Unit 49: Specialist Illustrations Using Computer Applications Matthew Kilcullen 41230874


An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games and films.


Computer illustration or digital illustration is the use of digital tools to produce images under the direct manipulation of the artist, usually through a pointing device such as a tablet or a mouse.


Illustrator and PhotoShop are two of the most popular software in the Adobe Creative Suite, used by artists and designers worldwide to create stunning artwork and illustrations. However that is not where he road ends, but simply a beginning, as there is Corel Painter 17, ParticleShop, ArtRage 5, Rebelle, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and Black Ink. These can be supported with simple pen to paper drawing and scanning images into a computer and the use of the pen tool or a wacom tablet.


Illustration that is created specifically for a piece of work can be surprisingly affordable, compared to a good photographer or even uses quality stock photography, these can often end up costing a lot more. Plus there is a significant amount of freedom when using illustrations as once you've paid for it, it's yours to use however or whenever you like, whereas with stock photography, the issues you may face, such as being asked where you will be using the image, what size, for how long, the target audience, which not only is time consuming but also increases the price.

Furthermore, many of these photographs have been incredibly overused and have no uniqueness at all, so for a project uniqueness is a key factor in getting a personalised message out there, where a cliche image of a elderly couple having the time of their life on an unbranded laptop or an extremely happy, white, male businessman. With illustration there is no limit, other than your imagination and creativity, you can draw and design whatever you may fathom up yourself, you cant always photograph everything, somethings have to be made by yourself, to really get a personal feel.

Although, when photography is a factor in design, illustrations can still bring a personal touches, perhaps a quirky but professional outlook and added charm to the newest iPhone or this seasons newest blend at Starbucks. This also works with in Branding, giving a brand personality and showcasing it, not only with perhaps an 'About Me' tab, but possibly illustrations of the members of the agency, to give viewers an idea of the people they are communicating with or considering business with.

Illustration can also tell or help telling a story and do this by creating a engaging and informative narrative, for a story or message to be successful it must be interesting and understandable. This is also a factor for Infographics, to give a guide, not with just words. Findings and Conclusions are important when companies are measuring their success and thinking forwards about the future, a useful, yet easy way to present these is through infographics. Infographics are very popular and on trend at the moment as when they are done well they can give a simple outlook to complex data, making it easy for the audience to understand. As well as data, instructions can be presented this way, giving a step by step guide, including annotations.

Milton Glaser once described illustration as “the act of making a narrative clear” and it has proved to be very powerful.


There is many different styles of illustration, such as: Children, Fashion, Architecture, Food and Drink, Animals, Line, Portraits, Fantasy, Retro, People, 3D / CGI, Animation, Beauty, Business, Cartoon, Character, Collage, Comic, Communication, Conceptual, Contemporary, Decorative, Educational, Graffiti, Graphic, Historical, Icon, Infographic, Lettering, Lifestyle, Live Event Drawing, Manga, Maps, Medical, Nature, Painting, Paper Art, Places, Pop, Sport and Fitness, Storyboard, Technical, Transport, Vector and Wood. Some styles, for example Infographic could come with medical or maps, so I'm going to look into a few in further depth.


Comics is a medium used to express ideas by images, often combined with text or other visual information. Cartooning and similar forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images.


Photography, film-making, animation, fine art, painting and sculpture was his earlier career, as a Yorkshire based artist Chris King tried a whole range of disciplines before settling on illustration. His passion from drawing was something else for him compared to his other practises and used mediums, so he began his career in illustration in 2008. From an early age, he took inspiration from comic books - everything from The Beano to Akira. Film is another big influence, it’s the story-telling element that he likes to portray in his art, which is another type of illustration where comic, cartoon and storyboard come hand in hand. Chris usually begins traditionally with pen or pencil on paper. The drawings are scanned and coloured digitally, with textures imported and layered over the line work, before he tweaks the image until he gets the result he’s looking for.



Julia, is a 2D Artist from Minsk, Belarus and specialises in drawing, illustration and character design. She uses Photoshop in her work to create painted styled pieces of real and fantasy beings.


Linear line illustration (LLI), or continuous line drawing, is an adaptable and fun style to work in, resulting in clean, clear designs that are suitable for print or animation.


Spending her childhood in the US and in Zimbabwe, Montana Forbes now lives in London. Her work is inspired by an underlying interest in the psychology of fashion and narrative of individual style. Montana studied Visual Communications at university, where she focused on art history, photography and graphic design. After getting together ideas she starts doodling and sketching in pencil. Later on, Photoshop is used to develop and tweak the image, and to apply the colour. She has a clear, minimal, pared-back style. Her aim is to capture a timeless sensibility in her images, and one that people can easily relate to.


Morgan is a young photographer from Nottingham, studying at Trent University and has been studying photography for the past three years, but her passion for it goes down to her childhood with her father. However in her spare time she enjoys creating illustrative pieces for her own personal gain, including a tattoo design that she has, and future pieces. Whereas this is not digitalised, this style of illustration is very popular and becomes a possibility to the illustration bellow of a Moose Blood song.



Based in Buenos Aires, Gustavo loved science fiction magazines and comics when he was younger, as well as Anime. These influences got him into drawing and you can see traces of them in his work today. He is self-taught and originally started in the graphic design field, where illustration was more of a sideline career, but due to client demand it progressed into a successful career. Sketching on paper or drawing on his graphics tablet first, he uses a range of digital mediums to develop his imagery including Photoshop, Cinema 4D and Illustrator. Lately, he’s been practising speed painting, as well as creating more detailed illustrations using painting software on his graphics tablet.


James begins his work on paper, he starts drawing by hand with a pencil, fine liner or a marker, he then told me he gets the urge to digitalise it and as much as it's time consuming he enjoys the process of pen to paper and then digitising the final piece. Although he has only been in the creative world for just under two years and a student at Huddersfield University in Illustration, he has an ever-growing portfolio of illustrations, including custom typefaces.


Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by UTILISING graphics to enhance the human visual system's ability to see patterns and trends.



Decibel Nutrition is a fitness and lifestyle brand with a mission to help everyone achieve a better quality of life and confidence through a unique approach to health and fitness. They were tasked with the job to help drive traffic and rankings to their website. With these infographics, the results were fantastic as we saw Decibel's average website visits shoot up to 40,000 from 100 during the course of the campaign.




Andrea's illustrates on paper as well as the computer. His portfolio also includes doors, busses and lots of long boards. I've learnt he starts drawing by hand with a pencil, fine liner or a marker, then continues to work quite often in acrylic or with cans, then proceeds to scan it and combine the elements in Photoshop - quite often also with structures that he's shot. Once in a while he'll also include something with illustrator.


This is a recent typographic piece by junior graphic designer James Black, who I have featured previously in my research. His process follows the same steps and adding a finished look digitally in Illustrator. He also uses InDesign in some of his work.


Visual communication is communication through a visual aid and is described as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Visual communication in part or whole relies on vision, and is primarily presented or expressed with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, Industrial Design, Advertising, Animation colour and electronic resources. It also explores the idea that a visual message accompanying text has a greater power to inform, educate, or persuade a person or audience.



Inspired by Lower Than Atlantis' song 'Could Be Worse'

This is a typographic illustrative piece, inspired by 'Could Be Worse' by Lower Than Atlantis. I designed this for my personal and portfolio use, around the time of their newest album release 'Safe In Sound', I chose this song as it spoke to me on a more personal level and inspired me to design; a lot of my work is inspired by music and my feelings, bringing back the theory of art having a meaning or purpose. I tend to specialise in typography, as I feel most suited in that field of Graphic Design. In this particular piece, given the lyrics chosen, I wanted to convey a positive outlook, to quite a negative one I was having, to allow myself a positive in a negative.

My process for typography never really alters in Illustrator, regardless of how the letters do. I am a slave to downloadable fonts from my two favourites 1001fonts or DaFont. But the true design comes not only after the typeface itself, but once I've chosen said word/s, then to Object > Expand, is when design, to me personally, becomes real. In this piece particularly I was allowed the freedom to every anchor point known, this gave me the ability to give the appearance of intertwining letters, as if they was all connected. Where the type is more of a shape than a letter. I was also able to adjust sizing and magnify some words other than others. For me, 'Could' and 'Worse', were the key elements to this piece, where you have the questionable, somewhat doubtful, yet reassuring 'Could', amongst the certain, and very harsh 'Worse', making you feel relaxed, that yes, it could be better, but it could also be way worse; like a metaphor of glass half full, or glass half empty. You make your own interpretation of these sort of motivational, positive quotes, and this was mine.

I also used different specialist techniques with this piece, such as the use of a Wacom Tablet, with less than a years experience, I independently set myself this challenge by creating the line work around the typeface, to add some noise, texture and life to the words I wanted to be encrypted on my brain, right there and then. This was a difficult task at first, but once I got going there was no turning back, except for finding the sweet spot between clean design, and messy design; many attempts were made, but overall I believe I achieved that. I also experimented with the style of the outline and rather just having basic, I chose a rougher, somewhat urban sprayed on, chalk effect, which aided my background choice further.

Regarding the background, I experimented with white, black and brick. I decided to go with the black brick design, as i enjoy the urban street art feel it gave the the piece as a whole, without it, i felt I had made another calligraphic, typography, lyric inspired design again, but this one was different. I also altered the Opacity of the typeface, to let it be apart of the background, rather sit on it, like graffiti on a alleyway wall. This lead me to adding a Lower Than Atlantis themed pattern, of three pink wave outlines, but somewhat distorted but still there, without them it'd feel empty, but they are not the centre-piece, so I lowered the Opacity there too. Pink? Yes, pink. I toyed with the idea of white, but there was too much white. I had an affair with blue and red and I nearly settled on grey. But this piece needed something to brighten the place up, and in February, I was very much into pastel pink, so my fate was already written. I also stuck with the line the same as the surrounding patterns and to keep the consistent urban style I was presenting.

Overall I am satisfied with the outcome of this piece, I did it for me, and anyone else who needed that reassurance of a pick me up, and to honour my favourite bands newest release.



Moose Blood lyrics from 'Knuckles' typography and watercolour.

This is a typographic illustrative piece, inspired by 'Knuckles' by Moose Blood. I designed this for me, my portfolio and a beautiful girl. At the time I had severe Designers Block, so I asked the question, and she answered. A lot of my work is inspired by music and my feelings, bringing back the theory of art having a meaning or purpose. I tend to specialise in typography, as I feel most suited in that field of Graphic Design. In this particular piece, given the lyrics chosen, I wanted to convey a simple lyric design, but it just ended up being about her. The words used are very popular and common choices when it comes to Moose Blood illustrations and it felt the most fitting.

I tend to stick to my design process in Illustrator, regarding typography, using a nice downloadable font, royalty free. I wanted this piece to be soft and sweet, so I went with a more calligraphic, handwritten styled typeface, it also had a texture to it that I wanted to showcase with a background. I also experimented with the Characters section, to allow more flow within the word spacing, after this I continued to Create Outlines (Expand) the typeface, to be able to use the Direct Selection Tool, with this I altered the height and arrangement of some letters to bring a closeness and flow to the whole piece, but still being able to separate the two words.

Regarding the background, I was awaiting the right time to use Chris Spooner, of Spoon Graphics' freebies section on his watercolour swatches. From the selection giving I wanted to stay true to Moose Blood, who's album 'Blush', was a pastel pink, with a sea gradient, so the blue and pink watercolour felt perfect for this piece. I experimented with the idea of including flowers around the typeface but it felt too cramped, so I exported the typeface as a PhotoShop document and imported both files (watercolour and type) and layered them on each other.

And there you have it, Stay Beautiful.



Logo and Sticker for Modified Car Culture Lifestyle Brand

This is a client based, logo and sticker design, typography based piece. I designed this for a young, male client, who had a partner, but I never discussed business with. I tend to specialise in typography, as I feel most suited in that field of Graphic Design. In this particular piece, I got to gain experience again in Logo Design, which I was extremely pleased about. When i was given the black and white colour palette I was aesthetically pleased too, and it was directly from his references. I used Illustrator throughout this piece.

The typeface is from DaFont.com and is called Street Soul, by Endie. Once the typeface was settled on, I began alterations, such as the 'B', actually being a '3' and using part of the 'W' to create the flick. I also used a different 'X', as typefaces itself wasn't what the client desired, so that was made with the use of the pen tool and references he gave me.

I used a YouTube tutorial to aid me with the light grey shading, which was done with the pen tool on some letters and I used the knife tool elsewhere. I also put an Offset Path on the white lettering to give it an overall clean outline so everything was the same width. For the black outline I originally used the Pencil Tool to give a smooth but relaxed outline however it was too unbalanced, so I attempted with the Pen Tool however this proved problematic too, so I ended up using the Offset Path Tool again, which gave me and my client the desired look; to get the whole typeface balanced I had to unite all of the expanded typeface so it became one which made the Offset Path smoother and all rounded. Also I added an Effect (Wave) to make the entire logo sit and flow better, it gave a fairly flat image some weight.

Overall this commissioned design took just over eleven hours to produce, due to multiple revisions and alterations at the beginning. However I am happy with the finished outcome, as so is the client.



This is an experimental typographic piece, I looked at tutorials on YouTube, this one is by Chris Spooner, who is a huge inspiration of mine, I use a lot of his freebies off his website in my work, such as brushes, pattern swatches and textured backgrounds.

I began with a typeface using Illustrator, this one is called Venetian, by Alif Devan R. Once I had chosen my typeface, I used Glyphs to change certain letters, I also followed the tutorial to Expand it and I used the Direction Selection Tool and Pen Tool to create a bridge between the two 'T's and united it all.

Then I went to Object > Path > Offset Path of 3 centimetres, and united the now white typeface separately to the black Offset Path. I then had to paste this into the back and nudge it down to a desired amount to give a shadow appearance that was then merged with the use of the Blend Tool and using specified steps of 40-80 to create a smooth transition from the two Offset Paths, then to expand and unite them as a shape, rather than an effect.

After this I went back to the white typeface and copied it in the back and nudged it again to same angle as the black offset path, with a fill of a vibrant red, and added a 3 pt stroke, with the alignment to outside, to the white type to separate the two and create depth and a shadow. To add a handwritten style, I used the pen tool at certain strokes and corners to show the flow of how a brush or pen would be.

Finally I added a contrasting vibrant yellow as the background which made the typeface stand out.



This is a illustrative piece, inspired from a previously hand-drawn tattoo design by Lauren O'Neill, which l later digitalised in Illustrator. I used multiple layers for this piece because it is a fairly complex design which allowed me focus on certain parts at a time. I also did two colour variations, to see how the line-work sits and merges with the background.

Firstly, I took a high quality photograph on the drawn design, and opened it in Illustrator and locked it to the art board. I began with the outline of the ram and then used other layers for complex details such as facial features and the background. I used the Pen Tool throughout, then the Draw Inside Tool to do the Splatter Brush, to create textured depth, which I download from Chris Spooner's website; Spoon Graphics; I get a lot of my brush and pattern swatches from, which aids me in my designs.

Once I had the outline finished, I looked into real ram skulls, which gives me a more of an accurate representation and reference to look at white digitalising this piece. Once the facial features and markings were done, I used another free Stipple Brush stroke from Spoon Graphics, which I used on the outlines and used different weights and lengths to create thicker and more defined strokes, which also added a more hand-drawn feel like the original one.

Also the original design included the word 'Everlong' as that is an already existing tattoo. Because this piece ended up being quite dark and grungy, I took it upon myself to choose a similar suiting typeface, I went with Haze by The Branded Quotes. In the background I included the moon, but rather than a full moon, I made a crescent moon as it suites it's style further , to create this i used two circles and merged them together, using the Pathfinder Tool, then the Direction Selection Tool, to delete the unnecessary shape.

Overall, I am happy with this piece, it is one of my favourites because I don't usually do illustrative pieces, I am more typography based.


  • https://unsplash.com/
  • http://bluegg.co.uk/blog/10-reasons-to-use-illustration
  • http://sarahs-safari.net/the-advantage-of-illustration/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_communication#Visual_communication
  • https://www.mindjet.com/blog/2011/12/what-are-the-benefits-of-visual-communication/
  • http://www.illustrationweb.com/styles
  • https://cullodenart.wordpress.com/latest-news/graphic-design-how-to-analyse-your-selected-pieces/
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/art/practicalities/analysingartistwork1.shtml

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