Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Coffee Illustration


To be introduced to illustration styles and the power of interpretation. To abstract and reduce details to their essential elements. To design imagery that is unified in line or shape.

See slide show of coffee illustrations


An art director from a major national publication has commissioned you to create a spot illustration to accompany a monthly column called "Coffee Stories." Each month, the columnist will share stories about how coffee has changed people's lives. The editorial slant for the column is the joy coffee drinkers feel when drinking their favorite beverage. The art will be printed in b&w, about two inches tall. The budget is $1500 to include all reproduction rights.



warming up for the exercise

  1. download starter file
  2. inspect "coffee.psd" in Photoshop
  3. save out sketch layers as separate JPEG files
  4. place JPEG files as templates in Illustrator
  5. interpret the sketch by tracing over the art
  6. print b&w paper proofs from Illustrator for critique

design your own coffee illustration

  1. using your favorite stock resources, find a photo of coffee for reference (Google images not allowed)
  2. print the photo
  3. using tracing paper and pencil, design an illustration using line or shape as the dominant motif
  4. scan your drawing and trace over it in Illustrator
  5. print b&w paper proofs from Illustrator for critique
  6. revise the art (if necessary) and add color
  7. submit color proofs with your name on it for grading
  8. file graded proof in your Process Book for individual review


Last updated: 9/7/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young