ILLU352 Creative Concepting for World Building

Illustrators create vivid worlds through depictions of immersive environments. Within the context of specific narratives, students deploy illustrative tools, such as color, composition and lighting, to develop landscapes, architecture and interior scenes and capture mood and tone to support a theme.


Course Introduction

This course is designed to help artists develop a better understanding of World Building with applications in narrative, visual development, gaming design, concept art and entertainment. Through various themed concepts, students will create worlds which include atmospheres, environments, architecture and assets. Lighting and perspective will be important as compositions will explore a wide variety of structure and atmospheric perspective. Both traditional and digital mediums will be utilized and all assignments will result in portfolio-quality digital final art.


The Importance of Sketchbook

The Artist's Sketchbook is an integral part of developing unique creative ideas and a means to continue to grow artistic talents and skills, while exploring visual storytelling. During this course, weekly Sketchbook Assignments are part of the Out-of-Class projects. Sketchbook assignments are open to interpretation and I encourage you to be creative - any medium - any style - be creative!

I suggest a 9" x 12" spiral sketchbook with 100 pages. You will be using a variety of mediums and techniques and the standard sketchbook paper will work fine.

Asset Development

The worlds in this course depend on the concept and development of assets in the creation of the assignments. Each world will have a unique theme and the inclusion and accuracy of the assets or structures/buildings/bridges etc....are essential to the believeability of the megacosms you will create. Sketchbook and In-Class Assignments will focus on these elements during the course.

In Class Minis and Swatches

These exercises give the students an opportunity to sharpen skills in color, rendering and composition while receiving immediate feedback and assessment. Subjects can include: Weather, buildings, landscapes, perspective, scale, composition, color, creativity and concepting.


Assignment One

Jungle World

A world of land overgrown with dense forest and tangled vegetation, in a tropical environment. Light is limited due to lack of sunlight. Light is provided by artificial means. Heat and humidity are the norms. Water is prevalent and structures and inhabitants are evident. Some animals/creatures are used as transportation. Theme is tribal.

Assignment Two

Science Fiction Industrialization

This world is a futuristic, industrialized, mega city, set in the early 20th century somewhere. The illustration should include evidence of operational facilities, inhabitants, structures, machinery, environment, transportation and atmospheric conditions.

Assignment Three

Celestial Bodies

This world positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space as observed in astronomy, has an ethereal, dream-like feel. All inhabitants, structures, surroundings, live in a heavenly realm. Consider what/who the inhabitants are. Color, light, materials all ‘reflect’ the theme.

Assignment Four

The Arctic Megacosm

In a world of ice and snow and frozen, frost covered, siberian-like land masses and formations and structures exist - a place of real and imaginary - life is limited and protected, as are inhabitants and transportation - light is surreal - past, present or future tense are all historical setting possibilities.

Due Dates

Apr 2 - In Class Mini - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

Apr 9 - Assignment One - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before start of class2

Apr 16 - In Class Mini - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

Apr 25 - In Class Mini - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

Apr 30 - Assignment Two - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before start of class.

May 7 - In Class Swatches - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

May 9 - In Class Mini - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

May 14 - Assignment Three - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before start of class.

May 16 - In Class Swatches- DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

May 23 - In Class Mini - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before end of class.

May 28 - Final Sketchbooks DUE - Returned .during last class

May 30 - Assignment Four - DUE - Must be placed in Dropbox before start of class.


Required Textbooks

Gurney, J. (2009). Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. Kansas City, Mo. Andrews McMeel. ISBN:

Gurney, J. (2010). Color and Light Kansas City, Mo. Andrews McMeel. ISBN: 13-978-0740797712

Mateu-Mestre, Marcos. (2010), Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Artists. Design Studio Press. ISBN:



Archiving Your Work

Preparing each Final Illustration File.

1. All Final Artwork must be archived, both for Department and the college for promotional reasons; the Illustration Department will select student works for large full color prints to be displayed in the hallways of Hayman's Hall, for entries to be entered into various important competitions, the department's Illustrious Magazine, etc.

2. Each file must use the Department file naming convention and other pertinent/required information placed in the Metadata area.

3. Scan all work or be sure all finals are 300dpi and saved as JPG.

4. Be sure to flatten each image, please add a white 1/4" - 1/2" border to each final, clear guides and resize so that no side is longer than 18". Be sure that the image size is no smaller than 8" x 10".

5. Naming Convention: 'Save As' using the Department's Naming Convention; use TA2, TA3 and so forth or use ProjectA, ProjectB; no need to enter title of work here. Title of Work must be entered in the Metadata area and 'untitled' or TA2 or ProjectA is not acceptable.

Example: Doe-J-07Win-ILLU200-Foerster-A1.jpg

6. Metadata; Metadata is information that is embedded in your image file. This data will be used by the faculty when completing competition entry forms and for giving you credit for your work when published, so it is imperative that you include all requested information.

Start by opening your file in Photoshop, go to File>File there and a new window will open. This is the window to enter the information for the Illustration Department and for the college.

7. Setting the correct color profile: To set the correct color profile, when your illustration is opened in Photoshop, go to Edit, near bottom of the Window, look for 'Convert to Profile' click on that link. A new window will open and look for 'Profile' and using the drop down menu select Adobe RGB (1998), click OK. Then save or save as to complete the task.