments such as: pencil, pen and ink, brush, colored pencil, brush and paint, and collage.  Critical concepts such as: Conceptual Development, Working on Assignment, Composition, Contrast, Value, Point of View, and Color theory will be introduced. 3 Credits, 4 Hours (1 lecture, 3 lab)  ENG 092R (ESOL 032R) and/or ENG 092W (ESOL 031W) as required. 

Attendance (College) and Lateness (Department) Policies

A class roster roll will be taken at the beginning of each class. Only two absences are allowed. After two absences, a student may be withdrawn because of unsatisfactory attendance (code WU). Students arriving after the roll is taken will be marked “late.” Students will be notified at the earliest opportunity in class after they have been absent or late. After four latenesses, a student will be asked to withdraw from the class (code W) or may be withdrawn from the class (code WU).

Academic Integrity Standards 

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

Academic Integrity and Expectations
You are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by the NYC College of Technology Student Handbook, “Student Rights & Responsibilities,” section “Academic Integrity Standards.” Academic dishonesty of any type, including cheating and plagiarism is unacceptable. “Cheating” is misrepresenting another student’s efforts/work as your own. “Plagiarism” is the representation of another person’s work, words or concepts as your own.

In-Class Structure/ Timeline

• Hang homework up for peer and instructor review • Meet with students as a group or individually to review work and offer feedback • In Class Lecture and / or Demo • Give new assignment & homework • Work in class

Grading System

• Sketchbook  20%
• Individual Assignments 40%

• Final Project 20%

• Participation 20%

• Projects given as Homework Assignments are due to be recived digitally before the beginning of class, otherwise they are considered late.

• ANY MISSED ASSIGNMENTS WILL EARN A ZERO. Assignments received after the deadline will
drop a full letter grade, and will only be accepted within 1 week of the due date.  After that time period, any late assignment will earn a zero.
• A final portfolio of ALL PROJECTS will be handed in with the final project at the end of the semester.
Students have the option to revisit earlier projects and revise them based on critique.
• Make-ups: If a student finds they will not be able to present or hand in a project on the scheduled day, it is their responsibility to notify the instructor PRIOR to the due date and request alternate arrangements. Points will be deducted for late assignments and missed critiques.

You are expected to work on sketchbooks and assignments for at least four hours a week outside of class. You will find that assignments will take a lot more than that to be successful.  Students are encouraged to utilize tools posted in the Class Resources section for extra help.


Each student will present his/her work weekly for critique using appropriate design vocabulary. The critique is a neutral dialogue. Students will present their work and discuss the strengths and weaknesses, expressing what works and what doesn’t work in relation to the assignment guidelines. Peer responses will be given. No personal likes or dislikes are discussed without elaborating the “why” of it. Design-specific terminology should be used at all times.


Communication is at the heart of everything you do as a creative professional. Whether you go on to become a designer, illustrator, art director, game designer, or any one of the numerous careers that the COMD department is preparing you for, your number one goal is to communicate, and to do it visually. To be able to communicate visually you also need to be able to communicate verbally. One of the most important and overlooked skills in our industry is to be able to express yourself clearly so that other people understand what your are saying.  With that in mind you should always try to express yourself as clearly as possible in this (and all) of your classes. Within this class you are expected to communicate with your classmates and with your professor. If you are going to miss an online class it is your responsibility to let the professor know. If you are sick and miss a class when an assignment is due you will get a zero unless you contact your professor. If you have a question or are confused about something COMMUNICATE! Ask a question, send an email. Ignorance is not an excuse.


Appearances matter.  Work should be presented online neatly and with care.

1 Project 1 – Product Illustration

2  Project 2 – Editorial illustration

3. FINAL PROJECT – Book Illustration



Essentials For Class  

• Sketchbook – Moleskin, Handbook, or other brand  8” x 5” or larger, preferably 8”x10”

• Drawing pencils-HB, 2B, 3B, etc

• Ruler and/or triangle

• Erasers

• Graphite transfer paper or lightbox/lightable

• Brush pens (SAKURA Pigma and PENTEL recommended) 

• Brushes for ink (Sizes #0 #1, #2 and #3 ) Princeton Select Artiste. 

• Waterproof black ink (I recommend Dr. Martens ink)

• empty jars or dixie cups for ink

• Felt pens, a few sizes (Pigma Micon or Staedtler Pigment Liner black fineliner pens) 

• Bristol Board  (Strathmore or Canson, 11”x17”)

• Heavyweight  large drawing paper (Strathmore or Canson, 11”x17”)

• cloud storage/drop box 

• scanner or digital camera

• Adobe Photoshop

• Drawing Tablet is helpful but not required

• Additional color materials, not required but useful (watercolor, color pencils,
acrylic, etc.)


Aug 31 | Week 1

Introduction: Review academic policies and go over syllabus.  

Discuss our relationship to illustration. 

Introduction to Sketchbook Practice.  

Introduce Assignment 1 – Product Illustration: part 1 – brainstorm, research & thumbnails 

Sept 7| NO CLASS /Rosh Hashanah

Sept 14| Week 2 

Lecture: Illustration Process

Due: Assignment 1 , part 1  

Introduce Assignment 1 , part 2 –  Thumbnails Sketches  

Sept 21 | Week 3 

Lecture: Concept Development

New: Assignment 1 , part 3  – Concept Sketches 

Due: Assignment 1 Part 2 

Sept 28 |  Week 4 

Lecture: Design Concepts in Illustration and Lettering

New: Assignment 1 Part 4 – Tight Pencil Sketch 

Due: Assignment 1 Part 3 

Oct 5|  Week 5 


New: Midterm Project : INKED Illustration

Due next week: Final pencil illustration& Two Value Studies 

Due: Assignment 1 Part 4


NEW: Assignment 1 Part 5. FINAL INKED ART. 



No lecture

Due: Midterm PRESENTATION & FINAL INKED ART ( Formal Presentation IN CLASS) 

New: Assignment 2 , Editorial Illustration  Magazine COVER, 

Part 1 – brainstorm & research 

Oct 26 | Week 8 

Lecture: INTRODUCTION TO Editorial Illustration – Concept is key! 

New: Assignment 2 , part 2 Thumbnails & Concept Sketches

Due: Assignment 2 , part 1

Nov 2 | Week 9 


Due: Assignment 2  Thumbnails & Concept Sketches 

New: Assignment 2 PENCIL FINISH DRAWINGS (*Ink & pencil with digital),

3 value studies, 3 color studies

Nov 9 | Week 10 

Lecture Intro: Digtal  Coloring

Due: Assignment 2 PENCIL FINISH DRAWINGS, 3 value studies, 3 color studies

New: Editorial Illustration FINAL ART.  *LIMITED COLOR PALATE* Magazine COVER

Nov 16 | Week 11  



Due: Editorial Illustration FINAL ART.

New: FINAL PROJECT: Narrative illustration 

Part 1 : STORY SELECTION & Thumbnails for Cover /  Interior Illustrations

Nov 26 | Week 12 

Lecture: Point of VIEW 

New: Concept sketches for FINAL PROJECT

Due: Project 4, part 2: Character Designs & Concept Art

Nov 30 | Week 13



Due: Color Pallete for FINAL PROJECT

Dec 7 | Week 14


Due: FINAL Project – FINISHED DRAWINGS (Ink & pencil with digital)

Work in Class on Final Project / Final Portfolio

Dec 14 |  Week 15

Final Portfolio Due.

Final Presentations.

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