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Narrative Illustration with Pascal Campion

This in-depth course covers my creative process from inspiration to completed work. Students will gain a full understanding of the work and creativity that go into creating an original narrative illustration.

Live Class Schedule (Zoom): June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th and July 13th, 20th, 27th, and August 3rd and 10th from 12:00 – 2:00 pm EST

Teacher Time

10 Live Classes




Curated Reference

Class forum

The goal of this 10-week course is to help students become aware of what a story is and how we use emotions and our intellect to create images from them.

Topics Covered

Drawing Tools: How we use both traditional and digital tools. This class will focus on using Procreate for teaching.

Drawing Fundamentals: We will use a series of unique exercises I use every single time in the creation of my illustrations. Students are likely to not have come across these exercises before. 

Characters: Primarily through “blocking” we look at what makes the audience see a mark on a page as being a character. We examine what  essential elements required for us to understand that this is a character and not something else, what makes them emote, and how we relate to them.

Story: We will focus on time as an element of story, just like depth, space and color that needs to be controlled, directed to tell a story.

Story Development: Starting with simple sketches, poorly drawn we will discover characters, settings, context, and emotional beats. Then we redraw, writing, redraw again, write again, back and forth until a story is set.

Production: Using the tools and skills in the development stage earlier we will redraw our image and get it ready for painting. 

Painting: We will cover all the beautiful little color keys, sketches, production design work you see in ART OF books.  We use these color sketches to associate emotional anchors to scenes, to turning points, creating anticipation or calming down the tone.

Lighting and Comp:
We will cover base lighting and narrative lighting and how these can effect mood but are not the only elements to do so.

One More Thing: The production of the style guide. How to prepare your work for others to produce for animation or illustration.

Putting it all together: The most important part is how to use all of these skills and techniques in a free and non-limiting way.

Videos will be available as a replay the day after class. Homework is due at midnight PST each Wednesday. Crit will be posted before class Saturday morning. Zoom links are emailed the night before each live class.

Born in River Edge, New Jersey, Pascal began his art career at a very young age of seven when his older brother Sean, gave him the task of “copying” comic books covers in exchange for Pascal to read the comics! At the age of two, his family relocated back to the south of France, where he spent hours sketching and drawing both comics and the beautiful landscapes of Provence. In 1995 Pascal began his studying narrative illustration at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs de Strasbourg, in France. His formal training emphasized storytelling through art, and also happened to be the last class that was taught without computers. After graduating in 2000 from the Arts Decoratifs de Strasbourg with a diploma in Narrative Illustration, Pascal’s brother Sean built him a new tool: a computer. It was the beginning of a new form of art for Pascal and a digital artist was born. In 2001, the appeal of paradise combined with employment took him to Honolulu, Hawaii where he worked at PREL developing online educational games. In 2002, he joined the start-up studio, Bent Image Labs, in Portland Oregon. Here Pascal honed skills as a commercial 2D artist and then becoming a commercial director and collaborated on campaigns for clients such as Ritz Crackers and Reese’s Pieces. In 2005 Pascal moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to be a Senior Visual Artist for Leapfrog where he was responsible for the creation of many Leapfrog characters, storylines and game development for LeapFrog and its partners.

In May of 2007 Pascal married in San Francisco and in 2008 their first child, Lily was born. In 2010, twins Max and Colin joined the family. His intense passion for his family thus began and he has been carrying that flame and inspiration in his work, and has become one of his hallmarks. In 2006 Pascal began to truly develop his own art and style, but lacking time due to his full time job, he had to come up with an efficient solution. It was then that “Sketch of the Day” was born: every morning, first thing, he creates a sketch, albeit full color, and a story unto itself. This routine has yielded an archive of close to 6,000 sketches and over 800,000 organic Instagram followers, 500,000 organic Facebook followers and growing numbers on Tumblr, Twitter, DeviantArt and Pinterest.

From 2007 to 2014 as a Freelancer Pascal wore many hats in the art world; from conceptual design to visual development for feature films and television; to creating commercial animation for clients such as Chevron and Disney; as well participating in DeepGreen movie. In this time period he began working with the film industry and found a love for visual development and storytelling in the film industry. Pascal had an early role in the movie Klaus, with Sergio Pablos Animation and helped set the initial visual bible for the movie. In 2010 and 2011 Pascal worked in visual development in such movies as Moana, Sherman and Peabody and Penguins of Madagascar. In 2014 Pascal decided to leave the San Francisco Bay Area and make the move to Los Angeles, California. From 2015-2018, Pascal was involved with Season 1 of Netflix and Warner Bros. new adaptation of the beloved Dr. Suess book, Green Eggs and Ham. The project made it’s debut in 2020 on Netflix. Also during this time, Pascal’s art has been featured on several covers of The New Yorker.

Today his is working happily with WildBrain Studios as a Production Designer on Peanuts Specials that have made their debut on AppleTV+ on 2021. He is represented by Shannon Associates in the field of publishing. In February 2020, “Paper Kingdom” released, written by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Pascal Campion. In 2022, “Rosa’s Song” also released with Helena’s and Pascal’s second partnership. Pascal is excited to be involved in so many diverse and exciting film, print, and commercial campaigns. January 2023 welcomes the release of Pascal’s latest Sketchbook, “The Art of Pascal Campion” available at all booksellers.

Laptop and tablet. Any drawing software is fine to use (Photoshop, Mischief, Flash, MangaStudio, Paint, whatever); otherwise, Pascal can work with students as well with pen and paper (just bring plenty!)

About the Instructor

Pascal Campion

Work in visual development includes movies Moana, Mr Peabody and Sherman, Penguins of Madagascar, and others. Pascal lives in LA, California with his wife and three children, where freelance clients include DreamWorks Animation, Warner Bros, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Disney, Marvel Comics, and others.

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