Michelle Rodee Graphics and Illustration for Educators

Workshop 1 - Create an Icon

The Universal Arts of Graphic Design


‘Using Adobe Illustrator, create and customise a simple icon using the Google Android logo as inspiration.’

This assignment was fun and really helped me understand formatting. The video was very helpful and demonstrated exactly how to use all of the shapes and how to join or delete certain areas.

Android Inspired Mermaid
Process to Remember
What toolbar do we need?

Workshop 2 - Exploring Typography

Typefaces & FontsThese two terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference between them - a typeface refers to the design of type, whereas a font is a variation on a particular typeface. For example:

Arial is a typeface, whereas Arial Bold and Arial Italic are both fonts. Therefore, a typeface can have many different fonts.

Typeface Variations

As with everything in design, there are many different choices you can make when working with typography - all of which have an impact on the meaning of what you’re trying to convey.

Perhaps the most simple of these variations splits typefaces into two distinct groups - Serif and Sans Serif. A serif is a small decorative flourish built into the design of letters and symbols within a typeface. Typefaces without these flourishes are known as Sans Serif - literally ‘without serif’ in French.

Take a look at this video from The Web Designer for some more information about the differences between serif and sans serif typefaces, and when you might consider using each.

Designing Show-Stopping Posters With Type

Assignment 2

‘Using Adobe Illustrator, create a poster which uses typography to illustrate a famous quote.’

I am very happy that I was able to find a photo of mine that works with a quote. There are so many options for fonts; I just never know how much is too much. I feel like I need to constantly edit.

I had no idea it is so easy to find outside sources of text with Illustrator. It was just as simple to edit the size, thickness, color, etc.

My personal photo with a great quote.

Workshop 3 - Building More Complex Graphics

Color Theory

  • The Pen Tool
  • This is an essential tool for any graphic designer or Illustrator user, as it allows much more flexibility and freedom when creating unique and complex shapes. The pen tool uses a system called bezier (bez-ee-ay) - which is often considered one of the more difficult techniques to grasp in Adobe Illustrator.

The Bezier Game is a great way to practise and perfect your pen and bezier tool skills. It’s definitely worth spending a little time getting used to how it works before taking these skills into your work.

Assignment 3

‘Using Adobe Illustrator, create a simple graphic mascot based on an animal’.

This arrangement of shapes and using the pen tool took much more energy and focus. I really love the tool that creates an irregular line. With this assignment, the idea of a sticker seemed to work best with my shape and object. I feel like it stayed united. Again, I think I can keep working on this to simplify more.

It is not as fierce as I thought, but the photo seems to be more humorous. This should be my next struggle...choose fierce or humorous, then adjust lines to make the sticker feel that emotion. I think the eyes have it, the ears are better than rounded shapes, but the fur around the face is lacking.

Design With Inspiration
Ha! I figured out that there was something behind the sticker making the rectangle....another artboard. I deleted the extra artboard, and here is my final image.

Workshop 4 - Creating an Avatar

  • Graphics vs. Illustration
  • There are undoubtedly a lot of similarities between graphics and illustration, and though they’re often treated as interchangeable there’s a definite distinction to be made between the two. It’s also worth noting that many designers have a different interpretation of how graphics and illustration differ from one another. Here’s one definition we like:
  • “Usually, graphic design is more seen as a commercial art. Illustration is viewed mostly as a fine art. Graphic design is more about communicating with a target audience, while illustration is concerned mostly about a creative interpretation.” - designhill.com


The word avatar comes the Sanskrit word for ‘descent’ - meaning a physical representative of a deity in bodily form on earth. Since the late 1970s has taken on another meaning in a digital context - as a way to refer to images or graphics representing real people in an online environment.

A digital avatar created by Jonathan Hicks.

Assignment 4

‘Using Adobe Illustrator, create an avatar based on your personality’.

THE Most Challenging. I could spend hours trying different approaches. I think Illustrator does a great job creating different layers of color and shapes to make the avatar less or more stylized.

Workshop 5 - Create a 'Minimal' Poster

  • Minimal Posters
  • The idea of reducing a well known movie, book or other piece of complex narrative to a simplified graphic may seem easy on the surface, but it's essentially an exercise in graphic design combined with problem solving - finding the most important elements of the narrative and highlighting them. Here are a couple of examples.
  • Consider the following things:
  • How can unnecessary elements of the key concept be eliminated without leaving a hole in the design?
  • Could these elements be incorporated into the design in another way?
  • What are the key design elements, and can we change the design so that they carry more meaning?
  • The minimalist design below (created by George K) uses the barest of elements to get a message across. A few colours and shapes are used to portray the key theme of a movie - can you guess which one?

Assignment 5

‘Using Adobe Illustrator, create a graphic which represents a well-known movie, book, piece of art etc. Your challenge is to see how simple you can make your graphic without losing its meaning.’

It was so difficult to find the answer to my imagery. I battled back and forth between image and object. I used the Illustrator app on my phone to create the base of this poster and the computer program to work the text where is should be. I am happy with the basic idea, but feel it needs more editing.

Simple Poster


These classes have given me a sense of purpose. I feel excited to teach lessons that make sense, have cohesion and are more fulfilling than projects I have assigned in the past. Continuing education that is broad and gives you a way to express yourself is important when you are the depths of the year. Teachers need an outlet to bring forth contemporary thought about creating so our classes do not stagnate.

Adobe is a superpower to bring these lessons to us for free. Education lacks fine professional development opportunities. We need to be inspired and stretched as much as our students do and this class has reminded me of where I wish my students to be; what mindset they need and what sort of plan of action they must walk through and around to produce a fabulous series of works.

Created By
Michelle Rodee

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