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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-i I
  • Keywords: 2D


Tim Mcburnie has written and illustrated comic books for some of the top French publishing houses, such as Editions Delcourt, and Ankama. His client list as a freelance illustrator and concept artist includes companies such as; Blizzard Entertainment, Blur studios, and Wizards of the Coast.

Now there is a CGWorkshop specifically for lovers of line drawing and comic-book art.

Learn advanced techniques for drawing and colouring a variety of comic-book styles in Photoshop. Covering everything from sketching to finished illustrations, you will discover countless tips and tricks to refine your process.

What You'll Learn

Tim has over 7 years experience working in comics and Illustration and has developed a fully digital workflow. In this course he shares his experience with translating traditional line drawing techniques into Photoshop as well as colouring scanned artwork.

You will learn how to create and use brushes for sketching and creating final line-work. How to colour simple drawings and sketches through to creating finished illustrations with a range of line and colour styles. Along with how to polish, tweak, and add effects to your completed images, taking your work to the next level!


Week 1 - Introduction to Digital Sketching

There will be an Initial demonstration of Tim’s line and colour process that will be the basis for the workshop. You will get to see a quick but fully fleshed out overview of thumbnail to sketch, to final lines to final colour. This will describe the final goal of the workshop and serve as a basis to hang all the different techniques we learn each week, as well as providing motivation for what a finished piece can look like.

Introduction to drawing in line with photoshop: This week you will learn how to set up your workspace for drawing, how to create different brushes that simulate a pencil and paper drawing experience.

We will go over tips for using your Wacom tablet to get maximum pen control. How to use brush presets and tool presets. How to set up actions to help speed up the process. How to use different blending modes to help with line drawing. We will also discuss resolution and all other technical aspects of photoshop that affect sketching.


1 Hour of example demonstration.
90 Minutes of sketching demonstration.



Familiarise yourself with the photoshop interface and brushes as they relate to drawing
Draw 2-3 (virtual) pages of sketches using the techniques discussed, drawing whatever you feel comfortable with, or following along with the subjects used in the demonstration.


Spend at least 90 minutes sketching.

Week 2 - Character: Thumbnails and Composition

Character: Thumbnails and Composition

How to sketch ideas out and plan for finished drawings: This week we are going to draw a simple character, either of your original creation or a favourite character from video-games/comics/etc.

We will cover sketching small. The importance of planning your drawing. Basic compositional rules. How to add simple black and white values or colour onto thumbnails to plan out your tonal patterns. Discussion of different ways to sketch and at what stage to add detail and start to flesh out your drawings.

There will be two demos that follow the same process to ground these new techniques via repetition. One will cover drawing from imagination. The other will be drawing an existing character in a fitting pose, using reference for the design.


1 hour of discussion on thumbnails and composition.
2 x 45 minute demonstrations following the process through.



Draw 5-10 thumbnails exploring different ideas for your character pose. Pick one, work it up if needed, and add some simple tones to check your silhouette.


Spend 10 minutes on each thumbnail and 1 hour or more on your final composition sketch.

Week 3 - Drawing and Line Work

Character: Drawing and Line-work

Creating finished line-work from your thumbnail: This week we are going to make a detailed drawing to flesh out all the details of our character and then create some more finished line-work on top.

We will cover different drawing styles. Some basic anatomy. How to plan figures and add costumes and details How to draw rough and the importance of staying loose. We will go over some different line styles for the finished product and how that affects the drawing process.

There will again be two demos working from the initial thumbnails showing slightly alternate techniques to achieve different levels and types of finish.


90 minutes of demonstration; showing the process for drawing and creating final lines with discussion on how to refine your drawing, solve anatomical, perspective and costume problems.
Another 45 minute demonstration; repeating the main process on our second character but going over slightly different techniques.



Create final lines for your character based off your final thumbnail created in week two, using the techniques discussed in this week’s demos.


Spend 2-3 hours or more.

Week 4 - Character: Colouring

Character: Colouring

Colouring finished line-work: This week we are going to add colour and rendering to our lines.

We will cover colour choice and the technical aspects of photoshop as they relate to colour manipulation. Layers and blending modes. HSB sliders. Different ways to add shadows and rendering. Working from light-to-dark vs dark-to-light vs from mid-tones outwards.  Adding painted elements to the finished image. Final colour correction and tweaking.

There will again be two demos working from the two types of finished lines. Showing slightly alternate techniques to achieve different levels and types of finish.


90 Minutes of demonstration; showing the process for colouring, rendering and tweaking our line-work into a finished image.



Colour up your finished lines from week three using the techniques discussed in this week’s demo.


Spend 2-3 hours or more.

Week 5 - Scene: Thumbnails

Scene: Thumbnails

Thumbnailing a scene or character illustration. This week we are going to work on staging more complex ideas for illustrations, scenes, and ways to show a character in a pinup pose or with a simple backdrop.

We will focus on in-depth composition. Solving staging issues and creating a strong clear image that tells a story. We will work through a variety of different iterations for our idea, along with ways to define tonal or colour patterns in a rough sketch to show foreground middle-ground and background elements.


90 Minutes of demonstration; going over the process of developing and refining an idea for our scene.



Option 1 (Advanced): Create 2-3 ideas for a scene involving more than one character and a background. Focus on telling a story and creating an interesting composition.


Option 2 (Normal): Stick with a single character similar to our first assignment. But add a simple prop or background. Try to push yourself and refine your technique. Create 2-3 ideas.


Spend an hour for each idea. Trying different angles or compositions, until you find something you like.

Week 6 - Rough drawing

Scene: Rough Drawing

Creating a solid foundation. This week we are going to take the sketch from last week and work it into a rough drawing that will form the basis for our final lines.

We will cover solving complex perspective. Setting our characters into the scene. Figuring out and elaborating on background and costume details. Defining proper proportions; and generally working up and solving issues that arise from taking our sketch through to a finished drawing. Special emphasis will be put on maintaining the gesture and life of our sketch while adding structure and solidarity to the scene.


90 Minutes of demonstration; covering the process of creating a rough drawing that will serve as a solid foundation for our finished illustration.


Create a rough drawing based on your thumbnail from the previous week. Focus on solid construction of anatomy and getting any perspective as correct as you can. In addition to developing the gesture and character from your thumbnail sketch.
If you are creating a scene, figure out if you want elements of the background painted or in line, and draw them accordingly.


Spend 3-4 hours or more. This is an important step!

Week 7 - Scene: Final Lines

Week Seven

Scene: Final lines

Cleaning it all up: This week we are going to take the rough drawing from last week and create a polished set of lines.

We will focus on different rendering techniques. Line weights. Adjusting the focus of detail in the background vs foreground. How to stay loose while still creating tight lines. Extra tips on pen control and constructing parts of your scene that involve complex sets of straight lines or curves. Planning your foreground middle-ground and background elements.  Discussion of what to leave for the colouring stage and what to draw in with line; depending on the look you are after with the final image.


90 Minutes of demonstration; covering the creation of our finished line-work.



Create finished lines from last week’s final rough drawing. Focus on maintaining the character and as much life from your loose drawing as possible while creating polished lines.
If you are creating a scene, decide what elements will be behind/in-front of each other and draw them on separate layers to make adding effects easier when you colour.


Spend 2-3 hours or more.

Week 8 - Colouring

Week Eight


Scene: Colouring

Create a final coloured Illustration: This week we are going to put all the techniques learnt over the last 7 weeks into practice to create a polished final image.

We will cover combining separate elements into a single image. Painting backgrounds and blending them with our line-work along with adding special effects. Colour correcting our image along with adding depth where needed to create good foreground background and middle-ground planes. Adjusting our focal areas with adjustment layers, adding motion-blur or focal-blur, lights, magical spells, and any other final touches to help push this final image to the next level.


90 Minutes of demonstration; going over the process of colouring our image, then making final tweaks and adjustments.



Colour and add finishing touches to your line-work created last week. If suitable; add special effects and/or painted background elements.
If you are creating a scene, use adjustment layers and atmospheric passes to help bring the different elements of your image together.


Spend 3-4 hours or more.


Student Requirements


  • Wacom graphics tablet or equivalent. 


  • Adobe Photoshop 


  • A basic understanding of Photoshop and digital drawing is required for the course. 
  • This is an intermediate course

  • “ I really liked this course! Tim is a great tutor! This was my 5th course here at CGS. Though these were all great, this is the first time I think about doing the course again later, because I liked it that much and still have so much to practice linework ”
  • “ Tim showed how he does illustrations and complete pages from thumbnails over rough line work to final inking and colouring. He gave invaluable advice in drawing and how you get your ideas out of your mind and on paper (or better on screen). In short: Everything you could wish for ”
  • “ It was a wonderful workshop and Tim was an amazing instructor. He helped us out with all our works and even provided us with valuable tips and guides. Looking forward to more courses from Tim. ”



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