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.

  • Course 1

    Process: Skill & Craft

    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.

  • Course 2

    Ideation & Visual Storytelling

    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.

  • Course 3

    Portfolio Development

    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.

  • Course 4

    Career Development

    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.

Program 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.

Portrait of artist and illustrator, Katherine Lam


Process: Skill & Craft

Photo portrait of artist and illustrator Audrey Benjaminsen


Ideation & Visual Storytelling


Ideation & Visual Storytelling

Portrait of illustrator and painter, Dale Stephanos


Portfolio Development

Illustrator and painter John English


Co-founder & Portfolio Development

Portrait of illustrator and fine artist, Sterling Hundley


Career Development

Guest Speakers

Each semester, the Illustration Program features a minimum of 3 guest speakers. We invite industry leading artists for these events and students are invited to ask questions and observe the guest artist as they share their craft and career wisdom in real time. You also gain access to guest speakers featured in the concept art program as on-demand content.

Illustration Program: Live Events

Painting of a mermaid by fantasy artist, painter, and illustration, Ashly Lovett.

Ashly Lovett

Illustrator & Painter

Tim O'Brien illustration of Beyonce for Lemonade album

Tim O’Brien


Ed Binkley

Illustrator & Fantasy Artist

Concept Art Program: On-demand Events

Character design concept art for The Last of Us by Alexandria Neonakis

Alexandria Neonakis

Concept Artist & Illustrator

Digital concept art painting for Last of Us video game by Ashley Swidowski

Ashley Swidowski

Concept Artist & Illustrator

Omar Hesham

Character Artist (Model, Texture, Lookdev, Groom)

Mentorship Courses Start Date

Jan. 22, 2022

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.

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