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Building Blocks
Student Comments
"Thereís no
way your
paintings canít
improve after
this course"
"Iíve been painting on my own for a while and thought I was doing okay. Now that Iím taking this course I see so many things I can learn from that will make my work so much better. This is the stuff you canít get in art school anymore, sadly. Thereís no way your paintings canít improve after this course. Thatís how strongly I feel about it." ... Bob Akers., Crystal Lake, IL, United States

"...really superb"

"I find your courses really superb in two ways: first they are very complete and comprehensive, and second they go straight to the point, to the essentials. Both my wife and I paint and we both agree that these art instruction courses are one of the best sources of education for people who want to learn to paint in a direct or alla prima style" Bernado Martin, Alicante, Spain.

Erika is
her dream
"This course is truly well run, professionally handled -- and I can only echo the great comments of other students: I am glad, I enrolled in this course!! I got so much out of it already -- lots of explanations, areas to study up on, other artists to learn from. AND I am not at the end of the course, yet. I am getting more and more confident and bold enough to follow my dream -- to become a proficient and sensitive artist. Erika, USA, 2009
"...already noticed
in my work"
"In my opinion, your material is the best I have found. It builds the basics, from the ground up, recognizing that there are no short cuts.....Your course puts all the right info into one package, and even more important, it gives me an organized, building block way to get these things into my head, and I have already noticed an improvement in my work," George, USA
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Building Block: Drawing

Learn the basis of all great painting.
What is included in the Drawing Building Block?
There are a lot of different techniques for learning drawing - gesture, contour, envelopes, scribble line, mass, and so on. But with all these techniques to choose from, where do you start to learn how to draw? how do you decide which technique to choose? In these drawing courses you will learn all the individual techniques, then we help you put it all together to take away the confusion and help you learn how to draw better. For example, the technique of triangulation is absolutely critical and you should do this all the time if you want to learn how to draw accurately.

These courses also cover all the techniques of perspective that you actually need for painting and explain them in simple terms so you can understand this difficult topic more easily.
You will learn:
triangulation - a critical technique for learning how to draw more accurately.
angular transfer - a quick and easy way to learn how to draw in perspective.
envelopes - how to draw complex shapes.
scribble lines and mass gesture - learn how to start a drawing.
contour drawing - and when it is best to do it .
envelopes - how to draw complex shapes.
measurement - the best techniques to use to check your drawing .
perspective - learn the basics of how to draw in perspective, and some more advanced techniques for those special occasions when you need them .
How does it work?
Buy Membership
  Academy membership costs $79 USD per month and gives you a private account on our system where you can access our lessons, assignments & online community. Access to the online campus means you can upload your assignments and share them with other students from across the world, as well as access to supplemental learning materials such as videos and examples. You can cancel your membership at any time.
No Risk Trial
There are no commitments to the Painting Academy. You can cancel at any time, there are no contracts. You're free to go, free to stay.
"The material is very well presented and easy to understand - no lengthy explanations but short and condensed paragraphs with a load of very valuable information. Along with plenty of illustrations, this makes it a fun and easy study."

What is included in each course unit?


Unit 1 - Gesture

To improve your drawing skills y ou should always be sketching. Keep a sketchbook with you as much as possible and draw anything and everything using the quick sketch technique. The quick sketch technique uses a broken contour drawing approach and differentiates between important (structural) and less important (nonstructural) lines. Try to capture the essential structural elements of the figure and surroundings in five minutes or less.
In this unit you will learn some of the basics of preparing to draw, as well as the most important drawing techniques that will help your drawing improve faster. You will learn:
  • the proper setup for drawing to avoid distortion
  • the correct position to hold the drawing tool to give you the maximum control over your lines
  • which easels, drawing tools, drawing paper and erasers to use and when
  • five alternatives to live models to help you practice your drawing accuracy
  • a sketch technique for efficiently capturing a fleeting subject in five-minutes
  • two gesture drawing techniques that will help you establish size and placement quickly - the essential first step to producing an accurate drawing
  • the most useful and quickest technique to check that your drawing has accurate proportions

Unit 2 - Accuracy

In this drawing you can see a number of what are called "organizational lines". These lines help to make your drawings accurate. You can use techniques such as levels and plumb lines to check for errors in alignment, as well as various other techniques such as comparative measurement for making sure your proportions are accurate. If you do not get your drawing accurate, no amount of color or detail will make the painting look good. The good news is that these techniques are fairly simple once you know how to do them.
In this unit you will learn the principle techniques for achieving accurate proportions in your drawings. These techniques are critically important for you to master if you want to do any kind of figure or portrait work. They are also important for other subject matter to give your work "believablity". You will learn:
  • the slant measurement technique to ensure the angles of all your lines are accurate
  • the triangulation technique to systematically build up accurate proportions, step-by-step
  • how to use envelopes to simplify complex shapes and make them easier to draw
  • how to levels and plumb lines to double check your accuracy
  • the comparative measurement technique to ensure the lengths of your lines are accurate
  • the midpoint establishment technique to ensure the two major halves of your drawing are accurate
  • the glass drawing technique used by the old masters to draw accurately, and useful for helping you learn how to see

Unit 3 - Contour

From infancy, the left part of the brain starts to symbolize what it sees and ignores the right half which sees things as they are. A face instead of being a complex skull shape with eye, nose and muzzle forms superimposed on it becomes symbolized as a circle with two smaller circles for eyes, a triangle for a nose and a curved line for the mouth. You no longer actually see what is really there. The secret to drawing is to learn to switch off this left part of your brain so that you just see everything as shapes, not objects. Here are some techniques for doing that: avoid staring, negative shapes, mirror images, meditation.
This unit shows you how to refine your drawing by capturing the character of the curves in your subject. You will learn:
  • how to practice drawing curves using the contour drawing technique
  • how to simplify the drawing of curves using the straight-line approximation technique
  • six techniques to swich you into right-brain mode and help you overcome some of the problems that prevent most people being able to draw accurately
  • how to make a black mirror to help you check your drawing accuracy and see values better
  • how to use cross-contours to give your drawing a sense of volume

Unit 4 - Putting It All Together

In previous units we have covered individually the building block techniques you need to know to draw well. In this unit you will learn how to put together all these separate techniques in order to create an accurate drawing. This integration of techniques is the most difficult part, and is rarely addressed in books on drawing. In this unit we will try to explore what goes on inside the mind of an expert draftsman.
In this unit you will learn the two major approaches to drawing:
  • the mass drawing approach, and
  • the linear drawing approach

Unit 5 - Basic Perspective

The horizon line or eye level is the line at which the artist sees flat land or sea meet the sky. On hilly land you cannot see this line so you have to imagine it. The line is where your eyes are looking if you do not look either up or down but just look straight ahead. You can get different feelings for your paintings by changing the position of this horizon line or artist's eye-level, compared to the eye level of your model or any figures in the painting. The artist may be at model eye level, above model eye level, or below model eye level.
In this unit you will learn as much about perspective as you need for the majority of your paintings. These are the rough and ready practical techniques you can use out in the field or in the studio. You will learn a simple and practical approach to linear perspective, and the essentials of drawing ellipses - a critical skill for all painters that distinguishes the amateur from the professional. You will learn the techniques of:
  • Angular transfer - a rough and ready technique you can use without knowing anything at all about the science of perspective that will give you fairly accurate results
  • Different horizon lines
  • How to use horizontal lines and vanishing points to increase the accuracy of your perspective drawing
  • Perspective center
  • Drawing ellipses
  • Drawing a cylinder
  • Hemispheres and umbrellas
  • Fixing complex drawings

Unit 6 - Advanced Perspective

This unit covers the advanced techniques of perspective drawing that you need for certain paintings in order to make them look convincing. You will learn:
  • How to make the curve of an archway look real
  • How to deal with perspective when a street is curving
  • How to deal with perspective on a sloping street
  • Combining curved and sloping streets
  • How to determine the spacing in a line of fence posts or a row of trees flanking a road
  • How to get the spacing correct on paving slabs or tiles lying on a horizontal surface
  • How to draw an ellipse accurately in a square
  • What to do when the circle is not viewed directly on
  • Tips for drawing cylinders accurately
  • Two approaches for constructing ellipses when absolute accuracy is important
Our comprehensive 4 year program of study
for all levels

The Painting Academy is designed to be both suitable for beginners and professionals alike. If you are serious about improving your painting skills, no matter your current level, and you want to become an excellent artist and you are looking for a comprehensive in-depth program of study that's expertly organized, then look no further. You will get immediate access to:
192 Lessons
340 Assignments
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