How to control space and place in the comics panel

Drawing backgrounds, environments and details for comics by our master illustrator, Justine Mara Andersen.

Course curriculum

    1. Layers Exercise #1

    2. The Hidden Layers of the Hudson River School

    3. Demo 1, Tracing Layers

    4. Overlay Exercise - Exercise 2

    5. Demo 2, Rendering in Black and White

    6. Layered Landscape 2 (Exercise #3)

    1. Details Exercise

    2. Presentation 2: Detailed Drawings

    3. Details That Work, Details That Clutter

    4. Details Assignment (Assignment #5)

    5. BONUS Freebie! Depth and Details In Bollywood and India

    6. Bonus: SAW Classtime: Justine on Depth and Details

    1. 03 - Wrightson, Frazetta, Justine

    2. Video 1 of 2: Justine's Details

    3. Exercise: Organizing Details

    4. Organizing Exercise

    5. Video 2 of 2: Wrightson and Frazetta

    6. More Examples of Caves of Wonder

    1. Presentation #4: Mara Breakdown

    2. Mara Detail By Detail Breakdown

    3. Exercise: Junk Pile

    1. Intro to Crowds and Groups

    2. Groupings, Crowds, and Windows Through Time Video Presentation

    3. Exercise - Groupings, Crowds, and Windows Through Time

    4. Bonus: Typical Perspective Errors PDF

    1. Final Assignment - Session 2 - An Image in a Ruin

About this course

  • $249.00
  • 26 lessons
  • 4.5 hours of video content

Justine Mara Andersen

Instructor Bio:


Hey, I'm Justine, and I've been with SAW from the beginning. Before SAW I was a veteran pro... but before that, I, presumably, like you, had no idea where to begin. I had ambition, hunger, desire, but no focus, no discipline, no chops, and worse, no mentors. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew how lousy I was and how little I knew, and worse, that no one at college was qualified to help me learn what I really needed to know.

The worst part was, I was so ignorant when it came not only to art, but to comics, that I was drowning in my own naivete. I didn't know where to begin...

Then I met my mentors, P. Craig Russell, Val Mayerik, Dan Adkins, Jim Steranko, Frank Thorne, John Workman, and Jeff Jones. At first it was brutal, I was immediately confronted with the shameful realization that I didn't know a damn thing bout drawing, nor about comics, and I suddenly felt an urgent need to get it together and get down to the hard work of learning the hard stuff, of learning the discipline of setting aside the fun stuff to focus on fundamentals.

Then, for decades, I worked 60 hours a week, I made a lot of sacrifices, and did every damn thing my mentors told me to do. In that time, I completed 4 published graphic novels for Fantagraphics, inked for DC Comics, Image Comics, and created hundreds of illustrations for WOTC/Dungeons & Dragons, as well as for Lucasfilm, and countless more images for numerous clients in a wide range of projects from ballet stage design to animation.

It's my philosophy that most of my students have set the bar too low for themselves, that they have no idea just how good and how BIG they can become as artists, if only they make wise conscious choices.

What I excel at is saving my students time and suffering. I learned it the hard way so my students don't have to. Of all the gifts I have, perhaps the one I am most proud of is my ability to take complicated concepts and distill them into something I can pass along to my students. My students not only learn from my successes, but my failures, and if you learn from me, you are not only learning from me, but you will be learning all my mentors taught me.

Through me, they and my own life lessons will all be teaching you together, and not just how to draw good comics, but about how to prioritize, set achievable goals, and how to avoid temptation and learn the discipline it takes to become great rather than merely good.

My website is

Justine Mara Andersen

Drawing and Inking Maven