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Illustration Fundamentals

Organized, free training from around the web and turned into a progressive curriculum.

Organized & Curated Training Library

This curriculum is built around the best, free training from around the world to help students master the basics of their disciplines. There is so much free training related to the fundamentals of Illustration. We spent months searching for the best and organizing it into a curriculum.

If you want to master Illustration then you must learn the fundamentals. You learn by doing, and this curriculum will guide you through projects as you watch the training.

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Learn The Fundamentals

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1. History of Illustration & Visual Communication.


Giving students a historical context of their discipline is an essential starting point. Our curriculum features the work of art historian Pete Beard who has lovingly created a series of lectures on the history of illustration.

All of our programs start with a history module to give students a foundation they can build on.


2. Basics of Structure, Light & Depth.


Before an illustrator can create elaborate scenes or characters, they must have a grasp on the basic structure of objects. They must also understand the most basic approach to light sources, shading and depth in objects.

For the total beginner this module is important for establishing strong fundamental skills. We feature a series of basic technical demos and assignments students can follow along with.


3. Mastering Perspective & Depth.


Learning the 3 systems of perspective drawing is important for illustration students. These basic approaches are essential for students to master so they are confident creating work with proper perspective.

Our curriculum features the training of Circle Line Art School, one of the best channels for learning perspective drawing.


4. The Human Form.


Module 4 moves students into more advanced material as they begin to draw the human form. This module starts with a technical breakdown of the structure of the human form and ends with more detailed training on drawing eyes, hands and noses.

We want students to be highly proficient in their technical illustration skills so this module is designed to push students ability to draw structures from multiple angles and poses.


5. Figure Drawing.


A difficult skill to master, figure drawing is critical for illustrators. This is a skill that illustrators must maintain over a lifetime, so the emphasis here is practice, practice, practice!

This module contains timed figure drawing in sessions of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 30 minutes. Students start with quick gesture drawing with simple lines of action and move into detailed drawings that show more complete poses.


6. Color, Form & Communication.


This is where our curriculum starts to break past technical basics and into more advanced training and projects. Starting with an overview of color theory and ending with illustration demo’s from seasoned illustrators, this module is designed to help students understand how the basics act as a foundation for original concepts.

This module also features a series of documentaries on editorial illustration and how original concepts are created.


7. Typeforms as Design.


This module takes a niche focus on typography within illustration. Although typography is traditionally considered part of graphic design we believe a basic knowledge of type is useful for illustration students.

It is becoming more common in advertising and editorial settings for illustrators to be expected to use type effectively in their work. If type is an area that can strengthen a students skill set then we want them to explore it here.


8. Liberal Arts.


Create Academy is primarily a vocational school with a focus on skills that are relevant for the current job market. We also believe that Liberal Arts are more important than ever. Students are asked to engage with material related to history, philosophy, economics, psychology or political science.

Part of our mission is to encourage individuals to be positive members of our free society. We all have a responsibility to learn what we can to make informed decisions for ourselves, our families, our communities and our world.


9. Character Design.


Character design is vital area of study for illustrators who want to work in concept design. The feature film and advertising industries prioritize illustrators who have strong character design samples in their portfolios.

Students who want to pursue concept work must show the ability to create original characters that have strong appeal and personality. This module will focus on shape language, appeal and story telling.


10. Creating Your Portfolio.


This module focuses on building a professional portfolio site that is ready to send to employers and potential clients. A portfolio is 99% about the work contained inside of it, but the final 1% is making sure your presentation is clear and functional.

We want to make sure students are 100% clear on what their portfolio should contain and how to best represent themselves.


11. Thesis Project #1.


At this point in the curriculum the focus for each student is on creating original works that are aligned with their long term goals. Self-initiated projects that reflect the student’s technical and artistic skills are essential for building a portfolio that stands out.

Students pitch their thesis project, recieving feedback from peers and mentors before engaging in full production.


12. Thesis Project #2.


At this point in the curriculum the focus for each student is on creating original works that are aligned with their long term goals. Self-initiated projects that reflect the student’s technical and artistic skills are essential for building a portfolio that stands out.

Students pitch their thesis project, recieving feedback from peers and mentors before engaging in full production. After this project, students have all the tools, knowledge and processes needed to continue their journey in illustration.


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