Editorial Illustration Tutorial: From Drawing to Photoshop
4.3 (48 ratings)
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Editorial Illustration Tutorial: From Drawing to Photoshop

Learn how to transform a written article into a digital illustration with tips on drawing, color use, and texture.
4.3 (48 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
813 students enrolled
Created by Christine Fleming
Last updated 3/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $45 Discount: 78% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand what editorial illustration is
  • Learn about the history of editorial illustration
  • Know the different types and specs of editorial illustration
  • Get inspired by examples from illustrator trail blazers
  • Navigate the process of creating an editorial illustration
  • Find your artistic style
  • Analyze a written article for illustrating
  • Collect visual references
  • Follow a design brief
  • Overcome the blank page
  • Start sketching
  • Implement drawing tips and techniques
  • Know what to send to an art director
  • Incorporate feedback into your revisions
  • Finalize your drawing
  • Work with line
  • Create value and color studies
  • Learn color theory and how to work with color digitally
  • Harmonize a color palette
  • Try out new digital painting techniques in Photoshop
  • Paint textures to import into Photoshop
  • Hand-draw typography to import into Photoshop
  • Finalize your illustration
View Curriculum
  • Paper or sketchbook
  • Pencils, pens
  • Gouache, acrylic, or watercolor paints (optional)
  • Light box (or window)
  • Scanner (or camera, if unavailable)
  • Adobe Photoshop (free trial available online!)

Editorial illustration is artwork created in response to written text, usually an article in a magazine, newspaper, or blog. In this course, we will focus on how to analyze a text, develop a unique idea, and communicate that concept visually as a partner to the article. Editorial illustration is an exciting field because it allows the illustrator to inject their own opinions and unique voice into the work. We'll focus on how to inject your own personality into your expressive illustration while still communicating your concept and illuminating the written word.

Transform Words into Illustrations

  • History + Inspiration: Learn about the history of editorial illustration and current trailblazers
  • Researching + Thinking: Learn about artistic style and visual references
  • Sketching: Learn how to overcome blank-page-phobia and start sketching
  • Drawing: Learn techniques for strengthening and finishing your drawing
  • Line, Value, and Color: Learn about color theory and linework tips
  • Digital Process: Learn about coloring an illustration in Photoshop
  • Textures + Hand-Drawn Type: Learn to create your own textures and drawn type

Course Concepts and Overview

To show you all this, I'm going to take you through my step by step process of creating an editorial illustration. You'll see my process from the original text article to researching, sketching, drawing, revisions, digital production, all the way to final illustration. I'll also show you many of my own personal Photoshop techniques for creating illustrations with bold colors and tantalizing textures. In addition, I will walk you through some illustration fundamentals that are often misunderstood including line, tone, value, and color, to help make your drawing as strong as possible.

By the end of this course, you will have the skills to transform a boring text-only article into a professional editorial illustration that communicates your unique voice while illuminating the written word.

Who is the target audience?
  • Illustrators
  • Artists
  • Designers
  • Creatives
  • Anyone who likes to draw!
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Curriculum For This Course
35 Lectures
1 Lecture 03:06

This video will give you a brief overview of the class and what we'll be learning.

Preview 03:06
What is Editorial Illustration?
5 Lectures 12:19

This video introduces the topic of editorial illustration and defines what it is, and venues where it can be found.

Preview 02:28

This video explores the history of editorial illustration from Europe in the 19th century up to present times.

Preview 05:36

This video explores the types, subjects, and size specifications of editorial illustration.

Types of editorial illustration

This PDF is a list of 25 of my favorite current illustrators that are trail blazers in the editorial world, with examples of their work to inspire you.

Collection of modern illustration inspiration (PDF)
25 pages

This video explains the steps of creating an editorial illustration, with a list of standard process steps, as well as my personal set of process steps.

Overview of the editorial illustration process
Personal Style
2 Lectures 06:45

This video explores how you can find your illustration style, and more importantly how to not worry about it so much!

Preview 01:34

This video explains how I found my own artistic style, and how the specific visual aspects of my style correlate to myself, in the hopes of getting you to ask yourself the right questions and keep experimenting with style.

How I found my personal style
Understanding the Article
4 Lectures 04:19

This video will take you through the process of analyzing a written article and brainstorming.

Analyzing the article

An example design brief, and the design brief I use to create my illustration for this class.

Example design brief
1 page

An example written article, and the article I use to create my illustration for this class.

Example article
3 pages

This video explains how to collect visual references, and what to avoid when looking at references.

Collecting visual references
Brainstorming and Sketching
4 Lectures 14:29

This video explains how to overcome the dreaded blank page, and let your ideas flow.

Preview 02:26

This video explains how to start sketching by relaxing and not judging what comes out of your pencil.

How to start sketching

This video goes through many of my favorite drawing tips and techniques to inject vitality and personality into your drawing.

Drawing tips to keep in mind

This PDF lists a few of my favorite drawing resources.

List of recommended reading on drawing
1 page
Feedback and Revisions
3 Lectures 03:11

This video explains what to send to an art director in a real-world editorial illustration assignment once you have completed your sketches.

What to send to an art director

This PDF shows examples of sketches sent to an art director, and my final three sketches for the illustration I created for this class.

Example of sketches sent to an art director
2 pages

Feedback can be hard to hear! This video explores how to take criticism and feedback respectfully and incorporate suggestions into your revisions.

Incorporating feedback into revisions
Refining your Drawing
1 Lecture 07:03

This video explains how to finalize your drawing and composition on paper before you dive into Photoshop.

Finalizing your concept and drawing
Line and Value
3 Lectures 04:54

This video explores options in linework and the theory of "lost and found" lines.

Working digitally with line

This video explains what values are and how successfully working with values will help make your color palette easier to create and stronger in the end.

Working digitally with value

This PDF includes some of my favorite digital brush recommendations.

Recommended digital brushes
1 page
Thinking About and Working with Color
5 Lectures 30:26

This video explores the huge world of color from color relativity; primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries; tints, tones, and shades; brightness; harmony; contrast; personal color style; and how to improve a bland color palette.

The confusing world of color (How to work with color)

This video offers a quick tip on how to achieve harmony in your digital color palette.

Quick TIp! How to create harmony with color in Photoshop

This video shows you my process of exploring color and creating a color study on the illustration I created for this class.

Sneak Peek: Painting color a study

This video explores some of my Photoshop digital painting techniques, and takes you through a speed-lapse of my entire digital coloring process of the illustration I created for this class.

Digital coloring techniques in Photoshop

This PDF includes a recommended reference on color.

Recommended reading on color
1 page
Working with Texture
2 Lectures 07:07

This video explains how to paint textures on paper to be applied to your illustration digitally in Photoshop.

Painting and drawing textures on paper

This video explains how to apply your painted textures in Photoshop.

Applying your handmade textures in Photoshop
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
Christine Fleming
4.3 Average rating
48 Reviews
813 Students
1 Course
Illustrator + Graphic Designer at Might Could Studios

Christine Fleming is a freelance illustrator and designer working out of Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a BFA in Graphic Design, and is now illustrating in both the science and children's markets, as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books, and designing materials for various companies.

Christine's work has appeared in magazines, literary zines, science blogs, educational workbooks, and custom commissions. She was also named the SCBWI Illustrator of the Month after attending the SCBWI National Conference in New York.