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This is a 4 day masterclass for Concept Artists, Illustrators and Students!


This intensive on-location drawing workshop addresses two essential issues: 1) the specific drawing skills needed for composition, and 2) picture composition techniques applicable to film, animation, graphic novels, children’s books, games or landscape drawing & painting. In brief, Will shows students how to draw a variety of plants objects and architecture and how to place them effectively in compositions.
Drawing for composition differs from simply drawing objects. Everything in a composition is drawn with consideration of its place in the overall arrangement, using design concepts demonstrated and practiced in class that serve multiple purposes. Compositional elements (the things you draw) must be clear, easily recognized, organised in groups, provide depth, and direct the eye to focal points. They should describe the environment and ultimately advance the emotion and narrative of the image. This is visual storytelling. If a viewer grasps an idea or feels something, the drawing and composition play a big part in creating the effect. The workshop is based on courses Will has developed at ArtCenter (where it’s considered an essential class) and in seminars for professionals at the Society of Illustrators in LA, for DreamWorks TV and Feature Animation, for the Animation Guild and other organisations in Los Angeles.

About the Instructor

Will Weston
Will Weston
Will Weston had a long career in illustration before entering the animation field, where he worked for Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon Animation and Sony Feature Animation. He left the animation field 13 years ago to help develop the very successful Entertainment Arts program at ArtCenter in Pasadena, CA. He’s now an Associate Professor and works in two separate entertainment departments at ArtCenter. At AC, he teaches figure drawing and costumed figure drawing, drawing for composition, composition for film, digital painting and style development for feature animation and games. He’s also won ArtCenter’s Great Teacher Award (given by student vote) in 2012. Additionally, Will currently lectures and teaches professional workshops for DreamWorks Animation and other professional organizations in Los Angeles. His recent public workshops have been in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Copenhagen, and now Graz, Austria for Carbon Black Workshops. To see examples of Will Weston’s teaching methods and a sampling of excellent student work, scroll through ​@willwestonstudio o​n Instagram.

Core Principles

Good drawing is drawing that accomplishes its purpose. In our case, it is to learn how to draw things in a way that serve compositional needs, and to learn how to create effective compositions.

What You’ll Learn

1) Students learn to draw and light plants, architecture, and a variety of objects in a way that will create visual depth and direct the eye to a focal point in a composition.
2) Students learn to create a variety of effective compositions while on location.
3) Students learn how to study and break down compositional devices from existing art in museums, or from books, and apply new knowledge to their own work.
4) Students learn to independently study and improve their own drawing and compositions after the workshop.


Students should have basic drawing skills but don’t need to be advanced drawers to benefit from this workshop. As in all my classes I have an overall agenda for the class, but teach individually to the student.

Materials needed

  • Drawing Board about 11” X 17” ( canvas boards used by oil painters work very well)
  • Spiral bound pad of 11” X 14” white sketch paper3)
  • Two 10% cool gray markers.
  • 10 Prismacolor Pencils in black.
  • A pencil sharpener with a catch basin for shavings. Electric is ok for outdoors

1) A stool to sit on (ants love people sitting on the ground)
2) Water, sunblock, bug spray and snacks.
3) A hat and jacket or sweater.

Workshop Schedule

Class visits a museum in Graz with a landscape and figurative painting selection. I give a thorough lecture on composition and afterwards students break down painting compositions from the museums collection. I address proportion, color, perspective, overlapping planes and value systems.

We spend the day drawing boxlike objects (local architecture and architectural details like doorways and windows, wagons, fences, stone walls). I address drawing and composition using on-site lectures, demos, and individual instruction featuring Graz as a classroom. I discuss and demonstrate drawing’s role in composing with architecture while we’re in the field.

We spend the day drawing a variety of plants in notable local parks using on-site lectures, demos, and individual instruction. Plants are extremely varied and drawn very differently in compositions than as studies. Plants are used for a variety of compositional purposes, so I discuss and demonstrate drawing’s role in composing with plants while we’re in the field.

For the final day we apply our drawing skills to picture composition in a setting featuring plants and architectural elements. I outline different types of compositions, remind students of our museum visit, and students practice by creating landscape drawings combining natural and man-made elements using composition techniques. Again, different compositions elicit different experiences for viewers, so I lecture, demo on-site, and work with students individually and in small groups.

Daily Schedule

9:30 – 11:00 Workshop
11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break
11:15 – 12:45 Workshop
12:45 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Workshop
15:30 – 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 – 17:30 Workshop