Computer Graphic Artist

Program Outline

You have an eye for design and a knack for working with technology. It's time to tap into that potential and take the first step toward the career you've always wanted as a digital artist. With Penn Foster Career School's Computer Graphic Artist career diploma program, you'll use Adobe® Illustrator® and other software commonly used in the field of computer graphic design. Your comprehensive lessons include color theory, computer graphics, elements of design, graphic design and production, and the home-based business. With Penn Foster Career School, you train at home and at a pace that's right for you, and you can complete your program in as little as four months.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS®® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
To prepare students for an entry-level career as a computer graphic artist.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Understand the benefits of using computer programs and hardware to create computer graphics that are artistically interesting and appealing to clients and consumers, as well as review different career options available to digital artists.
  • Explore basic color theory concepts and software techniques, the relationship between light and color, the organization of colors using color wheels and color spheres effectively, and the differences between additive and subtractive color and how it affects art on a computer.
  • Understand computer graphics and the difference between raster graphics and vector graphics along with the components and steps involved in publication design.
  • Identify how a computer works with existing graphics, original graphics, photographs, and the different types of graphics software available.
  • Understand the history of and the current uses for the Internet and the World Wide Web, how to navigate through the Internet using web URLs, and links and use email and upload and download files.
  • Recognize and name Internet service providers (ISPs) and search engines, while understanding how to use search engines and their features, including parts of a URL.
  • Identify the various components of a document, how the spacing between letters, lines, and words can be used, and what must be considered before a document can go into a page layout program.
  • Understand the term illustration and its applications in the world of graphic design, including the role of graphic images in publications; identify the different types of illustrations commonly used in graphic design and computer graphic formats used by most page layout software; and review today’s most popular graphics software packages.
  • Exhibit the basic design principles for communicating visually and incorporating Gestalt theory into your work by demonstrating how to use color, type, and an understanding of four basic principles of design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.
  • Display the skills involved with setting up your own workspace including working with multiple art boards and preparing artwork for output by creating documents that fold and using templates, and explore drawing of basic shapes, drawing and painting complex artwork; working with gradient meshes, custom swatches, brushes, symbols, special effects, and type; combining text with graphics; creating charts, graphs, using image trace and live color and drawings in perspective, and constructing website interfaces.
  • Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, as well as how to review strategies for organizing and managing your home office, develop a proper work-life balance, and list the equipment you’ll need, as well as understand procedures for successfully marketing your home business.
  • Understand the role of client’s expectations, the various functions of a portfolio, including common methods of presenting artwork, key elements of a professional résumé and different ways to promote your artwork.



Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Identify all components and materials in your program
  • Identify ways to use Penn Foster’s helpful services and academic resources
  • Identify Penn Foster’s academic and behavioral policies
  • Choose effective study and time management skills

Introduction to Digital Art
Today’s technology enables just about any properly trained individual to create highly sophisticated images using a computer.


  • Describe some of the most common uses of computers in creating artistic works
  • Discuss the different career options available to digital artists
  • Explain the term digital image and describe common digitizing tools
  • Identify other devices used to generate digital art
  • Identify system tools that support the creation of digital art

Color Theory
Color sends a powerful message, and the correct use of color can add to the effectiveness of any project.


  • Describe the relationship between light and color.
  • Understand the basics of color theory.
  • Organize colors using color wheels and color spheres.
  • Use color in both two-and three-dimensional projects.

Computer Graphics
Graphics are a vital part of Web design.


  • Learn computer graphics formats.
  • Apply appropriate graphics (illustrations, photographs, animation, video capture).
  • Understand the electronic publishing process, and multimedia production.

Elements of Design
Even before you turn your computer on to begin your design, you'll need to plan and take preliminary steps.


  • Plan your designs taking into consideration the subject, audience, illustrations, charts, graphs, type, page elements, spacing, style, and publishing the page.

Graphic artists use various kinds of illustrations.


  • Select, size, and place art in documents.
  • Arrange and manipulate illustrations to create different visual effects.

Introduction to Graphic Design
In this course, you'll explore endless possibilities to create a great design.


  • Identify the four basic principles of design and the ways they're used in a variety of projects.
  • Recognize color relationships.
  • Explain the essential aspects of typography, including contrasts and categories.
  • Demonsstrate skill at incorporating proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, color, and type into a design.

Graphic Design and Production
This course places emphasis on the conceptualization of computer illustration techniques using Adobe Illustrator® and its implementation in page layout.


  • Identify the tools and components of the Illustrator workspace
  • Describe how to use artboards, as well as how to create basic and complex shapes using the Pen tool
  • Create, edit, and apply color, text, gradients, blends, patterns, and brushes
  • Explain how to use the Appearance, Graphic Styles, and Symbols panels
  • Work with imported images and masks
  • Export assets

Graded Project
At this point in your program, you'll be required to complete a graded project.

Additional Unit Material
Software and Textbook: Adobe® Design Standard

The Home-Based Business
Discover what it takes to run your business from home.


  • Organize your home office.
  • Balance home and work schedules.
  • Market your products and services.

Selling Yourself as a Computer Graphic Artist
You've worked hard and now have the skills you need to work as a computer graphic artist. Learn how to market and promote yourself.


  • Build a portfolio.
  • Write a resume.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

Adobe and Illustrator are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.