Key information

Next planned workshop: TBD
Registration deadline: TBD
Location: Online
Workshop leader: Pina Kingman

Evaluation: Credit/No Credit*. Submit 2 assignments and review 3 assignments
Credits: 2 ECTS
*Important! It is also possible to take this workshop without receiving credits if you would prefer to follow only the parts of the workshop that interest you.


Students should apply to BioCat using the registration form at the bottom of this page.


Do you want to use illustration as an effective communication tool? Learn the essentials of graphic design and visual communication theory, drawing by hand and drawing digitally during this one week course.

This course will introduce the theory and method of how to visually represent your scientific research. Being able to translate complex research into information that can be understood by a wide range of audiences is an important skill that will help you throughout your career.

Communicating your work using different methods helps you to think about your work from different perspectives. Not only will this help you understand your own research better, but it will also give you the tools to be able to explain your work to others.

The skills you will learn in this course are highly transferable to any design project you may do in the future.

Through lectures and workshops, we will cover the following:

  • Principles of design and visual communication
  • How to apply these principles to illustration and graphic design, which in turn will inform all visual material you might want to create, including; graphical abstracts, presentation slides, poster presentations, journal articles, graphs, data visualisation, project logos, and outreach material.
  • Best practices for poster and slide presentation design
  • Step by step method on how to draw your own research
  • Introduction to sketching by hand
  • Crash course in digital illustration with Adobe Illustrator or Gravit

By the end of the course, you will have practiced the theory and methods discussed in class by creating an illustration of your own research. Taking your ideas from conceptualization to final digital artwork.


This is an intensive 5 day workshop running from Monday March 15th to Friday March 19th. Instruction will be given from kl 9 – kl 16.30. It also includes 10 hours of pre-course tutorials for those who choose to take this course for credits.

Pre-course tutorials

10 hours required – links will be provided in the syllabus

Day 1 – Monday March 15

9:00-10:30                  Mandatory Kick-off meeting on Zoom

This is a mandatory video meeting, so come prepared to show your face. We will all introduce ourselves, and I´ll call on each of you to answer this question:

What do you hope to get out of this course?

10:30 – 16:30              Self-directed tutorials and exercises

The rest of the day is fully self-paced, please finish all exercise worksheets today. You do not need to submit anything today.

Questions during the day? Write to me over our Slack channel. I will be available on Slack from 10:30-16:30.

Day 2 – Tuesday March 16

9:00-12:00                   Self-directed lectures and exercise

Assignment #1 deadline at 13:00 today

This morning’s lectures and exercises are timed for you and will take 3 hours, but you will need to complete them and be ready to present them at your group meeting by 13:00 today.

13:00-14:00                Mandatory group video discussion on Zoom

You will do small group discussions of 3-4 people where you will present your work for feedback, and help your fellow students by giving feedback. Be prepared to show your face, reviews go much better when you can see each other’s facial expressions.

What if you did not finish your work in time? You still need to show up for the group discussion. Your feedback and support of other students is valuable, even if your work is not finished.

14:00-16:30                Self-directed lectures and exercise

Assignment #2 deadline at 16:30 today

By end of day, you will need to submit your assignment. I will be reviewing these assignments and giving you feedback by tomorrow mid-day. What if you hand in your assignment late? This is okay, just know that it will take me time to review your assignments, so as a collective, it is better if most of you hand in your work earlier.

Questions during the day? Write to me over our Slack channel. I will be available on Slack from 9:00-16:30.

Day 3 – Wednesday March 17

9:00-11:00                   Self-directed lectures

12:00                          Everyone receives feedback from me

12:00-16:30                Work on your digital illustration in Illustrator/Gravit

14:30-15:30                Office Hours / Digital Coffee Break on Zoom

Questions during the day? I will be available on Slack from 13:00-14:30 / 15:30-16:30.

Day 4 – Thursday March 18

9:00-16:30                  Work in Illustrator/Gravit                               

14:30-15:30                Office Hours / Digital Coffee Break on Zoom

Final Assignment deadline is mid-day tomorrow

Questions during the day? I will be available on Slack from 9:00-14:30 / 15:30-16:30. This is your last chance to ask me questions about your illustrations!

The final assignment that you submit does NOT need to be completely finished. It is perfectly okay to submit a work in progress. At minimum, I would like to see a clean sketch and some parts carefully outlined digitally with black strokes. Quality over quantity is what matters here!

Day 5 – Friday March 19

9:00-12:00                  Take the morning to finish and submit your final assignments

12:00                          Hand in your Final Assignment #3

If you have problems with submission, contact me on Slack.

13:00-14:00                Have lunch… and celebrate a job well done!

14:00-16:00                Review 3 final assignments

I will review your final assignments today. In addition, each of you will also contribute to this review process today as well. Reviewing others’ work is a valuable learning experience, with the added bonus of being able to see your fellow student´s final illustrations. Detailed instructions will be provided during the course.

What if I hand in the assignment late? If you submit your work after Friday, I will not review your work, you will not get a certificate for the course, and you will not receive ECTS credits.


This workshop will allow for approximately 20 participants.

Credits and evaluation

If you complete the course, you will get a diploma confirming your participation, the content of the course and the work effort the course required. You can apply to your home institution to get the course accepted as ECTS towards your degree. This course is a 50 hour time commitment, which is equivalent to 2 ECTS credits.

To receive ECTS credits and a certificate, you must do the following:

  • Attend mandatory Zoom meetings
  • Watch all videos to completion
  • Submit Assignment #2 and Final Assignment #3
  • Review 3 final assignments

Course materials

* Note: Only Adobe Illustrator Desktop app and Gravit Designer will be supported in this course. If any students are already familiar with another digital illustration software, then feel free to use this program. But for the sake of time, I will not be able to provide technical support for other software.

Registration for this workshop is now closed