Tolpa Studios

Online course

S.P.A.R.K.| 5 strategies for the visual communication of science

S.P.A.R.K. is a self-paced online course that teaches 5 strategies for the visual communication of science.

S.P.A.R.K. was created by Picture as Portal, LLC®, a venture between 2 professional medical illustrators. It's is based on core concepts of visual communication, cognitive science, and best practices we’ve developed in our years as professionals. Our goal is to empower anyone, through a simple course of training, to create clear pictures about science, technology, and other subjects, no matter how complex.

S.P.A.R.K. is ideal for a participant who has a presentation, a paper, or a project where a picture is needed. Participants who follow along with this step-by-step approach, will have a picture by the time they reach the end!

S.P.A.R.K. includes 24 videos, averaging 8 minutes in length, which cover topics including:

  • A method to jumpstart visual thinking and transition from words to pictures
  • How to speak eloquently with the elements of visual language
  • Best practices for communicating to people unfamiliar with a subject

S.P.A.R.K. evolved from lectures, workshops, and courses taught in-person through Stanford Continuing Studies; the University of California, San Francisco; the Stanford SIMILE program; the Stanford Hume Center for Writing and Speaking; and the Anatomy Division and Lane Medical Library at the Stanford School of Medicine. The quotes above are from these students. Won't you join them?

Amazing course! I’ve never seen anything quite like this and was thrilled to get such great instruction on a challenging and rarely taught topic."

“The course far exceeded my expectations because it taught me a new way to see.”

“This was an extremely practical, hands on class. The techniques I learned will definitely help me on the job."

Go to for more information and to read additional student testimonials!