Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and Digital Photography
Online Basic Illustration Course course at Sessions College

Online Basic Illustration Course

30 hours

4220: Digital Illustration Basics

Workshop on illustration with Adobe Illustrator

Creating illustrations in Adobe Illustrator can be fun or frustrating, depending on how you approach it. In this online basic digital illustration course, you'll discover professional illustration techniques for creating great-looking artwork using deceptively simple elements. Working with a veteran illustrator, you will be guided through every step of illustration projects that get your creative juices flowing. Creative class projects include still life illustrations, editorial art/brand logos, and character illustrations.

Navigate your illustration projects

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete this course in 3-4 weeks


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Andrew Shalat

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. Illustration Tools

      We will begin by exploring some essential tools for illustration. In a hands-on lecture, you'll learn how to draw three-dimensional shapes using ellipses (circles and ovals), rectangles and squares, and triangles. You'll explore how to use solid and gradient fills to add color and perceived depth. Finally, you'll learn how to spray, size, and rotate symbols to create repeated elements.

    2. Telling a Story

      As a designer and illustrator, it's your job to break down what you see into forms you can use in your drawing. We will explore the challenge of creating an illustrated scene that tells a story. You'll learn how to create depth and drama using two-dimensional shapes, starting from a pencil sketch. You'll explore how to add curves to shapes using the Pen tool and Bezier curves, as well as use masks to frame a composition. Using text as a graphic element will also be examined.

    3. Building a Character

      In this final session, you'll learn techniques for drawing or assembling character portraits, a common challenge for any illustrator, digital or traditional. First you'll study the classic proportions of the face, looking at how to place and size different features. Next, you'll explore how to communicate facial expressions and moods using highlights and accents, and sometimes by just rotating or moving the odd shape or two. It's all about giving your characters features with flair.

Sample Student Work

by Steven Nielsen

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Creative class projects include still life illustrations, editorial art/brand logos, and character illustrations.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Illustrator CC.
  • Basic experience in drawing and the above software.

What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Create still lifes, editorial art/brand logos, and character portraits in Illustrator.
  • Create artwork from basic shapes, symbols, gradients, fill colors, symbols.
  • Create depth and shadow effects to give artwork a three-dimensional quality.
  • Spray, size, and rotate symbols to create repeated elements.
  • Integrate pencil sketches into the digital illustration process.
  • Add curves to shapes using the Pen tool and Bezier curves.
  • Use clipping masks to frame a composition.
  • Work with text as a graphic element.
  • Set up a template for a drawing project.
  • Draw character art following the basic proportions of the human face.
  • Apply simple techniques for drawing each part of the human face.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Enroll today, start tomorrow
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete within 3 months

Course Tuition and Fees 
Registration Fee* $50
Total Course Price $669

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Click Register Now to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. There are no set logins, so you can study at your own pace. In each course you’ll complete a series of lectures and projects designed to stretch your creative skills.

How Much Time Do I Need?

This course can be completed in 30 hours or less. You’ll have three months from enrollment to complete the course studying at your own pace. Extensions are available for those who need more time.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. You’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).