Professor Blends New Technology with Traditional Illustration in VCD Courses

In today’s world of design and emerging technologies, digital production is a tool that’s widely used and here to stay. Assistant Professor Chad Lewis in the School of Visual Communication Design is incorporating these new technologies into the classroom to further develop students’ creative problem-solving abilities.  

Lewis earned his M.F.A. from VCD and joined the faculty in Fall 2020. In Fall 2021, he taught three courses, all of which incorporated new design technologies. 

One of the courses, Graphic Narratives, focused on all aspects of the comic making process. Lewis’ students worked with iPad Pros, Apple Pencils, and programs such as Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Using these technologies in combination with traditional Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are enhancing the students' learning experience.  

“Digital production is used widely in professional comic making. This method of creating and editing without a reliance on paper vastly improves turnaround time and reduces the anxiety of edits on a tight schedule,” said Lewis.  

In terms of digital art production versus its traditional counterpart, Lewis said digital art tends to erase a lot of the “happy accidents” that happen in the creation process. Sometimes these happy accidents are what make great art, but it’s simple to undo or redo these accidents while creating digital art. Lewis discovered that students tend to find a happy medium between using portions of traditional art they create and digital art as they build one successful piece of work.  

Digital art also provides unique opportunities for learning that otherwise wouldn’t exist. A big standout for Lewis in another course, Editorial Illustration, is how students are using Procreate’s animation function to create GIFs (animated illustrations) . The ability for students to make a moving illustration is an exciting learning opportunity, and Lewis is elated with his students' results.  

Lewis’s favorite part about teaching with this new technology is the malleability it provides for students to discover even more visual solutions to the task at hand.  

“In my view, the goal of Visual Communication Design is to develop students who are creative problem solvers. When used effectively, this new technology allows even more malleability to find unique innovative visual solutions by bolstering the experimentation phase of creation,” said Lewis.  

Here is a selection of students' final projects from Professor Lewis's courses:

POSTED: Wednesday, January 12, 2022 04:55 PM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 04:49 PM
Marisa Santillo, '23