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Enhanced Illustration - Pencil, Pen, Paint and Pixels

Enhanced Illustration - Pencil, Pen, Paint and Pixels (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Bill Wright


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. 

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!

For more on this course go to:

Course Outcomes

Those who take this course report a new realm of image-making has been opened to them.  Some student feedback is below.

  • ‘The course filled the gap between computer and hand drawn/fine art courses.’
  • ‘The course was one of the best investment I’ve made in relation to my illustration world!’
  • ‘Most important, the teacher is responsible and passionate!’

For more from students: 

To see student work:

Entry requirements
Elementary computer skills are needed, and an ability to absorb more of them without huge difficulty.  If you find learning new computer skills extremely difficult, that would probably be the case here as well. No Photoshop knowledge is required.  

Who should take this course
Typically we have a great mix of students from two directions - those with knowledge of drawing, painting or illustration eager to find ways to take advantage of digital methods, and others who know something about computer graphics and want to add a handmade aspect to their work. Both are welcome!

If you have no experience with art and no experience with computers, you might take a more basic illustration workshop first. On the other hand, both the 'What's Photoshop?' artist and the 'I can't draw' computer person have thrived in this course.

For more information on Online Short Courses please see the below information.

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
  • 3 months online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Further details about preparing for your online course, and the equipment you need, can be found here.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

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

Tutor Description

Hi, Bill Wright here. My professional background is varied, from architectural illustration to storyboards for films and TV. As for my teaching, I’m a strong believer in showing practical steps to use in creating images, and I’m thrilled when I see students apply these methods with stunning results. Yes, creativity and soul are important in artwork, but ‘how to’s,’ tricks of the trade, pragmatic methods, the use of tools and technology, these - along with encouragement and attention to each individual’s progress - make a huge difference between where a student stands at the beginning of a short course and then emerges at its end.

I’ve taught in the Central Saint Martins BA Illustration program for 10 years and on many CSM short courses. I’ve done literally thousands of drawings and illustrations for both enjoyment and pay, and love passing along to others ways and means to improve their image making. I’m passionate about drawing and illustration, and I hope some of that rubs off too.


Materials if taking the online version of this course

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.
Materials if taking the face-to-face version of this at Central Saint Martins

We'll have lots of art materials to use in the studio such as watercolours, acrylics, coloured inks, pastels, soft pastels, markers, charcoal, coloured pencils, printing ink, collage materials and various types of papers. Please bring any materials of your own you enjoy working with or would like to explore. However, you may want to try some studio materials before buying your own, or you can just use those provided.

You should, however, try to bring the following:

  • A4 sketchbook or notebook.
  • Graphite pencils (medium and soft).
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Rubber (a/k/a eraser).
  • A pen or two. This could be something you're comfortable drawing with or you might get a pen such as the one shown in the link:
  • Smartphone
  • A USB port memory stick

There will be computers available for manipulating and combining your hand-made work, but if you have a laptop you like using, please bring it along. If coming to London from afar, a laptop will be most useful for working on projects outside class hours, which most students choose to do on home computers or personal laptops. If you don't have Photoshop on your computer, discuss that with Bill on day 1 of class.

And don't forget the memory stick!

IMPORTANT - Adobe ID Login for Short Course Students

Students will need to create an account with Adobe (unless you already have one) in order to access the Adobe suite at the college – instructions are included below. You will need to use a personal email address to create this. If you already have an account with Adobe, please make sure you bring your login details with you on the first day of the course.

Please note:

  • Creating an Adobe account is free.
  • The software will only be accessible when logged into a UAL networked computer
  • The same account can be used outside of the University, but software will only be accessible through a personal paid subscription that students will need to set up independently
  • You can still create an account on the day but doing this beforehand will save time and avoid delays to the start of the class.
  • If you already have an Adobe ID/ subscription you can use this on your short course rather than setting up a new account.

To create an account students will need to:

  1. Go to Adobe Sign in page.
  2. Select ‘Create an account’
  3. Enter your details and select ‘Create account’

Available dates