3. Technical Illustration

Hello students.

I’m sorry we won’t be meeting as a group anymore this semester. I will try to give you directions on our remaining assignments through Canvas, the website and utube. Please, contact me if you have any questions or something is not clear. We will get through this together.

As a result of the COVID-19 revised schedule this semester you will need to pay special attention to these pages and assignment information. 

I will be revising the assignments for the remainder of the semester during the coming week. Watch closely for those changes and updates. 

I will be adding Utube video tutorials on a few additional tools for Illustrator. Watch closely for those changes and updates as well. 

Our current assignment will need to be changed. We will not be printing this semester. Instead please upload PDF files of our remaining assignments to Canvas. We will be able to print those files next fall semester.

To upload your files to Canvas:

  1. Open Assignments. In Course Navigation, click the Assignments link.

  2. Select Assignment. Click the title of the assignment.

  3. Submit Assignment. Click the Submit Assignment button.

  4. Add File. …

  5. Add Another File. …

  6. Submit Assignment. …

  7. View Submission.

Please upload drafts of the Technical Drawing assignment by March 25th. The final version is due the following week on Wednesday April 1st. Please upload to the Canvas site.

We will then begin working with inDesign for the last month of the semester.


Additional Resource Links:




Create a realistic illustration of an actual object/product that shows its component parts by utilizing either an exploded view or cutaway view technique. As an alternative option for this assignment you may choose to do an anatomical drawing showing circulatory, nervous, musculature or skeletal systems detail.


The purpose of this type of drawing is to show how something works, how it is put together or how to assemble it in its entirety.


First you must find an object that you can disassemble. You must be able to take the object apart to see the various parts and how they go together inside the “case” of the overall product. A mechanical object is much better than an electronic object for this purpose because the parts will typically be larger and easier for you to see, as well as easier for you to understand how they all go together.

You will typically not be able to work from a photographic template layer on this assignment. However, I strongly suggest that you roughly sketch with paper and pencil the exploded view or cutaway view of your object first and use that as a template to work from. This sketch can help you plan and visualize how the individual parts work together.

Three key aspects of this type of drawing are;

  1. consistency,
  2. accuracy and
  3. three-dimensionality.
  • Accurate rendering of details requires close observation and patience.
  • Control of light and shadow is achieved by manipulation of gradient fills, use
    of the blend tool, or gradient mesh to give realistic dimension and volume to component objects.
  • It may be in either B & W or color, your choice.
  • Your final illustration size depends on which layout option you choose (see below)
  • The final layout must be in the form of an advertisement or for a catalog page.

3D and/or Perspective Drawing:

3D Effects and/or Shading can be best achieved in Illustrator by using one or a combination of the following tools:

  • Illustrator’s 3-D Revolve —For symmetrical objects:
  • Blend Tool—between two shapes, works well for rendering wire
  • Gradient Fill and Gradient Tool—use the gradient tool to customize the size and direction of the gradient fill
    • redial
    • linear
  • Gradient Mesh—use on irregularly shaped objects. The gradient mesh tool is the single most effective tool in achieving this modeling/chiaroscuro effect. 

Effects Tutorials

Final Layout Options (choose one of these):

  • Product Concept Proposal option
    • layout is for the purpose of conveying specifics of an industrial design product
    • this type of drawing serves as a step in product development to communicate understanding between several members of a design and development team
    • it occurs before engineering finalizes the production drawings
    • size is typically 11 x 17
    • callouts also include a brief description of the specs of the product
    • the type/copy is focused on the specs of the parts of the object (dimensions, and kinds of material, how assembled, etc. + the name of the object. There is no persuasive language focusing only on the factual details.
  • Magazine Ad option
    • layout is for the purpose of promoting and selling the product
    • choose a specific magazine that would be appropriate for your object to be advertised in (examples; Better Homes and Garden, Time, Newsweek, Architectural Digest, etc.)
    • size is determined by this choice but it is a full page ad
    • Create a tagline that relates to the kind of drawing that you have done (cutaway or exploded view) and write it in such a way that it emphasizes this as a selling point copy, it is persuasive
    • Photograph Your Ad Layout
      Insert your technical drawing into a magazine (as if it were printed in the magazine itself). Then photograph this and email me the JPEG file. Try to shoot your magazine at an angle so that we can tell from the photograph that it is in a magazine, not just the flat illustration. In your portfolio, you would normally pair this photo (which shows context) with the flat image of just the design itself.


      Emilie Jenkins, 2018


  • Catalog option
    • layout is for the purpose of ordering replacement parts of the product
    • online catalog or print catalog
    • ad additional elements: graphics/typography that make ordering/shopping cart possible
    • size/layout determined by either a specific catalog or website that is already in use (examples; Lowes, Target, Office Depot, etc.)