Illustration for Motion

Learn to Illustrate for Animation

In Illustration for Motion you'll learn the foundations of modern illustration from Sarah Beth Morgan. You’ll discover a range of illustrative styles through mock client briefs meant to mimic jobs found in the real world. By the end of the course, you'll be equipped to create incredible illustrated works of art that you can use in your animation projects right away.

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

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12 Weeks

of video lessons,

podcasts, guides, community
and critique from pros!


Familiarize Yourself with the Course

Get acclimated with the process of creating Illustrations on your computer using Adobe Photoshop. You can start with a Wacom Tablet or just a pen and paper, the end result is up to you. Then you’ll jump into your first exercise using these tools, which will help our TAs see where your skills are at.

Creating Strong Concepts

This week you’ll focus on how to create an idea. You’ll break down a script, generate concepts, and solve creative problems.Your first assignment is crafting illustration options to present to a client.Then take this concept into the next lesson and illustrate it in black and white line work with a single spot of color to "make things pop."

Break things down into Basic Forms and Shapes

Time to learn about abstracting objects. During the first part of the week, explore abstracting things to look "flat" while still giving a sense of depth. Later you'll explore ways to add a stylized look to your illustrations, texture, and basic shading. This will allow you to focus on creating a mood or feeling that doesn’t have a specific world shape.

Breaking through Imposter Syndrome

This week you'll have a full seven days to put your head down and focus on your work. We'll give you some bonus content filled with insights on what it's like to become a professional illustrator, and how to get over the fear, frustration, and other feelings you may encounter early in your journey.

1, 2, & 3 Point Perspective

Every Illustrator needs to know how to work with Perspective. We'll give you different challenges to have you thinking and drawing in different perspectives (1 point, 2 point, birds eye view, isometric). You will also learn how to add style to these techniques, and when it's okay to "fudge it."

Creating Charming Characters

It's time to add in characters! Begin by nailing down the form of a human, without worrying about facial features. In this early stage, you’ll focus on posing. This will not be a “fine art” way of learning how to draw a human figure; instead this will be stylized. During the later part of the week, explore more with human figures including adding expressions to the face, along with turning an inanimate object into a character.

Working with Illustrations as an Animator

It's time for another Focus Week where you can spend some time really digging into your projects. You'll have some more bonus content that focuses on what it's like working as an animator with boards from another person, and what you can do as an Illustrator to make it easier for your animator friends.

Defining a Style

There are a lot of different styles of Illustration out there. You’ll learn why things look and feel the way that they do in specific styles, and how to give yourself rules and constraints to work with when illustrating a project. Explore these concepts through restyling a piece of artwork given to them by another designer, and then move on to another project where they have to convey a look from a very specific time period.

Put Your Skills to the Test

It's time to bring it all together into your final project. This time you'll be able to take all of your skills and play with your own style from start to finish on a client brief. This one will really make your portfolio shine when it's done.

Extended Critique Period

The final 3 weeks of class are Extended Critique. You can use this time to catch up, complete your final project, and then turn it in for critique.

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Better than in-person training

School of Motion courses are unlike anything you've ever experienced. Along with world-class training, you'll also get 1-on-1 feedback from an industry pro, a 24/7 network of likeminded artists, and more support than you'll know what to do with.

Over 17,000 artists have taken School of Motion courses, find out what all the hype is about.

What makes us different?

Cohort-Based Learning

Join artists from around the world on our custom learning platform. Never learn alone, as you’ll have immediate access to a forum of fellow students to share work, ask questions, and improve together. 

Exercises and project files for every lesson

Each course comes packed with free project files, assets, and additional material to keep you learning and growing long after the course ends. Our exercises are designed from real world briefs, so you’re learning the skills you need to excel on your next project or venture.

Technical and creative support along the way

You’ll be assigned a Teaching Assistant with years of experience in your chosen course. They’ll provide technical and creative feedback to guide you through new skills, improve your techniques, and provide encouragement along your journey. 

Verified credential upon course completion

Completing a course isn’t just about bragging rights. Once you’ve completed at least 70% of your work in a given course, you’ll earn a verified credential that can show current and future employers exactly what you’ve accomplished.

Permanent access to course materials

We all need a refresher now and again, which is why you’ll keep access to your course—and all the assets and project files—for the rest of your life. Come back to listen to exclusive interviews, review old lessons, and try out new techniques using your old assets.

A world-wide alumni community

You’ll gain instant access to our alumni platform, The Square. Here you can network with professional artists at every stage of their career. You’ll get access to new job opportunities and exclusive alumni events, such as meetups, virtual hangouts and reel reviews. 

Meet your instructor

Sarah Beth Morgan

Animation Director, Illustrator & Educator

Sarah Beth Morgan is an art director, illustrator, and designer based in Portland, Oregon. Prior to her career in motion design, she spent her childhood years in Saudi Arabia where she developed a unique take on the world. This experience expanded her artistic horizons, pushing her to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. She spent her early career at Gentleman Scholar and Oddfellows. It was working for these top-notch motion studios that gave her the confidence to branch out on her own. Now, as a full-time freelancer, she enjoys diving headfirst into passion projects, collaborating with new friends, and advocating for other women in the industry.

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Our no-risk money back policy

We want to make sure you have a positive learning experience with us, so for any session based course you're enrolled in, you can request a refund up until the end of Week 3 of the course

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now

Join over 17,000 alumni around the globe

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if this course is right for me?
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This course is a good fit for those that are comfortable using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. To excel in the course, you should have a solid understanding of how to use Photoshop to create artwork. Illustration for Motion will teach you a variety of techniques that will help you create artwork from scratch to be used in Motion Design. The course contains a variety of exercises that encourage you to explore new styles, while developing your own style. You will even have the opportunity to explore some character design in this course!

What are the differences in the School of Motion design and illustration courses?
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Photoshop and Illustrator Unleashed is the perfect introductory design course for those unfamiliar with the softwares. You'll be confident using both Photoshop and Illustrator after completing the course. If you have experience with software but are not confident in your understanding or implementation of the Design Principles we recommend Design Kickstart.

If you're comfortable with the software and the principles, you can skip ahead to Design Bootcamp in which you'll create style frames and storyboards while learning to master typography, composition, and color theory. If you want to improve your actual drawing and illustration abilities Illustration for Motion is the best fit for you!

If you are debating between which course to enroll in, there is no wrong choice! It just depends on which skills you want or need to strengthen. For more on our design curriculum you can check out this article, The School of Motion Design Courses in a Nutshell and our Design for Motion Student Showcase.

Do I need a drawing tablet for this course?
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To get the most out of Illustration for Motion we recommend that you get a drawing tablet that can connect to your computer. If you're looking for something reliable, we would highly suggest Wacom. They are one of the most popular drawing tablets available. Every Wacom tablet includes Wacom's excellent customer support and dependability. There are a range of different tablets that vary in size and price.

Some of these tablets are smaller and will sit well next to your laptop or desktop keyboard, while others will be used as a second screen. Which one you should get will really depend on your preference and budget.

Some of these tablets take a little more getting used to, since you'll be looking at a different spot than where your hand is. Your focus will be on your screen and your hand will be on the desk about where you would be using your mouse or directly in front of you.

Here are a few Wacom drawing tablets options for Photoshop:

Budget Conscious Wacom Tablets

One by Wacom - Small

Wacom Intuus S, Black

Wacome Intous M, BT

High-End Wacom Tablets

Intuos Pro S, M & L

Wacom Cintiq - Tablet with screen

Wacom MobileStudio Pro - Full Computer

Note: We are not paid by Wacom

Can I use a pencil and paper for this course?
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Yes, you can use pencil and paper for this course. First you'll need paper (duh), preferably something that is a solid white color and doesn't have patterns. Having a blank piece of paper will save you time editing when you're working in Photoshop.

The next thing you'll need is a camera to photograph your drawings and bring them into Photoshop. The higher the megapixel count the better. You'll want to bring in as much resolution as possible to help keep your artwork crisp.

We would recommend that you shine plenty of light on your drawing when taking these photographs, and try to keep the lighting as even as possible. This will help keep the image clear, sharp, and the un-even lighting would have to be corrected later in Photoshop for a desirable result. You can also use a scanner to scan your drawings into the computer.

Although you can use a physical medium we'll be working and finalizing our designs using Adobe Photoshop. The instructor, Sarah Beth Morgan, will be using Photoshop for the course lessons and there are many opportunities throughout the course to to get tips and workflow advice for Photoshop.

How much time do I need to commit?
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Illustration for Motion is a 12-week course. You'll have the flexibility to watch the course content and complete your course work on your schedule. However, you can expect to commit at least 15 - 20 hours per week on course material. The video lesson are 1-2 hours in length. There are 13 assignments total. Assignments are typically assigned on Mondays and Thursdays with soft deadlines the next day. We have designated catch-up weeks built into the schedule so students have extra time to complete their assignments if needed. There is also an extended critique add-on for those that want more time with a Teaching Assistant after the 12-week course or need more time to complete assignments towards earning a credential.

Can I access my course content after the course ends?
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Yes! Once you complete Illustration for Motion, you’ll have lifetime access to all the course lessons and materials, so you can revisit them whenever you like. Also, if we make any changes to Illustration for Motion following your session, you’ll automatically receive access to the latest version.

Please note: Video critiques change each session, so you’ll only have access to the video critiques during the session you're enrolled in. The written critiques you receive in your homework locker as well as the classroom content will also remain available to you forever!

What are the prerequisites?
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To take this course you need to be comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, if you are not there yet, we recommend taking Photoshop and Illustrator Unleashed first. Having Adobe Illustrator experience is also a plus. Lastly, having a foundational  knowledge of design is recommended. Below we've provided examples of tools and techniques you should know to excel in this course:

  • Using Brushes
  • Basic application of textures to artwork
  • The Pen Tool
  • Masking
  • Basic Effects (Distortions, Transforms, and Layer Styles)
  • Blend Modes
What is the required software?
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Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 (20.0.0 or Higher).

Adobe Illustrator CC 2019 (23.1.0 or Higher).

Can I Use an iPad or Surface Tablet for this course?
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A tablet is also a great solution for Illustration for Motion. Whether it's an iPad Pro or a Surface Pro, both digital tablets will give you the ability to easily create digital drawings that can easily be sent to a computer for manipulating in Photoshop. Notable drawing apps include ProCreate and AstroPad.

What is the course format?
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Illustration for Motion is an 12-week course. Lessons become available at a specific time each week but you can watch them and do your work whenever it is convenient for you. The lessons include pre-recorded videos, podcasts, PDFs and assignments with working files.

All student work is critiqued by our highly trained Teaching Assistants. School of Motion TA's are professional Animators with real life experience in the industry.

During the course you will be invited to a private classroom that contains all of the  students and Teaching Assistants in your session. This is a great tool for connecting, asking or answering questions, sharing thoughts or insights, and winning cool contests!

Do I get a certificate at the end of the course?
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Yes, if you complete, submit, and have 70% of your course assignments approved by your Teaching Assistant you will be eligible for a Course Credential through Credly. With your Credly Course Credential, you can share your accomplishments across your social networks, the blockchain, or to print out yourself.

You will not recognize your work when class is over.

Our courses have been meticulously designed to simulate real-world situations so that you're learning best-practices from day one. You'll be challenged, supported, and celebrated by your fellow artists as you level-up in real-time.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career?

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now