Creative Sketching: Fill Your Illustrations with Life and Detail

A course by Mattias Adolfsson
Illustrator. Sigtuna, Sweden.
On Domestika since 12/13/2019
, Illustrator

Create artwork filled with intricate ideas while maintaining balance and harmony

  • 413 students
  • Audio: English
Creative Sketching: Fill Your Illustrations with Life and Detail

Create artwork filled with intricate ideas while maintaining balance and harmony

  • Available from January 21, 2021
  • 413 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: English
  • Level: Beginner
  • Available from the app
  • Unlimited access forever

Would you like to learn how to merge all your sketch ideas into a single scene with a balanced and intriguing composition? Discover Mattias Adolfsson’s method for creating scenes that invite the viewer to observe its intricately illustrated details up close.

Renowned for his playful characters and humorous, detailed artwork, Mattias creates illustrations for magazines like The New Yorker, The Hollywood Reporter, and The New York Times, as well as animation studios like Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, and Disney.

In this course, he shows you how to master composition techniques and organize your sketches and ideas into one detailed figurative piece. If you would like to learn how to get started developing your first sketches and ideas, Mattias gives you all the tools you need to become an avid sketcher in his first course: The Art of Sketching: Transform Your Doodles into Art.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Getting Ready
  • U3
    U3. Planning, Sketching and Inking
  • U4
    U4. Finalizing Your Piece
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Meet Mattias, discover how he uses his childhood as creative inspiration in his work, and see some of his recent work. Learn how he uses art history as inspiration for his illustrations and find out what is covered in this course.

Start by testing out your material and carrying out some research to find a space you would like to illustrate. Then develop the story behind your piece by writing down a list of things you want to include in your artwork. Create a mood board to use as a reference when illustrating.

Draw small thumbnail-sized sketches to plan out your composition and do a full-sized detailed pencil drawing of the result. Ink your pencil lines and apply a wash for shading before adding color to complete your final piece.

Once you’re happy with the result, learn how to scan your illustration. Then see how Mattias uses Photoshop to stitch parts of your drawing together before making the final edits to your illustration.

What is this course's project?

Create a highly detailed figurative illustration that gets more interesting the closer you look.

Who is it for?

This course is for those who love to draw, sketch, and illustrate, with intermediate-level drawing skills, as well as experience in perspective drawing and in working with the materials used in the course.

What you need

Intermediate-level drawing skills and previous experience in perspective drawing is required to take the course.

As for materials, you will need ink pens (fountain pens, fine liners, or dip pens), a pencil, an eraser, a ruler, drawing paper, watercolors, and a sketchbook. For the digital work of your project, you’ll need a computer with Adobe Photoshop and a scanner.

Although Mattias doesn’t teach digital illustration in the course, you can also create your illustration digitally using an iPad or graphics tablet.

Mattias Adolfsson

A course by Mattias Adolfsson


Mattias Adolfsson has been working as a freelance illustrator for over eleven years. While working as a graphic designer in the computer games industry, he started sharing his work on social media, where he began his successful career in illustration.

His long list of clients includes Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, and other important animation studios. He has also illustrated for magazines including The New Yorker, The Hollywood Reporter, and The New York Times.

Mattias has created a variety of illustration work in areas like product design, for baby clothes brand Atelier Choux Paris, record sleeves, as well as an art commission for the largest hospital in Sweden.


  • U1


    • About Me
    • Influences
    • What We Will Do in the Course?
  • U2

    Getting Ready

    • Presentation of Materials
    • Choosing the Space
    • Choosing the Theme
    • References
  • U3

    Planning, Sketching and Inking

    • Planning Out the Composition and Perspective
    • Preliminary Sketching of Details
    • Large Pencil Sketch 1
    • Large Pencil Sketch 2
    • Inking 1
    • Inking 2
    • Inking 3
    • Wash for Shading
    • Colour 1
    • Colour 2
  • U4

    Finalizing Your Piece

    • Scanning
    • Final Details
  • FP

    Final project

    • x Advanced creative sketching

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

  • The course is 100% online, so once they are published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

  • The courses are divided into different units, each one includes lessons, informational texts, tasks and practice exercises to carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You will also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the instructor and other students, and share your work and your course project, thus creating a community around the course itself.

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Creative Sketching: Fill Your Illustrations with Life and Detail. A Illustration course by Mattias Adolfsson

Creative Sketching: Fill Your Illustrations with Life and Detail

A course by Mattias Adolfsson
Illustrator. Sigtuna, Sweden.
On Domestika since 12/13/2019
  • 413 students