Digital Illustrator Specialization

Learn illustration online and unlock your career as an artist for film & games

Student work by Oliver Harbour


Illustration course run by top artists

Start your career with expert career training and mentorship

Discover how to create professionally polished art for films, video games and publishing! With mentorship from an established artist and a curriculum focused on job outcomes, the Digital Illustrator Specialization helps you build critical job skills and a portfolio to impress employers.

Why study digital illustration at CG Spectrum:

  • Be mentored by award-winning artists
  • Specialized focus on art for film, games & publishing
  • Extra career support to get you job-ready
  • Choose 1-on-1 or small group classes (max 4 students)


As a professional illustrator, your job is equal parts Director, Concept Artist, Painter, Cinematographer, and 3D Modeler. At CG Spectrum you’ll get hands-on experience putting these skills together to create the illusion of space in a 2D narrative moment.

You'll master complex illustration techniques and learn how to communicate effectively through art, creating compelling work that captivates and inspires. Meet your mentor online for weekly classes, get personalized video critiques of your work, and graduate with a portfolio of original creations!



Study duration

36 weeks


20 hrs weekly

Skill level



Concept Art Foundations course or portfolio submission


Weekly online classes, feedback and support


Adobe Photoshop

Start date

Jun 3, 2024

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Why study with us

Learn illustration from award-winning artists who have worked with major film & game studios

Whether straight out of high school, changing careers, or upgrading skills, our specialized expert-led illustration programs help you build practical job skills that serve throughout your career

Flexible Scheduling

Plan your studies around your work and family commitments

Industry Mentors

Learn from mentors who have worked on major films and games

Job-Ready Skills

Build practical, relevant job skills that studios are looking for

Payment Plans

Options to help you pursue your passion and start working sooner


Professional career training to launch your career as a digital illustrator

Term 1: 12 weeks

Composition and Painting

Discover how to use your human or creature figure to convey the story of your artwork. Explore advanced painting techniques to mimic traditional media, and practice fine art portraiture and digital painting. Examine how famous artists approached paint handling and gesture. Then experiment with composition to guide viewers to the action, and see how light, color and shape enhance your story.

  • How to manipulate light, value and atmosphere
  • Gather quality reference material
  • Receive constructive critiques
  • Speed up workflows with 3D software
  1. Course Introduction & History Lesson
  2. Advanced Staging & Composition 01
  3. Gathering Reference - Models and Maquettes
  4. Light and Value Control
  5. Advanced Digital Painting Techniques
  6. Cinematic Storytelling
  7. Gathering Reference - Using 3D
  8. Advanced Staging & Composition 02
  9. Advanced Color Theory & Application 01
  10. Advanced Color Theory & Application 02
  11. Advanced Traditional Painting Techniques 01
  12. Advanced Traditional Painting Techniques 02
Term 2: 12 weeks

Industry Application

The end goal of a successful illustration is to accurately tell a story and sell a product. Explore various commercial markets and learn about creating book covers, card gaming art and marketing art for film and games. Experiment with hand painting, photo-bashing and 3D paint-overs. Assignments are treated like real commissions with hard deadlines so you learn to work under pressure.

  • How to turn rough sketches into final art
  • Manage time and meet deadlines
  • Create art for various markets
  • Work with specific client briefs
  1. Book Cover Illustration 01 - Rough Sketches and Worldbuilding
  2. Book Cover Illustration 02 - Creating a Dynamic Composition
  3. Book Cover Illustration 03 – Level up your Rendering
  4. Book Cover Illustration 04 – Finding your Voice & Cover Art Guest Speaker
  5. Trading Card & Gaming Art 01 – The Responsibility of Card Art Design
  6. Trading Card & Gaming Art 02 - Gaming Art & Visual Hierarchy
  7. Trading Card & Gaming Art 03 – Reference Gathering for Fantasy Art
  8. Trading Card & Gaming Art 04 - Polishing Your Art & Magic: The Gathering Guest Speaker
  9. Promotional Art and Keyframe Illustration 01 – Intro to Toy, Game & Film Illustration
  10. Promotional Art and Keyframe Illustration 02 - Composing a Movie/Game Poster & Guest Speaker
  11. Promotional Art and Keyframe Illustration 03 – Keyframe Art & Cinematography
  12. Promotional Art and Keyframe Illustration 04 - Animation Color Keys & Lighting
Term 3: 12 weeks

Mentored Studio: Illustration

This final term is dedicated to getting you job-ready! With your mentor’s guidance, you’ll polish your best pieces for your illustration portfolio and learn how to develop your competitive edge, market yourself, and make the best possible impression in front of employers. You'll also receive additional 1-on-1 career support, portfolio reviews, and industry insights from CG Spectrum's Career Coach.

  • How to polish your portfolio to impress employers
  • Be more confident with negotiation
  • Network & self-promote effectively
  • Tap into the hidden job market 
  1. Career Pathways
  2. Industry Overview
  3. Portfolio Upgrade
  4. Networking and Online Presence
  5. Resume and Cover Letter
  6. Job Hunting
  7. Freelance Work
  8. Interviews and Pitching
  9. Personal Projects and Challenges
  10. Working in a Studio
  11. Contracts and Negotiations
  12. Personal Roadblocks
Course structure

Your pathway to the industry

Dive right into the full study pathway and be industry ready in 18 months.

Pathway illustration for Career Track (18 months)
Meet Your Mentor

Eric Wilkerson

Clients include Wizards of the Coast (Magic: The Gathering), Weta Workshop, Marvel, Upper Deck, Dark Horse Comics, Scholastic and Disney Publishing.

Eric is a New York Times bestselling Illustrator, 2020 Chesley Award Winner for best hardback book cover scifi illustration, 2019 Chesley Award finalist and has been featured in multiple volumes of Spectrum Fantastic Art, Expose, and Imagine FX. He was also a finalist in the ARC International Salon. Over the past decade he's created art for film, TV, advertising, publishing, animation, comics, video games and even costume design. 


Small Class

The most affordable way to learn from top industry mentors in a fun, collaborative environment, while still getting plenty of personalized feedback.

  • Max. 4 students per course
  • Affordable high-quality education
  • Network while you learn

1-on-1 Private

Progress faster and enjoy more flexiblity with private mentorship. Ideal for busy schedules, career-changers, or artists upgrading skills or changing specialties.

  • Maximum level of mentor interaction
  • Greater flexibility to schedule classes
  • Customized learning experience


Choose your class size

$1,185 USD

(9 x payments)

Save 10%

Per Term
$3,200 USD

(3 x payments)

$1,750 USD

(9 x payments)

Save 10%

Per Term
$4,725 USD

(3 x payments)

Frequently asked questions

Got questions? We've got answers.

Aside from basic computer skills and a computer that meets the minimum specifications (see next question), this course requires the successful completion of the Concept Art and Illustration Course or portfolio submission demonstrating professional experience and an accompanying reel/resume.

You must know the difference between concept art and illustration and demonstrate competent use of perspective, anatomy, colour and colourization in Photoshop, linework, composition and iterative design. We do not cover any of these skills in this course.


You will purchase Photoshop (photography plan only) for the length of your studies. 


You will need a computer that meets the minimum system requirements for Photoshop, and a graphics tablet (see digital painting software and equipment).

On completion of the Advanced Digital Illustration Course you will have greater confidence in your abilities and a portfolio to show employers.

You will also have personalized career services with our Career Development Manager which can help when applying for junior illustrator jobs such as:

Discover more about these jobs, tips, and salary expectations on our careers page:


Student Showcase

High quality student work that speaks for itself

With a focus on portfolio preparation, we help students build their competitive edge with high quality work that gets noticed. See what they are creating.


Studios that hire our students

Our commitment to job-outcomes and focus on career development has helped graduates find work at studios all over the world.