Narrative Illustration & Characters

An 8-week course creating strong images that tell stories using visual design principles

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Compelling visuals for strong stories

Illustrators working in entertainment will spend their careers creating compelling imagery for narrative and marketing purposes. The best illustrators in entertainment inject a sense of gravity, mood, and energy, which draws consumers and players into the world the art portrays. This course focuses on the skills essential for good image-making, and also on those skills which elevate an illustration to the next tier of professionalism. We will discuss what makes a lasting, impactful piece of art, cover some of the techniques and tools you can use to maximize your chances of success, and build the habits necessary to conduct ourselves in a professional environment. COURSE NOTES: 1) This course is designed for intermediate to advance artist, so a portfolio review is required. 2) This course includes a weekly group critique wherein the instructor and the students will look at the students' work together and discuss constructive feedback. 3) Lectures will be in both a pre-recorded and live format.

Course Format:   Live session (4-11 students once a week ) (13-20 students twice a week)
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded component and live component.
Feedback:   During weekly live session
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   During weekly live session
Materials:   Photoshop (or equivalent), OR sketchbook, paper, pencils, pens, brushes
Skills level:   Advanced (portfolio review is required)
Prerequisites:   Perspective, Analytical Figure Drawing, Fundamentals of Design, Digital Painting, Fundamentals of Character Design, The Art of Color and Light, and Fundamentals of Environment Design; OR equivalent experience; *application required

Narrative Illustration & Characters WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Review Loomis principles of composition | Discuss advancements since Loomis, especially cinematic composition | Review production requirements: naming conventions, file size, format, etc. | Simple = striking
Getting into the head space of your composition | Using value, light, and color to tell a story | Getting into the head space of your characters | How to take and use reference | Drawing as a problem-solving stage
What does good preparation look like? | How to prepare a drawing for a painting | The different kinds of lines | Understanding value vs. line | Tools: perspective, informal subdivision, and drawing through
What does "done" look like? | Rendering vs. finishing
Singular, iconic composition for marketing a game character | Work on pushing comps, exaggeration, perspective | How to push the pose | Types of contrast | How to group/clump points of interest
What is the moment? | The importance of place, time, atmosphere, and weather | What makes color and light compelling?
Controlling focal points | Lost and found edges | Details as storytelling elements | Keeping print, digital, etc. in mind
"Post" techniques and adjustment layers | Spit-shine and polish

Real heroes don't wear capes - they teach

Character designer for Activision era of the Guitar Hero franchise. Vis. Dev. for DreamWorks Animation. Author / illustrator of the Sleepwalker book series.


April 25th!

spring TERM Registration

Feb 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2019




April 25th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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Show us your skills

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