Illustration Program

Develop the practical skills and build a head-turning portfolio from start-to-finish in as little as 12 months.

About the Program

These 4 progressively challenging courses place you on a custom-tailored track towards professional development. Starting with the first course, you will progress through the curriculum until all four courses are completed. You can sign up for each course individually as you make your way through the classes. Each course pairs you with groundbreaking professional artists to build your skills over 10 weeks.

Enrollment Closes

April 21

  • 1. Build your skills


    Process: Skill & Craft

    Taught by Katherine Lam

    Alongside your mentor, you’ll explore the complexities of working with different media, applying color, drawing with shape, and controlling light. You’ll be joined by guest speakers with decades of combined experience drawing for the biggest names in the industry.

  • 2. Bring story to your art


    Photo portrait of artist and illustrator Audrey Benjaminsen
    Ideation & Visual Storytelling

    Taught by Audrey Benjaminsen

    This course explores the art of developing a compelling and engaging story, a critical component of visual narrative. This skill can be applied to all corners of the creative industry. Each class includes lectures, demonstrations, critiques, or projects.

  • 3. Design a killer portfolio


    Portrait of illustrator and painter, Dale Stephanos   Illustrator and painter John English

    Portfolio Development

    Taught by Dale Stephanos & John English

    Portfolio Development will give you the guidance and feedback to complete three to five head-turning illustrations. Led by industry award-winners who have worked for and with every big name under the sun—Newsweek, Time, Esquire—you’ll get close mentorship geared to help you succeed.

  • 4. Pursue a career


    Portrait of illustrator and fine artist, Sterling Hundley
    Career Development

    Taught by Sterling Hundley

    During this course, students continue to hone skills, enhance their portfolio, and outline career strategies. Every step of this process is guided by an illustration mentor, a highly vetted professional in the illustration industry.

    This course focuses on developing design problem solving skills as well as their application while working with a client brief.

Illustration Mentors

The mentoring artists at the helm of the Illustration Program are some of the top-performing artists in the industry. As you progress through the program, these artists act as your professional compass, helping you develop creative abilities, techniques, and entrepreneurial skills. Each course features different mentors.

Katherine Lam

Process: Skill & Craft

Photo portrait of artist and illustrator Audrey Benjaminsen

Audrey Benjaminsen

Ideation & Visual Storytelling

Portrait of illustrator and painter, Dale Stephanos

Dale Stephanos

Portfolio Development

Illustrator and painter John English

John English

Portfolio Development

Portrait of illustrator and fine artist, Sterling Hundley

Sterling Hundley

Career Development

Award-winning Guest Speakers

Every semester, Visual Arts Passage invites 6 guest speakers to connect and share wisdom with all students. These industry leaders answer student questions, complete in-depth demonstrations, review work, and more.


How to Kickstart Your Illustration Career

How do you get your first job? What are the most common mistakes artists make? What art should be in my portfolio? This Q&A-style lecture with John English and Audrey Benjaminsen covers everything there is to know about developing your portfolio, building your skills, and professional strategies to pursue a career in illustration.

Book a Free Consultation

Need help determining if this is the right path for your professional and artistic development? Book a free Zoom call with our Program Director to discuss your goals and the resources offered at Visual Arts Passage.

Enrollment Closes

April 21

Hear it from our students

Alana Tedmon attended and completed the Mentorship Programs at VAP, studying with artists such as Audrey Benjaminsen, Edward Kinsella, and Sterling Hundley.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Students only commit to one mentorship course per semester. Once you complete a course, you can register for the next course, to continue your progress in the mentorship program.

The Mentorship Program can be complete within a 12 month period. It is not unusual for students to repeat the final course in the program, Career Development, if they choose to have continued coaching from Visual Arts Passage mentors.

The Mentorship program is a "get out of it, what you put in" experience. That being said, our courses are structured to accommodate individuals with a busy schedule. We recommend setting aside a minimum of 3 hours for your live course and 2 hours to complete assignments and course work. We highly encourage students to commit more time if their schedule allows.

Mentorship courses enroll 4 times per year, during the winter, spring, summer, and fall semester. You can view the program calendar here.

We recommend that most students start with the first course in the Illustration Program, Process: Skill & Craft. Highly experienced students may qualify to attend the second course in the program, Ideation & Visual Storytelling. If you are not sure, feel free to send your work to and a team member will get back to you with a recommendation shortly.

Each course in the Illustration Mentorship Program is $1199.

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