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Creativity Illustration Bootcamp with James Ransome

Creative Lab Syllabus


Think of this Creative lab as a series of gym exercises for the creative mind. Led by illustrator James Ransome, this three-hour workshop will focus on exploring new directions in storytelling with pictures. Each lesson will be based on a premise that questions what if or why not and asks you to consider alternative ways to solve visual problems. The class will begin with drawings from the clothed model. Those drawings will then be used for exploring visual narrative and storytelling. Everyone will leave the class with a 6-page dummy book.

Prerequisites and Advanced Preparation:

There are no prerequisites or advanced assignments.


  • Introduction (5 minutes)
  • Warm-up drawings from model and still life (20 minutes)
  • Drawing from model (25 minutes)
  • Break (10 minutes)
  • Critique (15 minutes)
  • Drawing from model (20 minutes)
  • Redrawing and composing (20 minutes) 
  • Coffee/snack/stretch/bathroom break (10 minutes)
  • Critique (10 minutes)
  • Making a dummy book (15 minutes)
  • Begin drawing in your 6-page dummy book (10 minutes)
  • Group discussions of your dummy book, including identifying movement, page turn, use of color, viewpoints, and building suspense (15 minutes)
  • Final Q&A (5 minutes)


The class will cover the basic elements of making pictures-drawing, color, line, and composition. We will focus on: 

  • Moving a character through a space
  • The importance of the page turn
  • Analyzing character and development
  • Broadening the students’ understanding of values
  • Building stronger compositions
  • Expanding visual storytelling
  • Increasing emphasis on the picture plan
  • Awareness of shapes
  • How to edit and understand the edge of the shape
  • Identifying hard and soft edges
  • Analyzing pacing decisions

This class should be seen as an opportunity for sharing, discussions, and critiques, where everyone will contribute to the community of learners. 


  • For this workshop, you will need:
  • sharpie markers
  • white artist tape
  • a pad of 18 x 24” pad of white paper
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil Set Assorted Colors, set of 12 colored pencils
  • optional* a Helix Ultra-Lite Core Plain Edge Board drawing board

This workshop is recommended for all levels.

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