This website is about Bill's courses at Central Saint Martins. It's his own site not the school's.
For the Central Saint Martins website:

For official answers to questions form the Short Course office use their website.

The answers below are my personal opinions and experiences.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Most students with no Photoshop knowledge do a fine job with the course; some do outstanding work, including several who now help with teaching the class. Those new to Photoshop are usually doing quite well by the second or third session.

There have been a small number of students (less than 1%) who came to class with very little computer experience, great difficulty picking up computer skills, difficulty following printed notes and/or difficulty remembering steps. Itís been hard for them, and two (out of hundreds of students) dropped out before the end. If youíre at this level with computers, you might want to take some other computer training before taking this class.

People in your situation have blossomed in this class, reasons being: weíre not concerned with accurate portrayals of subjects, weíre quite happy with naÔve illustration Ė itís full of charm Ė and we even encourage exploring tracing, which many professionals employ in their work.

It would be far better for you to take one of the other CSM illustration courses. They generally donít utilize computers.

You can download Photoshop for a free 30-day trial. The Saturday classes take 29 days from beginning to end. The weekday classes take just 5 days. Also, of course, we have access to computers at school (during class hours) and they have Photoshop.

As mentioned above the latest version can be downloaded and used for 30 days. Go to the Adobe website and download it.

Yes. It's called Photoshop Elements, and it will do everything we do in class as well as Photoshop does. However, please use Photoshop for the class, so weíre all using the same program. There are some small differences between the two programs. By the end of the class youíll find it easy to switch to Photoshop Elements. And you can get another free 30 days by downloading Photoshop Elements Ė 60 days free, total!

No. The computer lab has both PCs and Macs, and Photoshop works virtually the same in both.

Thatís not particularly an objective of this course, nor do we spend time learning drawing techniques. That said, students sometimes decide to explore new approaches to drawing that are opened up by the nature of the course, and many feel theyíve made real progress. There are other CSM short courses focused on drawing. I teach two myself!

Thatís not the emphasis of this course. In fact itís pretty much the reverse Ė that it only takes basic Photoshop methods to combine and manipulate handmade work into stunning illustrations that maintain a handmade, human quality. More advanced Photoshop skills often result in more computerized, less handmade looking results. That said, itís possible thereíll be Photoshop steps shown that you arenít familiar with Ė this happens even with Photoshop Ďpros.í There are other CSM short courses that focus specifically on Photoshop skills, including advanced skills.

I would rate the quality of work coming out of this class as generally outstanding. Illustrations you do in this class would certainly be appropriate to include in a university level application portfolio. As with all visual arts and design efforts, results will very according to individual abilities.

Judging from the results I see in class, it certainly would. Youíll need more work than youíll do in this class for a professional portfolio, but your classwork could certainly be part of one.

No, if you're not interested in what it takes to be a professional illustrator you can skip those parts of the class and just proceed with your handmade or computer work. Some students continue with their work and Ďlisten out of one earí to discussions regarding professional practice. You will get the written handouts in any case, which you could read another time if you want.

The graphic designers who take this course generally want to add handmade skills what they do. They often say they've been looking at a computer screen too much or too long. Often they revel at connecting or re-connecting with hands-on art making. But it's not just a case of getting a paintbrush in your hands or learning to use a light box, though these kinds of skills might have value to you. Feedback from designers indicates that the digital manipulation of handmade work can be incorporated in their graphic design or expand the scope of services they offer. There are certainly examples of designers who have migrated to professional illustration after taking this course.

Think of it as adding a new set of tools to your tool kit. There are things you'll learn that may present possibilities that werenít open to you using only traditional hand methods and materials. You may be startled at what you'll be able to create by feeding your handmade work into a scanner and then combining elements and manipulating them digitally. And the fact that your output will be digital need not be a drawback. Fine art prints are often digitally based these days.

People from all those fields and more have found that they can apply methods learned from Enhanced Illustration to their work or a field they are trying to enter. I regularly get email from former students explaing how they've been able to adapt what they learned in the course to what thye're doing, with happy results.

Well, if you already have the skills described on this site and shown in the student illustrations, then perhaps you won't benefit from the class as much as someone who hasn't. But illustrators do take this class, and the feedback I've had from them has been very positive.

You should, I think. Others have. A student in the Central Saint Martins Masters degree course was very happy she took it. We also have BA illustration students sometimes.

No. And it's not just time constraints. Adobe Illustrator produces hard-edged images that donít look handmade. In this class weíre seeking results that maintain that warm, human, traditional-art-materials quality.

Yes and no. There is no work thatís required to be done outside class. But most students find it useful to continue their work between classes. This may be easier if youíre enrolled in the Saturday classes than if youíre in a one-week-long Monday-through-Friday class. Doing work between classes is a personal decision, but Iíd say most students do work outside formal hours of the class. They want to!

Not real deadlines butÖ We do print our work toward the end of the third and the fifth classes. At that time whatever youíve finished on any of your projects should be printed. This creates something akin to a deadline to work toward. However, there is no requirement that X, Y or Z be done at a certain point.

After we print our work on the third and fifth days of class we will have a look at it as a group and discuss it. This is a great chance to see what impact your work is having on people viewing it.

Yes. Some will come as things naturally unfold, but also, donít forget to ask for it! The supporting tutors are with the class from noon to 4pm and spend almost all of their time providing individual help. In my case itís about half my class-time. If Iím not in the middle of talking to a group or setting something up, Iím eager to spend one-on-one time with students.

Students are from all over the world and have different backgrounds, usually a fascinating, friendly and talented bunch.

Of course it's better not to miss classes, but Iíve developed course materials that can be viewed on line or emailed to you for the most crucial learning areas. An average-to-good-student would be able to keep up. If your ability to 'catch on' to and retain steps on computer work is slower than average and you think you'll need a good deal of one-on-one help, I'd suggest you take the the course when you aren't going to miss any classes.

This is a question for the Short Course office, or refer to the agreement youíre making with the school when you sign up. Out of the hundreds of short course students Iíve taught, I know of two who asked for refunds. Neither succeeded.

There have been, but few. Generally they fall into two categories. 1) Itís rare these days, but some students are almost computer illiterate when they arrive in the class. Or they find it very, very hard to pick up anything on a computer and/or retain it. This could pose a problem for you if you fall into this catagory. 2) Sometimes students arrive in the class thinking itís going to cover advanced digital methods that are beyond the scope of the course. One reason Iíve made this website is to clarify that the course is in the middle ground, i.e., it's not designed for someone who has trouble learning computer methods nor for those who are seeking advanced computer training. Rather, itís for the general level student and utilzes creative yet user-friendly, mid-level digital skills.

Not at present, although itís something that thought is being given to.

Absolutely! In fact two of the projects are very open to interpretation and the largest project specifically has an option that you work with subject matter of your choice.

It's rare for me not to permit things (an exception would be something beyond the scope of the course). However, I've had two students try to redevelop previously completed handmade work, and the results were very poor, in fact awful. My advice is to start something new in this class or, if you're committed to working on something you already created, start a new version of it. I can just about guarantee itíll be faster, more fun and turn out far better in the end!

I've kept all feedback forms since I began asking for them in autumn 2013. I was initially surprised by how positve and enthusiastic they were. The remarks in Students Comments are taken from these forms and from emails sent to me by former students, which Iíve also saved. They're representative of the feedback generally, though naturally I've used remarks with more punch. So the answer to the question is that they could be verified if someone wants to go to the trouble of reading through piles of student comments!

Never! :). This is because I'm always thrilled and surprised by the work produced. It's very fulfiling teaching something that actually leads to such a sea-change in most students' abilities. The feedback is the best of any course Iíve taught.

Enhanced Illustration - 1,2,3s Drawing - Capturing Cafe Society - Depicting the Dance - Central Saint Martins - University of the Arts London - Bill Wright - Short Courses Illustration - Professional Illustrators - Hand Drawing and Photoshop Illustration Practises - Digital Illustration Methods