2020 | Summer Registration NOW OPEN!

- Just a reminder that registration for our Summer Term is now open!

Visual Storytelling & IP Development Program

Learn how to capitalize on your design skills with a unique program dedicated to storytelling, storyboarding, and visual communication

Courses start on Jul 11, 2020

Estimated tuition

$9K to $14K

Prices may vary on elective courses taken


18 months


Completion of the Foundation & Design Program or demonstration of good foundational drawing and digital painting skills

Estimated Salary

$36K to $120K

Based on US job data

Foundations & Design Program overview

Program Overview

Understand the importance of Storytelling & IP

Storytelling lies at the heart of everything for artists working in the entertainment industry. This is an arena where every picture really does tell a story, and where the image is both a means of communication and a form of expression. Now, thanks to the billions being invested in the creation of original content by the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, the demand for artists with a firm grasp of narrative and the art of storytelling is greater than ever. On a practical level, the challenge for artists hoping to succeed in this field is to ensure their images, concepts, and designs make an intellectual connection as well as an emotional one--successfully conveying ideas, concepts, and entire narratives with economy and creative flair. The key to this is a solid understanding of both the classic rules of storytelling and the contemporary methods utilized by visual creatives working across all entertainment industries. CGMA’s Storytelling & IP Development Program has been designed to give artists exactly that.

Enrolling into a CGMA Program is a simple and painless affair. Once you've decided on which program you want to complete, simply register and start taking the classes outlined in your program's block list. That's it!  On average, we recommend 1-to-2 courses per term. Should you wish to complete the program at an accelerated rate please contact registration@cgmasteracademy.com. Additionally, you only pay for the course(s) you take in a given term (so no need to pay for an entire program upfront). And, after completing all the block-courses in a given program, you will be awarded a Program Certificate of Completion.

Developed and taught by instructors with decades of collective experience creating content at major creative studios including DreamWorks, Disney and Marvel, our classes equip artists with the necessary tools to become better visual communicators and ultimately develop their own storytelling language. Whether focused on Concept Art, Comics, Filmmaking, Storyboarding, or Character/Environment Design, any artist looking to develop, challenges themselves, and become truly competitive in their chosen field should consider strengthening their visual voice with this program.

Prerequisites Completion of the Foundation & Design Program or demonstration of good foundational drawing and digital painting skills



Storyboards, concept sketches, and other development artwork all provide a vital transition away from the written word--which is why every image needs to capture and convey the required themes, moods, movement, characters, and story beats as clearly and evocatively as possible. That requires a good understanding of what actually defines a story, what cultural purpose stories serve, and how best to represent key story beats visually--not to mention a whole bag of tricks, techniques, and shortcuts for creating these artworks with efficiency and precision.
Narrative Illustration

Narrative Illustration

Narrative illustration does exactly what it says: encapsulating a story (or some part of it) in a single image. Skilled narrative illustrators are highly prized for the creation of cover art and product marketing imagery, as well as story development artwork. Truth be told, the skills required to create images that pull the viewer into the world the artist is portraying should be part of any serious artist's repertoire, regardless of his or her chosen career path.
Cinematic & Animation Illustration

Cinematic & Animation Illustration

Film is now arguably the world’s most popular storytelling medium, which makes it an industry that presents incredible opportunities for illustrators with a firm grasp of visual storytelling. Beyond story development work, opportunities also exist in the 2D animation industry, while cinematic illustrators fulfill a crucial role in the development of live action projects--creating cinematically-rich imagery that helps guide and define the composition, mood, lighting, and color of both the cinematography and post-production work.
Comics & Graphic Novels

Comics & Graphic Novels

This is perhaps the purest distillation of visual storytelling in the whole entertainment design arena. It’s in the pages of comic books and graphic novels where artists have the freedom to become fully rounded storytellers, building a narrative that spreads over multiple images and pages and making decisions regarding composition, inking, color, and lighting that determine how the reader views the story, its cast of characters, and the world they inhabit. Perhaps most rewarding of all, it’s also an area where illustrators are able to truly flex their creative muscles and put their own indelible artist’s stamp on each project.

Foundations & Design CURRICULUM


Get a better sense
of our curriculum.

The following requirements are only mandatory for students enrolling in the 2020 Spring Term and beyond. For all students who enrolled prior to the 2020 Spring term, they have the choice of continuing with the previous format or take advantage of our updated/optimized version.

In order to qualify for a program certificate of completion, students must enroll in 12 courses and complete at least 10. This can be a combination of the program's block courses, and up to 3 electives.

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