PAD is up and running

Just a quick update especially for those who live in Sydney and around about new and exciting educational opportunities. Those living overseas can have a look at what’s happening Down Under in the arts education and compare to what is available where you live.

PADProduction Art Department is Sydney’s first illustration school for entertainment design. The course it provides has been designed from the ground up by industry professionals. What is it all about?
Ever wished you could design landscapes for films, never before conceived sets for games or unique and original characters for either of the above or comic books? Well, if you did, now you have a chance to make your dreams come true. How?
To quote from the PAD website:
“PAD places core artistic skills at the very centre of its program. We consider technology to be a tool for artistic creation, in the same way that a brush is a tool for painting. Just as a brush will not make you a better painter, knowledge of software will not make you a better artist. For this reason, PAD focuses on the core artistic skills that enable you to use both brushes and software to create outstanding artworks.”

The core artistic skills are taught in four areas. Perspective, Light, Anatomy and Narrative. The students on top of the knowledge gained in these 4 keys areas, will be able to develop conceptual skills, design skills and execution skills. Figure Drawing Online will be providing the tuition of anatomy.

But have a look for yourselves what amazing skills and knowledge you can gain at the state of the art facilities of this unique school by attending this course.

Update from the Masterclass

Hello everyone, I’m a bit behind in reporting on the progress of the students in the Masterclass. We had the last session last Thursday. Just wait to see the comparison images documenting what everyone learnt in just 8 three hour long sessions.

But first, I want you to see what they did with the session on the hand. As I said in the News from the Classroom update on the Masterclass website, massing is everything. It seems to be a generally accepted idea that feet, hands and faces are the hardest to draw. With feet I usually base my teaching on anatomy, we talk about the bones and muscles. However with the hands, I base the entire”know how” on massing.



















After the theory, each student draws his/hes own hand. There is a link in all this. We know (no matter how unconsciously) our own hands. We just do. And this knowledge, coupled with the freshly learnt massing produces unbelievable results.


Would you say these are the first few dedicated drawings of hands of a student in the beginners class? Every term when this happens, I’m amazed. Good stuff.

Masterclass Update

Forging ahead with the shoulder girdle and upper arm. The shoulder is one of the most expressive parts of the human body. It’s flexibility and range of movement largely independent from the rib cage creates a huge source of rhytmic movement.
An important bit to learn is the fact that the shoulder girdle sits atop of the rib cage and is so independent that the clavicles or the sclapulae cannot be used to determine the position of the rib cage for successful massing. For that we need to stick to rib cage’s landmarks, the seventh cervical vertebrae, the pit of the neck, the lenght and orientation of the sternum, the bottom of the tenth rib…

What’s it all about..

As all of you who read my posts or watched any of my recorded lectures well know, at the heart of learning and mastering figure drawing is the basic rule: We don’t draw what we see, we draw what we know. No amount of concentrated observation on its own (although coupled with knowledge it does help to see not only to look) will make the drawing work. Once we accept this very basic idea, we can recognise the need for all the study the old masters were willing to undertake in order to master the human figure. No amount of danger from inquisition during the Renaissance would turn away the daring artist willing to find a corpse to dissect in order to understand, to learn and to know how the body works.

Luckily for us, today, with all the technology available we are not doomed to do the same. We can study anatomy from the comfort of our living rooms. But the underlying principle remains the same. Study so that we can know what to draw. Nobody is denying the importance of the model. Many masterpieces stem from the ideas suggested by the pose of the model. But we need to know what it looks like what we want draw looking at the model. Know.

The ultimate in figure drawing is not to copy the model as faithfully as possible. The ultimate is to use the learnt tool of figure drawing to create, to communicate to bring about imagery of the human figure from our unconscious and beyond. To sit down and be able to express ourselves with the form that is closest to us – the human figure.

Phew! After all that, here comes what I wanted to say and show you. About halfway through the course I teach in person at Masterclass I tend to invite the students to create, rather than copy the model. This may prove to be quite difficult when you are looking at the model. So we took a break and I asked the students to take 5 – 10 minutes and draw me a seated figure. Any figure in any seated position in any view or angle. No limits. These are students who only had 3 and a half sessions. There was no model present, no aids. They had to rely on what they know. Below are two results. I was expecting good stuff, but this surpassed my expectations.

Last Friday at Masterclass

We all had a great time at the latest session of Masterclass. This time around we talked about the lower leg and the foot. We aslo did a bit of an early experiment which huge results. I will post on that tomorrow. For now, here’s two of the students converting the freshly learnt knowledge.


New Figure Drawing Website

Hello everyone, trust you are all ok and doing well. As I said in an earlier post with the completion of the last lecture (Lecture 13 – Facial Features) the beginners course is now complete. And that brings along a few changes including the new pricing.

You can still purchase a single or only a few lectures if you wish in a variety of formats, however the new pricing favours the Course as a single purchase as it represents a complete take on beginners figure drawing, guiding the student through the whole of the human body. The separate lectures often recall material discussed in the earlier episodes and so it is useful to have them all available.

The look of the new website’s home page:

The new pricing
Since many of you are in the process of getting the lectures one by one, I will keep the current pricing for the next 6 weeks as is, to give you a chance to get the missing lectures. The new website and the new pricing listed below will start from Sunday 31 March 2013.

Current Pricing
Lectures 1 – 13 Download Edition – AUD 30.00 each
Lectures 1 – 13 Download Edition received in mail – AUD 30.00 each + postage*
Lectures 1 – 13 DVD Edition (PAL and NTSC) – AUD 40.00 each + postage*
Lectures 1 – 13 DVD Value Pack (PAL and NTSC) – AUD 520.00 free postage
Lecture 0 Where To Start – AUD 20.00
* to check how much the postage is, add the desired purchase to the shopping cart

New Pricing (starts on Sunday, 31 March 2013)
Lectures 1 – 13 Whole Course Download Edition
AUD 499.00 + Lecture 0 Where To Start worth AUD 20.00 for free
Lectures 1 – 13 Whole Course Download Edition received in mail
AUD 499.00 + postage* + Lecture 0 Where To Start worth AUD 20.00 for free
Lectures 1 – 13 Single Episodes Download Edition
AUD 49.00 each
Lectures 1 – 13 Single Episodes Download Edition received in mail
AUD 49.00 each + postage*
Lectures 1 – 13 Whole Course DVD Edition (PAL and NTSC)
AUD 599.00 + postage* + Lecture 0 Where To Start worth AUD 20.00 for free
Lectures 1 – 13 DVD Edition (PAL and NTSC) Single Episodes
AUD 59.00 each + postage*
* to check how much the postage is, add the desired purchase to the shopping cart.
Note: Lecture 0 Where To Start will no longer be available as a purchase, however will be added as a free bonus worth AUD 20.00 for those who buy the whole course in any format.

New video series
There is also a new series of short free videos coming soon, dealing with the most common mistakes we make while learning to draw. These are the mistakes that take time to see, however if a teacher points them out, we can really accelerate our progress. The videos will be published on this blog.

Hope this all makes sense. If you have any questions, post a comment so everyone can benefit, or email me.


The Lecture on the Skull is ready

Hello everyone, the second last lecture in the Beginner series is now ready.

The head has always been a great challenge for the artist. After all we are very accustomed to look into each others faces and read them to understand each other. We are very good at seeing when something is not quite right. And we do it fast and without thinking.

I have therefore divided the lecture on the head into two parts, the Skull and the Facial Features. The Skull is now ready and don’t forget to watch the free version of it here. This lecture also describes the basic set of human emotions and which muscles create them.

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 12.04.20 PM

What makes a statement?

Some time ago I started a thought comparing an accomplished draftsperson and an artist. You can find this article here.

In the meantime I continued the thought:

I suggested in my previous blog that the difference between an excellent draftsperson versed in anatomy, perspective, elements of drawing and all the other disciplines needed to produce a realistic, believable figure drawing and an artist is that the latter uses the realistic, believable figure drawing as a tool to make a statement. One could say that the draftsperson makes a copy of what he is looking at, while the artist uses what he’s looking at to create.Everyone can learn to draw. And fairly fast. Of course the more time one spends practicing the faster the results arrive. Just like learning a new language. Have to learn the letters, grammar and words before one can make coherent sentences. The equivalent of this stage in figure drawing would be the ability to draw a nice, realistic, believable copy of a model.

But apart from being able to ask where the post office is and comment on good weather, there’s a lot more to interaction in the newly learnt language. Exchanging ideas, being playful, make and understand a joke, make a point. The same applies to figure drawing. Once we are able to copy what we see by applying basic rules that can be learnt and practiced, we can take the next step. When I teach figure drawing, already in the beginners course I split the 8 weeks in half and I tell the students right at the start that in the second half of the corse I want them to cross over from copying only to partly creating. Let me explain on the following example. Modelling is not easy and the models get tired sitting in a pose for 20 minutes. That’s not surprising, all kind of hidden pains and cramps surface just after a few minutes. So what the models often do is they rely on the skeletal structure to hold them up in overextended positions. Prime example of this is the hyper extension of the elbow. It becomes bent a bit over the limit of what it should be. It’s not painful, but it looks unnatural.













Now that you are looking at a photo, you just accept it as it is. It is a photo. But imagine an exact realistic drawing of those elbows and cramped fingers. That just would not look right. Armed with the knowledge of anatomy we can take the next step and use the model and the pose as an inspiration and change the existing pose to create a position in which the elbow looks different. Have a look at the quick sketch below.
 Of course there may be occasions when to create means using an extended elbow, but to train oneself into more creating and storytelling figure drawing rather than just copying opens up a whole new world of possibilities. According to some experts up to 93% of our communication is non verbal. Body language, facial expressions and gestures are there to be used to create that statement. And what is that statement? That’s up to each and every one of us alone. It is what we want to communicate to the rest of the society. Of course that kind of figure drawing takes longer to master. In fact it is a life long effort, but it takes you places where you get to know yourself that much better.

Sharing the Blog

Unofficially it’s been like this for a while. Sharing the blog between both the Online Class and Masterclass. I’ve added a link onto the Masterclass site for the students (and potential students alike) to find the blog easier and to be able to contribute and share their work if they choose to. You will find an extra link on the blog’s own menu bar which will allow you to either return to the Online Class or to the Masterclass where I teach in person here in Sydney.

Like I said earlier, it’s been like that for a while now, after all the content I teach is the same in both, the successes and struggles are more than comparable so I believe it was time to merge the two to share the blog and the resources it is offering.

Term 4 of Masterclass is complete

Every term it comes to this. The last session. And I have to confess it feels hard to let go of a group of students who just want to learn and get good at figure drawing. But there may be an opening for more. I’ll talk about that in the next post. For now, just have a look at the brilliant progress these artists made in just 8 three hour sessions. Staggering.


Latest session of the Masterclass

Last friday we took on the lower arm and the hand at the Masterclass. There is an enormous amount of information one needs to take in and digest just in these two parts of the body. The key, of course, is the ability to simplify complex shapes and forms and group those muscles that run in the same direction and perform the same or very similar function.
In case of the hand one needs to know what the bones look like – after all they dictate the shape, size and proportional relationship, however, massing and perspective is everything. Especially in regards to the hand. Once the complex form is broken down, the correct positioning of the parts will determine the success and believability of the drawing.


Masterclass delivers

The Addison Rd Figure Drawing Masterclass had another weekly session. The subject was the Lower Leg and the Foot. We had great results through learning more about how the body works and just by sticking to the basic rules. Can’t stress enough how important are the simplest of the rules in figure drawing. Rules like “Draw the large mass first. The detail embedded in the large mass will follow it. If the large mass is not in the right place and perspective all we end up with is a scattered set of floating details that don’t resemble a human body. So forget the nipple, make sure the rib cage is where it needs to be.”
Check out the new photos on the masterclass website.

The Ultimate Figure Drawing Masterclass in Sydney now.

Great news for those living in Sydney. Following the success of Figure Drawing Online, the Ultimate Figure Drawing Master Class course is now available in Sydney’s Inner West, at the Addison Road Centre in Marrickville.
The first course will be for Beginners to Intermediate – running at the same time as school term 2. An advanced course will be available next term for those who have completed the first course. For more information and class content, or to make a booking, please have a look here. To express interest in the course or if you have any questions, email Robert. Very exciting!