Figures and Environments course at Sessions College

Figures and Environments

3 credits

ILL 322: Figures and Environments

Explore the portrayal of characters in context

Students will focus on advancing their ability to convincingly represent the human figure and characters in space, within multiple environments while considering historical context. Concepts to be addressed include anatomy, gravity, weight, movement, light, color, and the history of representing the figure. Additionally, students will explore architecture, structural elements, and scale with an emphasis upon developing compelling and vivid environments.

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


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

Course developed by: Fiorella Shalat

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

Course Projects

    1. What is a Powerful Story?

      We will explore how artists since ancient times have told powerful stories by combining figures and environments.

    2. How Do We Make a Story Personal?

      We will examine the importance of following your passions—which will lead you toward the places, people, and stories that are important to you—and doing research.

    3. How Do We Grab the Viewer's Attention?

      We will explore how to make compelling scenes starting from observational sketches, by positioning our characters in their setting, drawing in natural light or artificial light, and creating different views.

    4. How Do We Compose An Image?

      We will examine how a well-designed image comes to life using position, balance, color, contrast, scale, symbols, and that crucial element: novelty—and how facial expressions, hand, gestures, and body language can communicate liveliness and energy!

    5. How Do We Create An Environment?

      We will address various ways of creating a setting, both digitally and hand-built, and making the characters come to life in their environment.

    6. How Do We Use Color?

      We will deepen our knowledge of how to make effective color choices, using imagination, ingenuity, and taste, as well as a plan guided by the selection of hues, values, and intensity.

Sample Student Work

For sample work, visit student gallery

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Students will research and develop a series of illustrations for a story of their choice. Students will have the opportunity to develop a visual narrative in a new setting and style of a work done in the past or a contemporary story with a different interpretation. Options include a print media project (book, comic, magazine, and so on), or a digital media project (video game, movie, animation, or 3d product) or a personal project that meets the same requirements.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC (InDesign optional).
  • Drawing and art supplies may be required depending on your choice of project.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Analyze, evaluate, and synthesize historical concepts and artistic styles when exploring and researching multiple illustrations/paintings/artwork with a figure (human figure and/or characters) in an environment and with consideration of historical context, anatomy, gravity, movement, scale, proportion, light, value contrast, perspective, color, mood, and other art/design principles.
  • Professionally present research and creative concepts in alignment with the course content, creative brief, project criteria/expectations, and presentation guidelines.
  • Actively and professionally participate in class discussions/meetings, constructively assess the work of your peers, and enhance your creative work based upon feedback.
  • Demonstrate effective and efficient use of your digital and traditional drawing, painting, and other image making skills to create quality portfolio ready pieces.
  • Effectively conceptualize, create, finalize, and present a series of illustrations (digital and/or traditional) based upon research, integrating the figure in an environment with consideration of historical context, anatomy, gravity, movement, scale, proportion, light, value contrast, perspective, color, mood, art/design principles, and visual storytelling.
  • Apply and demonstrate technically proficient digital illustration/image making skills utilizing appropriate software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

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

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

Contact Information

✓ Valid
Please select from dropdown.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that 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).