What has not changed over the years is that personal struggle each illustrator endures in trying to express content in his or her work. Developing a personal style is based on two demanding processes: being able to take creative risks and learning a fundamental ability - drawing.

Illustration has been around for a long time and since the appearance of digital programs, this art form (if we can call it that) has diversified itself and helped open the door for new creative jobs in many different areas (Internet, television, publishing, medicine, sciences, newspapers, theatre, magazines, cinema, corporations, advertising, etc).

The fast-paced evolution of new technologies has provided us with extraordinary tools for exploring visual creations unimaginable two decades ago. This extraordinary and magical technology at our disposal is indispensable now and for future illustrators. But in spite of all this, we must not forget what is required for a solid artistic base - drawing.

The art of illustration requires, from the first sketch on paper - to the digital elaboration and printing, a solid drawing education and a concrete reflexive depth receptive to symbols and cultural archetypes that surround us. The three objectives of any graphic artist today are: to be able to tap into that broad contemporary iconographic repertory and develop a personal style of expression, become a talented draughtsman, and finally to train a special intelligence for transforming original ideas and symbols into visual metaphors.


  • The course helps prepare students to learn to confront the creative challenges of elaborating illustrations with content and form.
  • The course covers two parallel processes: firstly, developing the dexterity of drawing in each of the course projects, from the beginnings in brainstorming sessions, with thumbnails, to later finished hand made illustrations; and secondly, developing each student’s work with content and meaning; its elaboration with visual metaphors and creative invention.
  • The course stresses the importance of content and meaning in image making. That is why it contains classes that analyze myths, archetypes, and symbols. These empower us with an ability to communicate with images and are found everywhere in a broad cultural realm of our society.
  • The course invites students to experiment with different traditional artistic materials and handmade techniques, and also create work with an emphasis on personal style.


The course begins with a brief history of illustration. And also with an analysis of the theoreti­cal and symbolic sources that provide us with conceptual tools for interpreting ideas with images. These help find solutions for better developing imaginative projects. After that, students attend workshops that introduce basic important illustration materials and techniques: pencil, watercolor, and collage. These techniques are worked in project-workshops with an emphasis on the many possible professional applications in areas such as fashion, publishing, children’s stories’ books, etc.

These workshop sessions rely on two important dynamic illustration work aspects:

  • Drawing on physical supports such as paper, and discovering the major creative differences this marks with digital creations processes and their own limitations.
  • And of course projects! (different projects with daily exercises, weekend work and a final project).

Student profile

This course is for students interested in design areas such as illustration, graph­ic and visual arts and other image related activities, and that have some background and experience in drawing and painting. It is also for those that are interested in learning how to create, and elaborate, handmade art-material illustrations with a special emphasis on drawing, as well as the use of inventive resources. It is for helping to explore processes that generate illustrations as visual metaphors.


Javier Aguilar

Is an illustrator, printmaker, painter, and teacher born in Santiago de Chile. He studied fine arts and CA in the United States and received a Visual Communication’s degree from Delgado College in New Orleans. After settling in Barcelona in 1983 he has continued developing his work and exhibiting in different countries, illustrating freelance for newspapers like El Pais and La Vanguardia in Spain, and other newspapers, magazines and book publishers in Europe and the United States. He has experience and participated in design projects in Spain, Denmark, Germany, and the United States, as well as art therapy workshops and classes in Barcelona. He has written on art for different publishers and has work in different private collections, as well as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Some of his works were selected by the WID Word And Image Department for the museum’s permanent collection. He created the course Creative Illustration: Idea, Concept & Image, which has been running since 2010 at the IED in Barcelona and has had students attending from over 25 countries from all over the world.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated June 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
July 2020
4 weeks
3,100 EUR
Enrolment fee 1.000€ + tuition fee 2.100€
July 1, 2020
By locations
By date
Start Date
July 2020
End Date
July 2020
Application deadline
July 1, 2020

July 2020

Application deadline
July 1, 2020
End Date
July 2020