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Course Dates: July 13 – Sept. 14 2024

Process: Skill & Craft

Instructed by Adam Gustavson

10 Weeks · 23+ Live Classes · Beginner to Intermediate

A masterclass that establishes fundamental skills for advanced illustration and visual storytelling.

All the tools you need to accelerate your skills as an illustrator, painter, and visual artist.

Course Details
Unlock the power of visual storytelling and launch your career as a successful illustrator. The ‘Process: Skills and Craft’ course, the cornerstone of our Illustration Program, offers a hands-on immersion into the art of picture-making and drawing. Your instructor will equip you with critical skills for visual storytelling such as composition, lighting, mood, conceptual approach, color, texture, and more.

Under the guidance of experienced professionals, you’ll delve into the intricacies of various media, master the application of color, shape, and light, and refine your drawing techniques. This course is more than just learning how the pros work—it’s an opportunity to work alongside them. You’ll be joined by seven visiting artists, each bringing decades of experience from collaborations with the biggest names in the industry. Prepare to transform your skills and harness the true power of visual storytelling.

Student Outcomes
This course will help you develop your personal process as an artist. Upon finishing this course, students will have the ability to evaluate and produce visuals tailored to their specific projects. They will be proficient in developing concepts and seamlessly integrating them into their artwork. By the end of the course, students will have completed several illustrations (including variations) and one major piece, along with detailed documentation of their creative process.

Class Time

Saturdays, 10am – 1pm PT

Length

10 weeks (23 Live Classes)

Delivery

Live & Online (available on-demand)

Medium

Digital or traditional

Space Limited

Mentor

Adam Gustavson

Skill Level

Beginner / Intermediate

Feedback

Live & On-Demand

Live Class Meetup with Instructor

3 Hours on Saturdays

Live, All School Critiques

2 Hours on Wednesdays

Guest Speakers

7

Price

$1199

Semester Dates

July 13 –  Sept. 14, 2024

Key Takeaways From The 10 Week Course

  • Making a picture with an art director

  • Enhance ideation skills

  • Basic ideation skills

  • Effective lighting for creating photo reference

  • How to develop three-value thumbnails

  • The importance of shape and value control

  • How to develop a final drawing and value study

  • Simple color

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Student introductions, class goals, followed by discussion of image-making, composition, and assignments. Students receive first homework project: The Flat Assignment.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Drawing from memory, life, and photography. Review and individual critiques of flat assignment progress.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Guest Speakers:
Saturday & Sunday Zoom Meeting 
Students meet both Saturday and Sunday for two separate Guest Artist events. Guest artists will present work, share process, and technique via demonstration and on occasion will provide group critiques to select students.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Understanding silhouette, value control with thumbnails.
Assignment #2: Criterion Collection Film Poster

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Understanding composition and controlling shape

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Guest Speakers:
Saturday & Sunday Zoom Meeting 
Students meet both Saturday and Sunday for two separate Guest Artist events. Guest artists will present work, share process, and technique via demonstration and on occasion will provide group critiques to select students.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Creating photography reference with great lighting, posing, and costuming.
Assignment #3: Celebrity/Historical Figure Portrait

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Guest Speakers:
Saturday & Sunday Zoom Meeting 
Students meet both Saturday and Sunday for two separate Guest Artist events. Guest artists will present work, share process, and technique via demonstration and on occasion will provide group critiques to select students.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: The power of great reference and using reference in your work.

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Homeroom:
Saturday Zoom Meeting (3 hours)
Topics: Final reviews of work, critique, and demonstration

Study Hall: 
Wednesday Zoom Meeting (1-2 hours)
Topics: Study Hall is an optional weekly resource. Group critique, assistance on homework and general support by VAP mentors from each program.

Discord:
Post progress, ask questions, connect and network with fellow classmates, while gaining insights from VAP mentors throughout the week.

Meet Your Illustration Instructor & Mentor

Adam Gustavson’s career as an artist spans various mediums, including paintings, drawings, and murals. His work has appeared in over thirty highly acclaimed and award-winning books for children, as well as in magazines, educational materials, advertising campaigns, and galleries.

Gustavson has also made significant contributions to art education, serving on the faculties of Seton Hall University and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since 2014, he has co-owned the Renaissance Art Studio in Millburn, NJ, with his wife and manager, Denise. Represented in children’s publishing by Abigail Samoun at Red Fox Literary, Adam’s diverse portfolio showcases his talent and versatility in both commercial and personal projects.

Connect with industry leading guest artists

Each semester features 7 guest artists who have risen to the top of their industry, giving you access to their craft, process, and industry wisdom. Ask questions, join the discussion, and gain industry knowledge from high-caliber artists.

What makes this Mentorship unique?

As a mentorship student, you will gain access to a vast wealth of resources to better your understanding and improve your skills. You will be paired with a high-caliber professional, who will be with you every step of the way.

Live Classes

Every class is delivered live and is fully interactive with lectures, demos, critiques, and guest speakers. Consider this your front row seat.

Connect on Discord

laptop image of zoom art class for illustrators and concept artists

Study Hall

guest speaker events with comic book artist, Afua Richardsons

Guest Speakers

Learn-by-doing Assignments

Polish your skills and create portfolio-worthy art

Students are tasked on a weekly basis with a variety of skill-building exercises, real-world assignments, and projects to help refine and improve. Assignments include creating publishing art based on existing narratives, celebrity portraits, and poster art for a mock client such as The Criterion Collection.

  • Reese Bice

    Celebrity Portrait

  • Jess Lemon

    Flat Assignment

  • Elijah Boor

    Thumbnails

  • Veronica Martinez

    Flat Assignment

  • Student work

    Movie Poster

Student Testimonials

They manage the rare feat of challenging you to grow as an artist while also building up your confidence. Plus, they are a wealth of experience, knowledge and insight which they presents with the lovely nonchalance of a trusted friend.
Marcus SolomonProcess: Skill & Craft Student
Process: Skill & Craft was an excellent class that definitely helped get my brain thinking about drawing and illustration in different ways. I was pushed to try new techniques and materials as well as consider different approaches to ideation and illustration development that have proved useful in all my work going forward. I really enjoyed the projects and the opportunity to let loose in regards to my own process and style.
Ren LindroosProcess: Skill & Craft Student

Payment Installments Available

Even though our courses are the best value, with the high caliber instruction and personalized mentoring, there are finance options available to make the mentorship program financially possible for as many artists as possible. Select Shop Pay or Affirm at checkout to view options.

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 hello@visualartspassage.com and a team member will get back to you with a recommendation shortly.

Each course in the Illustration Mentorship Program is $1199.

Need Some Guidance?

We can help you with any questions related to enrollment, portfolio development, and the student experience.

Summer Online Art Courses Start July 13. Fine Arts & Illustration Now Enrolling.

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