Chevron Left
Back to Introduction to Imagemaking

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Imagemaking by California Institute of the Arts

2,834 ratings

About the Course

This course for serious makers, and for students new to imagemaking. Imagemaking is a fluid and exciting area of graphic design that comes out of practice and process: experimenting fearlessly, showing and sharing ideas, and giving and receiving knowledgeable and constructive input. For the sake of this online platform, we have applied some structure to our investigations, but for the most part imagemaking is loose and unstructured. If we must adopt a rule in this course it is only this: you will not become a graphic designer by watching videos alone. Or, don't just make stuff just in your head. So here, the focus here is on making, and you are expected to devote serious time and intellectual energy to that activity in this course. Specifically, you will: - experiment with a range of materials and techniques to make images for graphic design - expand your visual vocabulary both in terms of making and talking about work, in order to discuss your work and work of others - learn how to make, manipulate and arrange images to create compositions, eventually culminating in the design and production of an-image-based book. The first half of the course is an opportunity to experiment and explore imagemaking in order to expand your visual vocabulary. You will create pieces that are expressive, meditative, or 'design-y' to instigate, evoke, experiment, record, explain, or try out a media. In the second two weeks, we’ll invite the images to deliberately and intentionally carry meaning and communication through relational moves like juxtaposition, composition, and context. We’ll look at developing and expanding the range of approaches for putting things together by composing page spreads with your images. Since nothing exists without context, we look at how to intentionally drive the image’s connotations, meanings, and associations generated through elements of composition and “visual contrasts.” Ultimately, we will take the images that you create and make a book from them. The results of your assignments (and experiments) may generate something completely unknowable now or in the future—and that's the goal....

Top reviews


Oct 8, 2017

I'm so happy i did this course. Gail, you're amazing and you made my imagination go wild with just your words. I can see you love your craft and that's very inspiring. Enjoyed this course all the way!


May 22, 2023

In fact i am very much glad for this because before taking this course, i know nothing about Indesign but i can now use it and more, Thank you for this financial aid opportunities, Blessings coursera

Filter by:

76 - 100 of 635 Reviews for Introduction to Imagemaking

By Edi O

Sep 21, 2016

The course is delivered in a simple manner, easy to follow and with clear instructions. I'm not sure how much a peer review is a valuable contribution once most of the students don't really know how to criticize properly the peer's assignment, either always giving the full mark or evaluating according to its personal ideas and not necessary what the exercises called for. Anyway, it's still a very valuable alternative to formal education, specially if the student is committed enough.

By Marina O

Dec 17, 2017

Very useful for image-makers, to clarify many aspects of creation and composition, with very useful practice activities, that set the knowledge and make your way of making images be wider. After the course you end with a big set of different images you never thought you would be able to do, plus a little book. I've enjoyed it a lot. You also learn to comment and make a good critique of images, as well as to improve your way of composing without he comments of your peers.

By Roberto V

Jun 24, 2023

The course is excellent, I thank the instructor Gail Swanlund

This course led me to be less critical with my designs and allow it to flow

creativity and above all the experimentation that leads me to discover

unexpected approaches and designs. This has always happened to me, but now I am more aware of this

situation and I think the course helped me understand that there are no good or bad designs

since that is very subjective and personal, they are only designs and that's it

By devyani d

Jul 17, 2021

This course is absolutely brilliant for anyone who is honestly passionate about Imagemaking. It has been structured beautifully by Gail Swanlund, who is evidently very passionate and honest about her craft. The lectures and suggested course material are inspiring, encouraging and unconventionally poetic. I recommend this course to anyone who's serious about making, this is NOT the course for uninspired "naysayers" who have the tendency to look for an easy way out. :-p

By Angela M F

May 17, 2016

Very practical, great exercise, easy to understand and follow through, the student doesn’t need major computer programs or high quality technology in order to complete each assignment. The design of each assignment is made to use your imaginations, hands on tools and materials. Love the videos, clear, to the point beautiful made. Lots of room to work and do something quite good and unique if the student want! I am really having fun!

Thank you!

By Loven P

Jun 28, 2020

It is one of the most insightful courses I have ever taken. It gave me a brand new way on how to see art, convey it in ways I couldn't imagine doing before. The instructions were self-paced, crystal clear, and the instructions are clearly defined to help you (and me) follow through it with the given assessments or assignments each week. Truly, it is a wonderful (maybe even life-changing) experience for me.

By Michele L

Feb 24, 2023

Throughout the course we gradually expanded upon what we would practice and learn previously to end up with an 8 page graphic book that I am so proud of.

There was a lot of work and dedication put into this course by the instructors and I am grateful to them for taking the time and sharing their knowledge.

I have been inspired to continue my practice.

By Coral C

Dec 5, 2020

This was by far the most stimulating interesting and satisfying course I have done on this platform. The teacher’s simple minimal style belied a profundity of thought and quite frankly I would follow her to the ends of the earth to study with her. Alas she has only this course. If you do only one thing this year do this course!

By Vidya S

Sep 20, 2020

This is more challenging that it seems. It forces us to think creatively and critically with a seemingly simple subject. Very useful course. Really puts you to practice. I learned a lot and feel encouraged to continue. Reviewing other peer's work was inspiring and gave me fresh ideas about what I could have done better.

By Grasshopper

Aug 4, 2020

The course materials were very nicely designed and inspiring. It feels like a resource that I would like to return to in months and years to come - for reminders of the concepts and relevant work in the field. I appreciated that the videos showed us objects and processes (rather than simply the professor's talking head).

By adafafsdfcA a e

Oct 7, 2020

I agree that this course doesn't fit to online platforms. But I think that this course is needed to complete a specialization because this course offers various chances to practice imagemaking. I've done pretty lots of things and experiments to finish this course which I wouldn't have done if I hadn't taken this course

By Michele R

Feb 26, 2023

Excellent cours, qui m'a permis de faire des choses dont je ne pensais pas capable. J'ai beaucoup apprécié de continuer avec le même sujet tout au long des quatre semaines.

Great course, which allowed me to do things I didn't think I was capable of. I enjoyed continuing with the same topic throughout the four weeks.

By oksana k

May 1, 2022

The course is very usefull and practical. I learned a lot about composition, various imagemaking techniques and I feel confident now to experiment and try more in my illustrations. I am planning to do all the courses from Graphic Design Specialization. Thank you very much for the course and giving me access to it.

By designeraj

Dec 14, 2021

Absolutely loved this course. It was a great experience. The speakers were good designers who shared their vision from beginning to end. I do it just for a few weeks, and I am happy to receive my certificate. I will recommend who wants to learn Graphic Designer to once get into this course. Thank you, Calarts!


Sep 29, 2020

Amazing course!! The lessons are informative and once again they encourage you to learn by by doing it in form of assignments and of many things that I learnt I also learnt how to tell a story without words and create art that stands out from everything else!! 100% recommend this and the entire specialization!

By Zubair M

Feb 15, 2021

In the start, the course seemed too open ended and wide to provide a sense of direction and understanding of how to approach it. However, this course put me out of my comfort zone and forced experimentation and creation of meaningful compositions using simple ideas.

By Julius M

Nov 1, 2020

One of the most tedious course I encountered in this specialization, but the experience and knowledge that you will get from this course will really change the way that you look at images and their relationships with one another through visual hierarchy.

By Ольга К

Sep 28, 2022

I want to thank you for the course. Liked it very much. Gathered very necessary and useful information for a novice designer. The last task was very exciting. I want to study further. Thanks Сursera for providing free courses and a certificate!

By penelope b

Oct 19, 2022

Excellent course! A great pace and it gives you lots of room for using your creativity and ideas. The only issue is that most of the peer reviews are not constructive and feel rushed with little notes that relate to the questions asked.

By Oxana T

Aug 16, 2023

This is a very cool course! It allows you to know yourself, discover some of your abilities and better understand ideas and concepts. Super! At the end of the course you will be able to do things that seemed impossible, it's amazing.

By Marco P

Apr 20, 2022

“It was a great experience, clear and objective courses, an instructor with a great knowledge of the subject and great didactics. Very good!" I will take, the course was great, very important content and activities.”. Thank You All!

By Aishwarya.R

Apr 7, 2021

I was so excited to do this course and especially the assignments were so interesting and loved it and each process I went through was so nice and I liked it very much. so after this course, I'm going to make more narrative books

By Ahmed M A

Apr 13, 2018

Very interesting course, it helped me to learn thinking visually, there is many concepts we should know it in designs.

Assignments very interesting you can do it with your hands or by computer it help you to get more experience.

By Logan M

Jul 6, 2020

The professors were very professional and the course was very well detailed and executed perfectly.

I am a huge advocate for Coursera and recommend this course and programs to anyone looking to add to their resume and knowledge.

By Trang P

May 17, 2016

I really enjoyed the assignments! Her videos were different from the other two courses in the Specialization, and I enjoyed that! I loved that I could see her process so that I could attempt on my own. Highly recommended class!