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Enhanced Illustration - Pencil, Pen, Paint and Pixels

Enhanced Illustration - Pencil, Pen, Paint and Pixels

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Bill Wright


How do you make strong ideas a visual reality? By hand is always a great starting point - drawing, painting, etc. - but today illustrators often take hand-created work 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.

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

Tutor Description

Hello, Bill Wright here.  I’m passionate about drawing and illustration and love teaching about them and interacting with students in their creative efforts. I start each course by asking, ’What do you hope to get out of this class?’ and I think hearing that from each student is a good beginning.
As for my background, my training in New York City was as an architect and architectural illustrator, but I’ve also worked internationality on films and TV as a set designer and storyboard artist and enjoy collaborating with professionals and students from around the world.  I’ve taught drawing, illustration and design in the US and UK, including ten years at Central Saint Martins, both in BA program and in short courses. 

If you’re after individual input about your work just ask. I love digging into drawings and illustrations and seeing what makes them tick. I’ve created thousands of drawings and illustrations, but I still experience the excitement and awe I felt as a student, so I know how that feels. Similarly, I can’t help the sense of vibrant anticipation I get for how students will grow and achieve. I’m a firm believer in passing on simple techniques, tricks of the trade, approaches and methods that I’ve been fortunate enough to absorb and can share.  And sharing these methods as I do can make image-making more lively, spontaneous, engaging, easier and more fun! 


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:
  • Camera or phone-camera.
  • 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!

Available dates