Illustration Program — Course 1

Process: Skill & Craft

Instructed by Katherine Lam or John English

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

Course Details

Your career as a successful illustrator begins here. Don’t just learn how the pros work, work with the pros. The ‘Process: Skills and Craft’ course—your first in the Illustration Program—is a hands on dive into picture-making and drawing.

Alongside an assigned 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.

Classes are hosted weekly, live and online. Your mentor will lecture on technique, skill, and the history of illustration. Added to that, you’ll join in for demonstrations, critiques, and Q&A sessions, with weekly homework assignments.

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


Jan. 22 – March 26


10 weeks

Live Classes

10am – 1pm PT

Price: $999 (limited offer)

Course Outline

Illustrator and painter John English

Meet the Class Mentor John English (Section B Still Enrolling)

John English was raised in the company of New York’s most talented illustrators. He is the co-founder and program director of Visual Arts Passage. He is also the founder and director of The Illustration Academy.

He has received numerous awards from organizations including New York Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Graphis and Print Magazine. John’s work has graced the cover of Newsweek, the pages of Esquire, Money, and Essence, and the publications of Penguin Books, Bantam Books, Hitachi, 7-Up, NCAA, Sprint Corporation, and the Knoll Furniture Group.

Portrait of artist and illustrator, Katherine Lam

Meet the Class Mentor Katherine Lam

Katherine Lam is an illustrator. She grew up in Maryland, went to school in Florida, and now lives in NYC. She likes drawing houses.

Her work has been in 3×3, Society of Illustrators, AI-AP, Communication Arts, Applied Arts, and Creative Quarterly. She has been featured in Photoshop Creative 166.

Clients include: The New York Times, New Yorker, NBCUniversal, Criterion Collection, Laundry TV, The Telegraph, Hollywood Reporter, Smithsonian Magazine, The Intercept, TED, Propublica, Amazon, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The New Republic, California Sunday, Pop-Up Magazine, Spectrum Magazine, Believer, Times Higher Education, Outside, Outline, New Jersey Monthly, Sierra, Little White Lies, Editions Gallmeister, Milwaukee Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, Narratively, BUST, Telemedicine, Doctorish, Il Corriere dela Sera, and Dinardo Design

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.


As an Illustration program student, you will also gain access to guest speakers featured in the concept art program as on-demand content.

Access to the best resources

Live Classes

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

Office Hours

Study Hall

Course Start Date

Jan. 22, 2022



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 and a team member will get back to you with a recommendation shortly.

Need Some Guidance?

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