VCD – Build a Character in Illustrator

Course Overview

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of concept development, conducting research, methods of experimentation, producing a final outcome, learn some of the language of art and design as well as starting to build a digital tool skills set through learning Adobe Illustrator. The plan has been designed to meet Victorian Curriculum Levels 9  you can read more here at the VCAA website. You will need to have Adobe Illustrator to complete this course, but it doesn’t matter what version, most of the tools are available at each level. All demonstrations are done using Adobe Creative Could 2019 version. The pedagogy is action based research and learning applied skills, and context will be provided throughout the course.

This course is advanced and may not be able to be adjusted to meet the needs of a 7-8 level, but could be adjusted upwards. Depending on the skill level of the students and how experienced they are with concept development the weekly classes may need to be spread out over 2 classes. The teacher will need to identify where the students are and how fast they can move through the course. The teacher will also need to demonstrate and understand the program or each tutorial so they can support the students in the classroom.

What will we create?

At the end of this course we are aiming to have conducted a range of concept development exercises and come up with a resolved idea of what sort of character we will be developing. We will be able to describe the traits of the character, explore some artistic experiments and develop a range of inspirational material including the exploration of different artistic approaches and ideas. We’ll think about developing a look and feel, and decide on a colour scheme. Each lesson is around 1 hour long depending on your skill level and which parts of the program you enjoy doing the most.

Students will be learning Illustrator and familiarising themselves with a range of tools and approaches to making digital art. They will be exploring ideas about identity through the exploration of the things that make up a character and will produce a final creative approach to a character including a backstory.

What will each lesson involve?

A class teacher is needed for each lesson to assist students to follow each week. This website can be used as a resource so that students can check their progress, and even do so at home. Each class will include some direct instruction from the teacher, as well the videos and instructions embedded into each lesson on this website. Resources have been chosen to reflect a Visual Communication Design process that is more commercially oriented. Characters and ideas are chosen from many different sources and built to reflect industry standards.

Lesson 1Mind mapping, concept development
Lesson 2Skill building in Illustrator, build a panda face
Lesson 3Research into styles and skill building in Illustrator
Lesson 4VCD Skill building in Illustrator – Fun with the Pen tool!
Lesson 5Types of effects you can get and experimenting with Illustrator
Lesson 6Character Development time!
Lesson 8Bringing the drawing into Illustrator
Lesson 8Experimenting with techniques
Lesson 9Reworking and finalising from experimentation
Lesson 10Final outcome and character backstory

Assessment overview

Formative assessment is included via the inclusion of checklists for each stage. Teachers should ensure students have completed these stages before moving on to the next section. A summative assessment should be handed in by each student at the end to review the work completed and can be submitted to the classroom teacher.

Students at level 9 should be completing minimum 8 pages of A3 size visual diary documenting the process and final character with some back story based on the development sheet as outlined in week 1.

The final submission should include the visual diary (digital or hard copy), this should include evidence of completing each stage of the course. The final Illustrator file should be submitted with the correct naming conventions – Student name_CharacterAssignment.ai. Do not export to PDF.

This course should take about 6 weeks depending on the skill level of students, it is possible it could be spread out over a longer time, it is a very enjoyable assignment so this is completely possible although with this website, work can be completed for homework as well, and the bulk of the illustrator work should be done in the classroom with a teacher. Here is a guide for assessment for these levels.

CriteriaNeeds more workGoodVery good
Explore the visual arts practices and styles as inspiration to develop a personal style, explore, express ideas, concepts and themes in art works(VCAVAE040)
Explore how artists manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and express their intentions in art works (VCAVAE041)
Has identified only one artist, but hasn’t written about styles or concepts or themes they used.

No mentions of colours or art elements or how they may use these in their work.

Has identified two or more artists, what they have used to make their artwork, and discussed what the works could be communicating. Has mentioned art elements like line, colour, shape, has indicated what elements they would like to explore.Has identified three or more artists and has noted what materials they have used and what they might be trying to communicate.

Has discussed the art elements in detail and researched how they might create a similar element.

Select and manipulate materials, techniques, and technologies and processes in a range of art forms to express ideas, concepts and themes (VCAVAV042)
Conceptualise, plan and design art works that express ideas, concepts and artistic intentions (VCAVAV043)
Students have only explored one tool in Illustrator without experimentation, and have not explored the elements of art such as line, shape, colour, texture.Students have explored lots of different tools and techniques for creating interesting textures and/ materials. They have explored at least one tool in new and interesting way. They have explored some visual conventions and communicate something with their work.Student has explored two or more tools and techniques and has completed 3 different versions of experimentation with the materials in their visual diaries. The work communicates the characters traits, and explored visual conventions with their work.
Create, present, analyse and evaluate displays of artwork considering how ideas can be conveyed to an audience (VCAVAP044)
The student has not finished the character backstory and there is no link between what the character does and the drawing of it.Character has a back story, some of the details are filled out on the character sheet and the final representation and story are laid out together nicely on a pageCharacter has a detailed back story, the entire sheet has been finished, there is a good back story of about 100 words.
Analyse and interpret artworks to explore the different forms of expression, intentions and viewpoints of artists and how they are viewed by audiences(VCAVAR045)
Analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of visual artworks from different cultures, historical and contemporary contexts, including artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to explore differing viewpoints (VCAVAR046)
Students have included pictures they like but haven’t made notes about what they like about them or what the intention and viewpoints of the artists or designers may be. This could also be identified as who the audience might be.Students have identified and described in detail 2 or more artworks they are exploring, where they are from and how the ideas could be interpreted by the audiences. They have also made notes about how the creator has made them, what techniques they may have used in illustrator and has included at least 5 images throughout the visual diary as per the course instructions.Students have identified and described in detail more than 5 artworks including where they are from and how the ideas could be interpreted by the audiences. They have also made notes about how the creator has made them, what techniques they may have used in illustrator and has included at least 5 images throughout the visual diary as per the course instructions and has included answers to all the questions in the course.

  • Exploring Ideas

    This section explores the criteria "Explore the visual arts practices and styles as inspiration to develop a personal style, explore, express ideas, concepts and themes in art works(VCAVAE040)Explore how artists manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and express their intentions in art works (VCAVAE041)."

  • Finding Inspiration

    This section explores the criteria "Analyse and interpret artworks to explore the different forms of expression, intentions and viewpoints of artists and how they are viewed by audiences(VCAVAR045)Analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of visual artworks from different cultures, historical and contemporary contexts, including artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to explore differing viewpoints (VCAVAR046)"

  • Types of drawing

    This section explores the criteria "Select and manipulate materials, techniques, and technologies and processes in a range of art forms to express ideas, concepts and themes (VCAVAV042)Conceptualise, plan and design art works that express ideas, concepts and artistic intentions (VCAVAV043)."

  • Exploring techniques

    This section explores the criteria "plan and make their art works in response to exploration of techniques, technologies and processes used in the work of other artists. They demonstrate the use of materials, techniques, processes, visual conventions and technologies to express ideas and convey meaning in their artworks."

  • Refining project

    This section explores all the criteria, reworking, reassessing, considering intent, concept and technique.

  • Final outcome and character backstory

    This section explores the criteria "Create, present, analyse and evaluate displays of artwork considering how ideas can be conveyed to an audience (VCAVAP044)."

Instructor

User Avatar Lauren Martyn

Learning designer, digital designer and educator with extensive experience teaching creative subjects. Qualifications include: MA Creative Media (Multimedia), Ba Arts (Fine Art), Cert IV Training and Assessment, Dip Training Design and Development, Dip Vocational Education and Training, currently studying an MA in Secondary Education.

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