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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-i I
  • Keywords: 2D


This course is about creating images with story. Taking an idea and turning it into a finished illustration.

For both Illustration and comic book work it’s important to understand how the things we draw can describe and influence the narrative. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is key. If you want to create comic book pages or illustrations with a strong sense of story then this course will help you to develop those skills.

We will cover subjects like composition, storytelling, and various processes for taking your ideas and turning them into finished images. The course will have a major focus on feedback via video each week. As well as demonstrations of illustration taken from start to finish.

You will have a lot of scope to come up with your own narrative, and a big part of the course revolves around developing and sorting through your own ideas to make sure you can create the images you want. Whatever subject you enjoy will become the basis for learning and improving.

What you will learn:

This workshop aims to give you a solid grounding in process and visual narrative, so that you are able to take rough ideas and rough sketches and translate them into finished illustrations or comic panels. The main outcome should be added confidence when it comes to tackling large complex time rich images that would otherwise be overwhelming.

Where to from here:

This workshop follows on from Creating Comics: Drawing & Sketching and will lead into a final componate, Creating Comics: Pages & Visual Storytelling


Week 1 - The Process of Illustration

This week we are going to talk about the basics of visual storytelling and composition, and start to develop some ideas for images by drawing some thumbnails.


  • From an idea to the finished image.
  • Visual storytelling.
  • Thumbnailing.
  • Composition basics.
  • Great illustrators.
  • Thumbnail assignment Demo.


  • Complete an Influence Map
  • Develop a narrative you would like to explore.
  • Draw out 20 thumbnails surrounding your narrative.

Week 2 - The Rough

This week is about refining your idea and putting it into a form that other people can read and understand. We will take a thumbnail from last week and refine it further. Making sure our tonal layout, perspective, and composition are working.


  • Refining your image
  • Micro composition
  • Tonal composition
  • Rough assignment demo


  • Choose a thumbnail from last week and create a ‘rough’ but refined version of this image.

Week 3 - The Drawing

The construction of a highly polished and refined drawing is essential for setting up the rest of the image. This week we are going to take the rough image, and really go in and refine the details. Making sure that it will support whatever process we choose to finish it. (Be that line and colour, or painting, or a mix)


  • Drawing and construction.
  • Keeping the life of the sketch alive.
  • Detailed drawing assignment demo


  • Take your rough image from last week and create a refined drawing from it.

Week 4 - The Lines

With a line and colour style, the quality and feel of the line­work will make a huge impact on the final image. This week we are going to create some finished lines from our drawing last week.


  • Line quality
  • Line­work assignment Demo


  • Take your detailed drawing from last week and create a set of polished final lines from it.

Week 5 - The Colour

This week we get to finish off our image! The final step is to add colour and final touches like atmosphere, fog or magical effects, as well as any background painting. This is where we get to see all the hard work from the last few weeks pay off.


  • Colour Theory.
  • Lighting and Rendering.
  • Adding final touches.
  • Colour assignment demo.


  • Colour your finished lines from last week.

There will be a live webinar Q&A session this week were we can discuss any persistent questions, and talk about your progress through the course so far.

Week 6 - Round Two!

Over the next 4 weeks we are going to repeat the process and create a second illustration. This second image is about refining your process and learning from any mistakes over the last 5 weeks. I will also show you some processes for creating a fully painted image as well as the line and colour style. I will also be demonstrating a more complex image this time around.

For this week we are going to combine the process of creating thumbnails and creating our rough image into one week.


  • Advanced Process.
  • Creating more complex scenes.
  • Thumbnail and rough assignment demo.


  • Come up with a new narrative and develop 20 thumbnails around this idea.
  • Choose a thumbnail and create a rough from it.

Week 7 - Advanced Drawing

This week we are going to delve into some more advanced drawing techniques. In order to draw out more complex scenes we need to focus on perspective and construction as much as possible. As well as pre­planning how the image will be finished off.


  • Tips for drawing out complex scenes.
  • Advanced drawing assignment Demo.


  • Take your Rough from last week and create a solid detailed drawing from it.

Week 8 - Final Lines

This week we are going to create the final lines for our image. If we have painted elements in our image we will need to decide now if they are going to be “inked” or not. As well as finalising if we want certain elements on different layers.

Creating scenes with a lot of depth will also bring into question how things at different distances will be rendered. Along with deciding how to suggest detail where needed.


  • “Inking” scenes.
  • Advanced lines assignment Demo.


  • Take your drawing from last week and create a set of final lines from it.

There will be a live webinar Q&A session this week were we can discuss any persistent questions, and talk about your progress through the course so far.

Week 9 - The Final Colour

In our final week we are going to colour and finish off our image. Applying as much as possible from what we have learnt over the last 8 weeks.


  • Colouring complex scenes.
  • Adding atmosphere and depth.
  • Advanced colouring assignment Demo.


  • Colour and finish off your scene!


What you will need

We are going to be using Photoshop primarily.

It is possible to use a Photoshop alternative but only if you have a good knowledge of it already, as the course material only explains how to complete the tasks in Photoshop.

Any version of Photoshop (past version 7) and any size or style of Wacom should suffice.

Minimum Skill Level

This is an intermediate level workshop. You will need to have a basic understanding of how to use photoshop and draw digitally. The course does not cover basic drawing concepts and techniques in depth, but rather focuses on composition and visual narrative.

Check out “Creating comics: Drawing & sketching” if you want to build your fundamental drawing skills.

The main thing to bring to this course is a desire to create strong images with narrative, either on your own personal projects or in a professional capacity.

It is possible to take this course without taking the previous “Drawing & Sketching” course. However the feedback and demos will be geared towards

process, narrative, and how to create strong illustrations. Rather than things like basic perspective and rendering.



Creating Comics: Drawing & Sketching
with Tim Mcburnie

Before starting to create comic pages or painting amazing illustrations we need to ground ourselves in how to draw.
workshop-level-i I
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Jun. 1) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)