Monthly Archives: September 2010

Tech Session: Adobe Illustrator intro

Create a New Document ( FILE >> NEW )
– set size and orientation

Create some basic shapes
– rectangle
– circle
– click and drag to set size
– shift-click and drag to keep proportional/square
– double-click: manually set specific size

Alter the shapes
– color, stroke
– Selection Tool
– Move
– rotate
– scale (shift scale)
– copy, paste (EDIT >> COPY or EDIT >> PASTE)
– undo (EDIT >> UNDO or command-z)
– multiple select ( shift select)
– group / ungroup ( OBJECT >> GROUP )
– align

Advanced shapes
– Direct selection tool
– Pen tool (for angles and curves)
– Add anchor point, delete anchor point
– compound shapes

Grouping, ungrouping


Slicing, merging dividingshapes (for cropping especially)
– (pathfinder panel)

Placing images (sample image here)


Some sample rules

Here are some links to sample rule sets, from all over the map. More to come.

Project 04 – Instructional Graphics (the universal)

Instructional graphics attempt to distill visual communication to its smoothest, clearest form. Whenever possible, they avoid symbolic or indexical forms of representation, aiming for iconic imagery in the plainest sense – everything in a instructional graphic must not only look like the essence of the thing it represents, it must look like ALL instances of that thing.

For this project, you will create a series of instructional graphics that take us with great clarity and simplicity to summing up the most universal aspects of life. Select or invent four rules or slogans to follow for life – either separate rules, or an ordered set of four to follow – and create an instructional graphic for each.

You will output the results as a single poster, featuring your four instructional graphics, captions, and a title.

Your first step in this process is to decide on the following:

1 – Four “rules for life,” found or authored
2 – an idea for modeling/illustrating these four rules in an internally consistent, non-symbolic manner.

Once you’ve devised answers to these, you will create photographs for each of your four pictures, and then use them as guides for creating vector graphics.

Special Option

If you want to work with a partner, you can create a total of 6 instructional graphics for the same 6 “rules for life,” resulting in a single poster.


Mon 9/27 – final prints due for Project 03. Worksheets due for Project 04. tech demo for vector graphics
Wed 9/29 – have taken your photographs to use for Project 04. Bring to class for use in creating Vector graphics
Mon 10/4 – review work in process for Project 04. Review poster strategies
Mon 10/6 – final prints due

test post


Images for tech session 9/15

The Essay due read for 9/20

Travels in Hyperreality” (1975) by Umberto Eco

This influential essay is one of the most readable explorations of what has come to be thought of as the “postmodern” aesthetics of authenticity. (It’s long in page length, but goes quickly.)

Project 03: Illustration (authenticity)

due printed on Monday, September 27

You have been commissioned to create illustrations for a biographical book. Your illustrations are to be based on sketchbooks or notebooks kept by the book’s subject. The problem is, there exist no sketchbooks by this person. Also, the client wants them to look “kinda sketchy – you know REAL – but also nice, you know – in COLOR, finished looking.”

Your job is to create five finished illustrations by faking, and then dressing up, at least four sketchbook entries for your book’s subject.

You may choose any subject you like for your book, a real or invented person, living or dead, or choose from the examples listed in this post.

If you invent or choose your own person, the more specific you are, the better the results. Choose not just a person, but a place, a period in his or her life, a story through which this person kept a journal.

Your “sketches” should include at least some drawing from life/observation, but could also include written notes, lists, maps, doodles, directions, diagrams.

Your best method (which I will demonstrate in class) will be to draw on paper with non-photo blue pencil (I’ll provide), then go back with dark pencil or ink to create your “sketch.”

Scan in your sketches, clean them up in Photoshop, then add color or texture in Photoshop as needed to make them appear “finished-looking.” You may also rely on Photoshop’s drawing and brush tools and a Wacom tablet, as long as you do some drawing by hand as well, and as long as the result looks “real.”


Wednesday 9/15 – have identified at least one actual sketchbook or notebook, in print or web form, to use as reference material for style, etc. Bring one image to class to draw from observation for use in your final prints.

Monday 9/20 – have read assigned reading. Discussion. Lab time

Wednesday 9/22 – lab time

Monday 9/27 – projects due printed. Crit.