An image of a Mexican newspaper featuring a satirical drawing showing a skeleton wearing a fancy European hat.


With the surface design project, you all created images inspired by your mood boards and interests. Here we’ll shift gears to a process that more closely approximates the experience of creating a commissioned illustration to accompany an article. We’ll be working with Ann Helen Petersen’s 2019 article, “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation.” You’ll create a primary “front page” illustration and secondary illustration for elsewhere in the text, your choice where. Your front page illustration will be the “featured image” for the piece. That’s the one that is shown on Twitter, Facebook, and other digital platforms when someone shares the article. It should relate strongly to the article, but it is not necessary to literally illustrate or show specific content. In fact, the images Buzzfeed uses online are a great example of this. They suggest rather than specify.

For this assignment, inspired by Jesse Stommel’s article How to Ungrade and a podcast interview he gave on the subject, we’re going to define the project’s objectives and create our final rubric together. More on that in person.


We’ll talk about these in class together and update this section then.

  • Illustration concept is full fleshed out and rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the text, components are researched when necessary
  • The illustration clearly articulates a distinctive point of view
  • The illustration is well-composed and well-finished 
  • Images are appropriately resized and cropped for the mock-ups
  • We embrace critical feedback and revisions as healthy part of the creative process
  • We push ourselves to break the boundaries of our regular artistic styles (i.e. we try new things) 
  • The work satisfies the specifications given

What You’ll Create

  • A primary and secondary illustration to accompany the text, “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation“, each no smaller than 1600 x 1100 pixels @ 72 ppi
  • A series of mock ups showing how your illustration looks in context (I’ll provide the InDesign files for these): 1) Shared on Twitter, 2) Shared on Facebook, and 3) On Buzzfeed’s front page. There’s a folder linked on slack with 3 InDesign files you can use for this.
  • A final post about the project posted to our class site discussing your process (with supporting images), categorized as “final work


4/18, T – In class: Project introduction, modify objectives as necessary, draft rubric
Homework: Read the Petersen article. Take notes. Sketch for fun. // watch Editorial Illustration: Learn what it takes in just 3 days // Sketch 10-20 thumbnails for your illustrations.
4/20, R – In Class: Check in and review thumbnails.
Homework: Find an example of an editorial illustration you like and post it to slack (#5_editorial) with a couple sentences on why you think it works. // Watch: Editorial Illustration: Draw Idioms the “Designy” Way // Post to slack: 3 (or more) rough sketches with what you’re thinking for your illustration, optional: post questions you’d like us to discuss in our next class

4/25, T – In Class: Review comps, work day
Homework: Read What Do Art Directors Want – A Guide for Editorial Illustrators // Begin final illustration, bring work-in-progress to share in class, download InDesign templates (link in slack) for final post
4/27, R – In Class: Review work in progress, work day
Homework: Finalize illustration and drop into InDesign templates. // Post final images (both isolated illustration and mock-ups) to class site with thoughtful post articulating (and showing with images) your process

5/2, T – In Class: Critique illustrations, discuss final posts
Homework: Begin working on your end-of-semester posts
5/4, R – In Class: Studio Clean Up

5/8, M, 2:15 – 4:15 PM – Meeting In Lieu of Exam: Critique and review of final posts