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Enhanced Illustration Pencil Pen Paint and Pixels Online Short Course

Course description

Combining handmade artwork and Photoshop is the focus of this illustration course. It's a good 'fit' for either face-to-face or online learning, because most of the teaching materials are on video, which can be re-accessed if needed, and - either online or face-to-face - students can share onscreen work and methods individually with the tutor.

Working by hand is always a great starting point in illustration or art making - drawing, painting, etc. - but today illustrators and artists often take a step further, using digital tools to mix, layer and manipulate their handmade art work, without losing its freshness and 'human touch'.

This course will help you develop your visual ideas and own personal visual language through a series of projects giving a flavour of the BA Illustration at Central Saint Martins. You'll be thinking creatively and exploring traditional illustration methods, but you'll also see how hand-made work is manipulated via computer and do this with your own projects.

All our Online Short Courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Access to VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 2 weeks online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time.

Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Available dates

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Our projects will emphasise:

  • Ideas and visualisation
  • Hand-crafting with pencil, ink, paint and other media
  • Then digital development of your handmade work into expressive, vibrant illustrations

Digital development refers to using Photoshop to:

  • Resize and reposition hand-drawn elements
  • Add hand-created colours or textures to an illustration
  • Edit line-work and change handmade colours
  • Create transparent and overlapping colours/textures
  • Manipulate handmade lettering

...and much more, all the while maintaining a personal, hand-crafted look to your resulting illustration. Beginning with simple steps, you'll see that working with your handmade work in Photoshop allows elements to be independently modified or replaced. Here’s an example:

You'll move back and forth from the art studio to the computer lab, learning techniques and experimenting in both. Professional practice will also be discussed and the work of successful illustrators examined. Resulting illustrations should add an exciting, knowledgeable dimension to your portfolio!


Please source the following materials:

  • A notebook
  • A pen
  • It would be useful for the second session for you to bring along small samples, photographs or print outs of art/design works or your creative products/ services

Online Students – Digital Equipment

If taking the course online you’ll need Access to Photoshop. Any version is fine for what we’ll be doing. If you’re enrolling in Enhanced Illustration scheduled for 5 successive weekdays, then a 7-day free trial of Photoshop, available on the Adobe website will be fine. But don’t start it till the day class begins!
If you’re enrolling in Enhanced Illustration scheduled for 5 successive Saturdays, a 7-day free trial of Photoshop will take you the first class and 6 additional days of practice or working on assignments with Photoshop. If you’re on a tight budget, you could then switch to Photoshop Elements, a simpler – and less costly - version of Photoshop that has everything you’ll need for this course and for using what you learn in it in the future. Otherwise you’ll need to subscribe to Photoshop after the 7-day trial ends.

Online students will need access to a computer, the internet and either a scanner or a scanning app that works well with their phone. If buying a scanner, I recommend the Canon Lide series. They are professional level, inexpensive – about £60 – lightweight and compact. For scanning app info, I suggest looking through information on the internet, as this is a tool that continues to be re-invented and improved.

Online Students - Art Materials

It would be possible to do this course with a minimum of art materials - even less than on the list below. But if you have what's on the list, you'll have room to experiment and have a bit more fun. If any problems with access to what's below, or questions, please feel free to email me c/o the school.

  • Drawing pencils (and eraser) - A few pencils you're comfortable with. Suggested example of different weights of pencil: H (hard), B (black) maybe a 2B and 6B, but this many aren't mandatory. Make sure you have at least one dark, soft pencil, like a 4B or 6B. An eraser.
  • Pens - a fine liner type pen. Option: several different thicknesses. Or a small set.
  • Optional pens - but worth experimenting with: A dip pen, a fountain pen, brush pen and or calligraphy pen.- Edding 1255 is good. 3.5 and 5 mm would both be good to try. These optional pens produce more handmade looking linework because the lines they make vary in weight and thickness.
  • Small watercolour set. You won't need lots of colours, because we can change colours in Photoshop.
  • Brushes - several different sizes of artist's brushes. A little set would work fine for our needs. You might also get a wider brush from a hardware store 4 or 5 cm for larger applications of colour.
  • Soft Pastels - Several pastel sticks or a small set. Again, you won't need lots of colours, because we can change colours in Photoshop.
  • Coloured pencils - just 1 or 2 or 3. You guessed it, you won't need lots of colours, because we can change colours in Photoshop. I recommend softer brands/types like Prismacolor Faber Castell. But they're not cheap, so just get 2 or 3.
  • Coloured artist's inks - If you're on a budget, just one small jar, like Winsor & Newton will be fine. Don't get printer's ink or other thick inks. You won't need lots of colours, because we can change colours in Photoshop
  • Black ink - India ink or black Winsor & Newton. Not mandatory, but needed if you're going to use a dip pen.
  • Quink. Not mandatory, but worth experimenting with. Get it in a stationary store or on line. It's for fountain pens, but you’ll see it has some special uses.
  • Markers - Again just a couple of them will be fine. Promarker is good. No need to get a set. Even just one will do okay. Or a couple.
  • You won't need lots of colours, because we can change colours in Photoshop.
  • Paper - Regular copy paper is fine for drawing on, using pastels on or markers.
  • IMPORTANT: Some sheets of tracing paper or an A4 pad of tracing paper will be needed. I'm saying important here because most artists don't use tracing paper, but it's very handy for parts of what we'll be doing.
  • For using wet materials, an A4 pad of what's called Cartridge Paper here in the UK. Elsewhere in might simply be Fine Grain Heavyweight artist's paper. Please don't buy cold-pressed watercolour paper. Its grain is too rough. Hot pressed is quite expensive, and okay for our uses, but it's not necessary. Cartridge paper or Fine Grain Heavyweight artist's paper will do for watercolour and ink applied with brush.
  • Sketch Pad - not needed, but... If you want to use a Sketch Pad make sure it has WHITE paper. Cream coloured papers are difficult to scan drawings from. Don't use cream-coloured or yellowish-tan sketching pads for this course. Also consider the binding or spiral binding of a sketch pad - this can cause scanned shadows that are hard to deal with.
  • A Roller. Not mandatory, but worth experimenting with: A small one is fine.
  • Rubber printing stamps. Not mandatory, but worth experimenting with: A kid's alphabet set is fine.
  • Note: again, you don’t need all of these art materials for this course, pick some, and if you’re close to an art supply store or can get fast delivery on internet orders, augment what you have during the course.
Meet the Tutor:

Develop visual ideas and a personal visual language through a series of projects. You'll be thinking creatively and exploring traditional illustration as well as seeing how handmade work is manipulated digitally.

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