Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall 2015 Syllabus

Course information: ILL 365, 3rd floor Computer Cluster Shaffer
Sec. 001, Thursday, 1:30pm. - 6:00pm.

OFFICE: Shaffer 332, Mailbox Shaffer 102
HOURS: Monday 12:30PM-1:30PM
PHONE: 315-289-5771 

Illustration is an art of visual communication. It is a delivery system for ideas and feelings and stories. It engages our minds, our hearts and reflects our culture and the time we live in even as it sets us in history.

At its heart, illustration is the visual representation of story. Whether that story is a recent event in the news, a science fiction adventure, a birthday greeting or a children’s tale doesn’t matter so much as the fact that they all share a common source in story.

Digital Illustration represents a revolution in the artists ability to create and distribute their work to a wide audience. Today we can make websites and have our work seen around the world, we can use tools that enable us to create 3d models and use every imaginable kind of texture and paint style. With these amazing tools we need to keep ourselves grounded in the traditional illustration process of thumbnail, sketch, approval and finish but can add  reworking, photobashing, editing, any tools that has been available to artists throughout history is available to us in the digital world, but we need to take care to not get lost in all the gadgets and glitz.  

We will explore how to take our skills as artists, illustrators and storytellers and apply them to the needs of the digital workspace. To use the tools now available to push our understanding of visual literacy beyond the levels we’ve know before. To explore new ays of seeing and making art.

In this class we will be taking advantage of a technique known as the  “flipped classroom.” What this means is that we will be watching and practicing techniques using video tutorials at home to brush up and sharpen our skills with programs and in class we will be working on our projects and testing our knowledge through creating new imagery. 


By the end of this class you should have created a number of pieces using the assigned applications and create presentation of your images both digital and for print.
You will be able to :

Develop an understanding of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Sketchup
Understand which programs are best for Type, Design, Layout and Art creation,
Properly scan and prepare you artwork for reproduction including color correction
Understand  DPI, raster vs vector, advanced techniques including photobashing, frankensteining, coloring for comics, designing a logo 
Learn to combine natural media and digital media to create unique and interesting new pieces of artwork the likes of which you have never seen. 

Students are expected to balance larger multi-week assignments with shorter in-class and homework assignments. An art career is fast-paced; students should expect to receive their next large assignment on the day of the critique of the previous large assignment, there will be no break between assignments. The art of survival as an illustrator is one of juggling projects and clients while making each client believe that they are your only one. Treat your assignments with care, follow the instructions for size, timing and deadline. The skill of taking care of your teacher is similar to the skill of taking care of a client. 

Assignments and due dates will be described and handed out in class AND posted electronically. Saying you didn’t get the assignment is not acceptable.  Assignment parameters will be described in detail.   Make sure you follow each parameter precisely.  In the world of professional illustration misreading an assignment (handing in the wrong size piece, missing an important detail, presenting/delivering the finished art in a form other than as was requested, etc) will mean that you, at best, have to re-do the piece, or at worse, will lose a client.  Meet your deadlines!  Late assignments will lower your grade, which is far better than what an art director will do with a late piece.

Student work may be reproduced for use by the instructor.

TEXTs and other Resources

1. I will be arranging to get a student subscription for everyone. they have a group rate which should amount to $10 a month and will be able to answer any and all questions you have about the technology if I am not available. It’s an amazing resource and you should take as much advantage of it as you possibly can.

2. Get to know Jan Mackay, our lab technician, on the 3rd floor (service window business hours are Mon. - Fri. 9:00am-5:00pm.). She is responsible for use of the computer clusters and print-outs. You must pay for services there with a blue "chit", which may be purchased in the Schine Student Center

3. You may also use the computer cluster in Rms.329. See the posted schedule for times. 

4. Be familiar with these sites:

These reference sites can be helpful as well:
google images
google art project

5. DropBox: each student will be required to get a Dropbox account (for free up to 2 gigs, more than enough for any student) for saving and sharing images and other file back and forth with me. It’s easy, works great and most professionals use it.

The 90% New Rule

When using photos/images created by someone else in a collage to create your new image, I stand by the 90% new rule. If anyone can recognize the source of the photo within 90% of its original source, it is too close and you need to rethink the image altogether. Anything less than a 90% change is plagiarism.

Attendance is required. One absence for the semester will be tolerated; however, you are still responsible for turning in assignments on time! If you will be absent when an assignment is due make arrangements to send the work in with a classmate or deliver it to my mailbox ahead of time.(See "Grading") Two absences, for any reason, will lower your final grade by one letter grade. You will FAIL the course in the event of a third absence! Mechanical failures (alarm clocks, car failure, etc.) are not valid excuses. In the world of professional illustration your art director will simply fire you and never hire you again if you are too late or a no-show.  Compared to that, my attendance policy is kind and generous.

You are expected to arrive on time and remain until the end of class. If you are bored or have nothing to do, you have come unprepared and should probably consider switching to a class in which you have some interest. Lateness of an hour or more will count as an absence. Chronic lateness or skipping out early will also count towards an absence and will lower your grade.  Treat me as you would treat an art director.


15% - Lecture/Classroom 
.In-Class Assignments
15% - Sketchbook/Reference File
.Consistently working in sketchbook throughout semester
.Gathering appropriate amount of reference 
.Properly cataloguing and display reference material
80% - Four Out-of-Class Assignments
.Assignments are #1=10%,#2=10%,#3=30%, #4=30%
.Spread out over a few weeks each
.Meeting deadlines 
.Achieving goals (see separate assignment rubric)

But wait! That’s 110%! That can’t be right!  

No student is going to get a full score all the time. The 95 points accounted for by Sketchbook/Reference and Assignment are hard points that will be achievable by meeting strict assignment goals. However, the 15 points for lecture and classroom participation give some leeway to reward the students who are consistently in class and consistently showing concerted efforts to participate and work hard in their sketchbooks. This is kind of the “effort” grade, which should reward people putting in extra effort--and also allow the people who struggle with concept/execution to make up points by being involved.

Incompletes will be granted only in extenuating circumstances. If you have a valid medical excuse or family emergency, and you've completed the bulk of course work for the semester, an incomplete is possible. You are responsible for initiating the paper work for an incomplete.

Please see university policy on plagiarism, but the policy in here, is that if the work does not significantly deviate from a reference it could be deemed as copyright infringement or plagiarism and will not be tolerated.

Syracuse University’s Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about course-specific expectations, as well as about university policy. The university policy governs appropriate citation and use of sources, the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments, and the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. The policy also prohibits students from submitting the same written work in more than one class without receiving written authorization in advance from both instructors. The presumptive penalty for a first offense by an undergraduate student is course failure, accompanied by a transcript notation indicating that the failure resulted from a violation of Academic Integrity Policy. The standard sanction for a first offense by a graduate student is suspension or expulsion.

For more information and the complete policy, see 

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services(ODS),, located in Room 309 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue students with documented Disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters, as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible. 

SU religious observances policy, found at, recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holidays according to their tradition.  Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to are religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes. For fall and spring semesters, an online notification process is available through MySlice/StudentServices/Enrollment/MyReligiousObservances from the first day of class until the end of the second week of class.

This Syllabus is subject to change as needs arise.

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