Wednesday, Feb. 20 + Feb. 27: Lab day for Infographics

Today will be a lab day for Infographics – we will talk more about how to visualize your data as well as I will demonstrate the graphs function in Illustrator.

Key tips:

  • Object: Graph: Type
  • Object: Graph: Data
  • Direct Select to change colors

Options for Graphs:

  • Column
  • Stacked
  • Bar
  • Line
  • Area
  • Scatter
  • Pie
  • Radar


These are the steps I would recommend for this project: 

  1. Research / Data Gathering
  2. Compositional Layout – How are you going to present all this info?
  3. Typography + Color
  4. Design Icons/Elements

I will also do a technical demo on how to use the “Edit Colors/Recolor Artwork” feature in Illustrator so you can be sure you are certain about your color decisions.

Color support:

Recolor Artwork

Extra AMAZING link for professional Data Visualization examples


Feb. 6: Infographics: Chart it.. graph it.. and map it

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Infographics Design Project: Charts, graphs and maps: 

Continuing our studies of visual communication, our next assignment is to produce an infographic on a subject matter of your choice. You can approach this from anything to a scientific manner to a humorous/witty manner. Charts, graphs and maps are all part of graphic design – we see them as accompaniment to magazine articles, newspaper spreads and web graphics. Publications from anything such as the NYTimes, to National Geographic, to Maxim use infographics, not to mention countless information based and news websites. Try using a mind map for brainstorming to develop your design approach for this assignment.

Anything from bar graphs, to pie charts, to Venn diagrams, to “pinned maps” to an original idea is acceptable.

You may use hand drawn elements, vector graphics, simple lines and shapes or a combination of several.

See these links for visual research: I love charts and Food Infographics. Also see Pinterest “Infographics” or “Graphs” Also take a look at Cool Infographics for inspiration or this one or this link for tutorials and examples.

This site Pop Chart Lab has a bunch of beautiful vector based charts and infographics

Check out this new link on infographics for social media

Also check out this artist, Chad Hagen for his “Nonsensical Infographics” which I personally love.

David Byrne (of the Talking Heads) also makes art: His book Arborteum has some really interesting diagram drawings.

First things first: Scour the internet or newspaper or a magazine for an article you think would be appropriate for illustration through an infographic. The best articles include statistics, literal communication devices and images as well as a sense of “measuring”.

Ideas to consider: 1. Monetary worth 2. Usage Statistics 3. Compare/Contrast (Something vs. something else) 4. A “How to” 5. Dissecting an object/idea/concept 6. Top 10 ____ 7. Percentage of _____ 8. Demographics. (Check out Palm Beach State College’s demographics as an example)

Element your design must have: 1. Chart or Graph or Map – or combination of the three. Design must combine images and numbers to balance a sense of measuring.

Second step: Technical: Be sure to watch the following Adobe videos on 


Illustrator Charts/Graphs tutorial

Illustrator chart graph video

Final design: 11″ x 17″ (or longer)  vector graphic design.

Due date: TBA

Also – you must turn in a hard copy/web link of the article (if applicable)  you are illustrating.


Wednesday, Jan. 23 + Wednesday Jan. 30


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Work day for Animal Totems.

We are working on introducing ourselves to the following tools in this project:

1. The Pen Tool

2. The Shapebuilder tool (adding and subtracting)

3. Tracing an image

4. The Blob Tool and Eraser Tool

This is a great tutorial for more advanced Blob Tool options

5. Shaper tool 

6. Filling with color + using swatches

7. Edit color and Recolor Artwork


Reminder: CRITIQUE NEXT WEEK! (Feb. 6)

Wednesday, Jan. 16

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Design Project One: Animal Totems

“From Sketch to Vector” – Surreal Storytelling.

Excellent job last class at our practice exercises!

In our introductory design project, you will sketch and design an Animal Totem to represent you and introduce your style/personality to the class. Your totem can be serious, funny or abstract, but should evoke some emotion. Once you have completed 2-4 sketches in your sketchbook, we will scan them and convert them to vector graphics, trace and add color to them.

Artists have used anthropomorphism since the cave paintings .. and we will continue on this path, finding a new and modern design to a classic trend. I’m crazy about this modern take on Victorian portraits and am looking forward to seeing the new movie, Life of Pi (the book was great!) Have you seen the movie, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”? and of course, Beatrix Potter books are a childhood classic. Some of the above images are taken from this artist, who produces beautiful and creative animal totems. Another new one here

This project will introduce you to Illustrator and get you more comfortable with the tool bar.

I will show several previous student projects as a way to get ideas for your own. Also seen here.

I really liked this online tutorial for its simplicity.

Design goals: Produce a unique design that shows technical skills in the pen tool, addition of an aesthetically pleasing color scheme and a basic general knowledge of Illustrator.

1. Watch previously assigned intro videos + Check out Chapter 5: Drawing Basics in the PDF textbook

2. Sketch out your animal totem. Produce 2-4 rough sketches. Scan into computer.

3. Trace, add color, tweak lines, alter if necessary.

4. Build through use of the pen tool, shape builder, fills, etc.

5. Critique Wed. Feb. 6


Wednesday, Jan. 9

Welcome to our first day of class!

We will go over the following logistical things: syllabus, student work examples/projects,

Semester Projects: 

  1. Animal Totem
  2. Infographic
  3. Pattern Design
  4. Music Illustration Poster

In addition:

I will give an overview lecture on Illustrator program basics such as :

What is Illustrator? What are vector graphics?

The PEN tool – the pen tool is one of the most important tools to master in Illustrator. Throughout the semester you will get better at the pen tool, but only with lots of practice!

Setting up new document

Selection vs. Direct Selection

Pen tool basics: add, subtract, convert, handlebars, curves, pencil

Creating/editing shapes + fill with color/stroke, Pen tool, Shape builder and Image Trace demo

Good link on drawing basics

Fun interlude: Play this game for a few minutes to practice the pen tool 😉 

More pen tool resources: 

         Pen tool tips

Other general Adobe Illustrator tutorials

In class assignment: With internet images or your own, work on practicing the use of the pen tool. Add and subtract anchor points and merge shapes together. Due at the end of class.

  1. Two complex images traced with the pen tool
  2. Two shapes built with the pen tool – without image reference
  3. Two images traced with the shape builder tool
  4. Two “image traces” (altered differently)

Homework: Finish watching video tutorials as well as bring in a sketchbook and pencil for Animal Totem brainstorming.


Final Portfolio Requirement

Hey there. It’s the end of the semester, we made it!

Requirements for Final Portfolio Day: Monday, Dec. 10

BEGINNING OF CLASS CRITIQUE  on your Socio-Polico Poster AND hand in of your final portfolio files.

No exceptions. No time to save files. Walk in, on time… be ready or points will be deducted from your final portfolio grade for lack of professionalism. (10 points will be deducted for failure to meet this beginning of class deadline)

Final Portfolio Requirements: (This counts as your Final Exam)

Upload a folder of your project to the server (Labeled with your Name)

Design Projects :

Please label them as follows with your initials: i.e. “KMHcharacter.pdf

  1. (Initials)FamilyofCharacters.pdf
  2. (Initials)Packaging.pdf
  3. (Initials)Perspective.pdf
  4. (Initials)SocioPolico.pdf
  5. (Initials)DesignerStatement.docx

Design Statement:

1-2 page designer statement answering the following questions in paragraph format: 

What did you learn this semester? (Technical + conceptual)

How did you incorporate the Principles of Design in your project?

How is your view of Illustrator different after taking this class?

Which projects did you enjoy the most/the least?

Is there anything specific that you would have liked to have gone over?

How can you improve your design skills for the future?

How can I improve Do you use it?

Anything else you would like to tell me?

Also – if you have edited your projects at all, please tell me what you did to fix/change your design in your designer statement.