69: Free Classical Art Education Curriculum & Resources
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Howdy! It's silly but I've been reading a lot of art news and getting jealous whenever an artist is described as "classically trained," because while I've received an art education, it was diverted to focus on graphic design.
[Skip over-sharing blog post. Go straight to Free Art Curriculum.]
Note: Some lessons will be difficult to learn for free without compromising on the materials. I'm boldly assuming that anyone hoping to learn art will already have some basic supplies handy but you probably wanna look over the curriculum supplies before you start learning.
Note: In school, I observed that art students are more invested in the assignment when it furthers their personal goals. For example, when assigned the task of designing a CD cover, perhaps a band member will design the album for their own band. If you see an opportunity to expand your portfolio or artist brand with any of these assignments, go for it.
It probably helps to define what a Classical Art Education is and after some googling, I didn't find a hard definition. The vibe is that a classical art education is a formal education in how to create realistic art via drawing and painting. When searching, the word atelier comes up a lot. Ateliers are master artists of realism and atelier schools focus on teaching realistic drawing and painting like the old masters (so the prominent artists, mostly of the Renaissance, but really before the 1800s when in many movements, art took a less realistic turn). If you went to an atelier school, then you received a classical art education, but if you went to a liberal arts school for studio art, then you also likely received a classical art education. They usually offer a similar curriculum to an atelier. Oddly, when defining atelier schools, I didn't initially see mention of sculpture, whereas when majoring in studio art at a liberal arts college, if you choose a focus in sculpture (and you generally can), you still receive the same foundation courses in drawing and painting. It looks like some atelier schools offer sculpture and some don't. For my curriculum purposes, I'm leaving sculpture out, mostly for monetary reasons (Clay isn't free. Nor is plaster or bronze. Marble certainly isn't.).
Growing up, I wanted to make a living working creatively and I did not see financial security in working as a full time artist. Financial security was very important to me, after having experienced severe poverty while very young. My personal compromise was aiming for a graphic design career instead of studio art. I also wanted to Minor in Illustration, but that wasn't offered at The College of Saint Rose (then purported to be the 8th best graphic design school on the east coast...according to their promotional materials), so I Minored in Art History instead. I was going to make book covers one day! That would merge my love of drawing with that of reading, maybe even writing. Then, my graphic design internships weren't exactly creative and what passion I had for the field had evaporated by graduation. Yeah, Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh were out there working creatively, so it could be done, but my options in upstate New York, especially as a non-driver, were very limited.
After a disappointing job hunt, I accepted a security position, and then learning there was a tattoo parlor next door to my new job (remember—the commute matters a lot to non-drivers!), I applied for an apprenticeship. I spent the next 3 years genuinely trying to force myself into the role of professional tattoo artist. For a lot of reasons (nerves, social anxiety in a position that demanded a sense of intimacy with strangers, the general dislike of some of the old timers towards soft little old me, working initially under—then alongside a racist/sexist employee, how little income I made from our small out-of-the-way shop, the late nights, etc) I was not suited to the role of tattoo artist. However, I don't regret that time because I spent it drawing. Somehow I failed to learn watercoloring (the preferred flash medium for most tattoo artists) and really delved into working with Prismacolor pencils instead. While I no longer prefer color pencil as my go-to art medium, that artistic growth is visible when I look to my old rougher techniques in every medium, versus the cleaner, more precise, graphic look of my more recent works.
Leaving tattooing behind was hard. I'd invested three years in a field I would progress no further in, and worse, I'd taken three years away from building up a graphic design career. Who would hire a graphic designer who hadn't toughed Adobe in multiple years? Security paid well enough (Yes. I remained a full-time guard the entire time I was tattooing. Had I quit security to tattoo full-time, I'm confident I would have struggled to pay my bills.) but it was oddly shameful. I liked my coworkers, the building, my commute, the pay, and the benefits, but I didn't like how some guests looked down on guards, make comments about how we were overpaid, under educated, wannabe cops. Those comments were more frequent when I worked mall security as a college student, but they still came, and not always from guests. When I visited my hometown, friends of the family would ask me why I wasn't doing more with my life.
By this time, I'd gotten my bachelors degree, learned to tattoo, had drawn hundreds of pages of tattoo flash, and written two (unedited, thus unfinished) novels. But I ceded that they were right (not that Security isn't a valid career. Just that it wasn't what I'd intended for myself and it was time to move on). So, I saved up, quit my job, and blew all that money backpacking/soul searching in Europe, then founding a fresh start in Philadelphia, PA. In Philly, I fully intended to take whatever low paying design job I could find. If not design, then gallery management. I would accept an internship if offered. I had to start over somewhere. Unfortunately, I couldn't find design work or gallery management positions. I couldn't even land an interview. Instead, I found a job at Starbucks, wrote another novel, and worked on learning to watercolor. I'd done small watercolors while in Europe, that I called paint-and-sips since those were how we spent our low-budget days, painting in the parks, but they were very modest in scale, and I'd cheated, lining the majority of those with white paint marker. Which, while stylistically, can look nice, was my attempt at covering the quick sharpie outlines with which I drew. In Philly, I put the paint marker away, and gave myself about a day to knock out each 8x10 inch watercolor. My husband and I both hated our jobs and there was a shooting on our block, so we jumped at the first chance to leave Philly, ultimately heading for Austin, TX.
The position my husband accepted, the reason we flew to Austin, fell through at the last minute. We came anyway, accepting whatever work we could find, coincidentally both at pizza shops, just to make ends meet. During this time I continued painting. He left the pizza shop for a sales position. I left my pizza shop for a seasonal data entry position. By the time that gig concluded, we were comfortable enough with my husband's income that I could focus solely on my art. Knowing I wanted to paint but not how or what, I tried a lot of different subject matter and styles, working thickly, then more thinly, playing with different levels of detail, trying out the palette knife. While my graphic design education had an emphasis on drawing (so I've actually already completed some of the Classical Art Education lessons and assignments below, over a decade ago), I never took a college course on painting. My first, I'd say, four-ish paintings in Austin were the self-taught equivalent of throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks.
From the beginning, with my oils, I was composing the images in Photoshop first, then painting those mockups. Around the fifth painting, there was this scene of scattered bones, floating over a cityscape night scene, with transparencies in the bones, so the street lights showed through. While, I'm not a fan of how thickly I painted that image, or that the acrylic base shows through the oils, I felt that transparencies of a background hinted at through the foreground object, had potential. That basic theme determined the majority of the next thirty-one paintings I completed. In the beginning, I struggled to complete one a day, as I had with the watercolors. Unfortunately, as these oil paintings were 16x20 inches, they were much larger, and therefore, more demanding projects, which meant less time for sleeping/life. I could compromise the level of details in each piece, or my wellbeing, if I wanted to continue working at that pace. Bare in mind, I continued to write as well. My oil paintings benefited from the removal of my arbitrary time limits. I did not finish thirty-one paintings in a month (Inktober) as I'd planned, but I did finish them.
When I exhausted the original thirty-one mockups, I began to move away from the theme of transparencies, eventually doing a brief series on (digitally altered) still lives, then another slightly longer series on (digitally collaged) dolls. Lately, I've moved away from digital collages for my mockups. Instead, I've gathered a large collection of magazines, that I've taken to collecting reference materials from, and collaging. Then that collage is digitally edited, improved, and reproduced in either oils, at 16x20 inches, or in watercolor, generally at 8x10 inches. The collage, not being the finished piece, is taken apart and the elements re-used in future projects. I like my work, but as you can see if you've read to this point, I'm not classically trained. At best, I'm half trained. And I have to wonder, how would a full classical education impact my style, and the speed at which I work? Because, as far as I can tell, I'm an especially slow painter, and it isn't as though my pieces are overly detailed.
All that to say, I've spent the last several days compiling this simplified (I've gotta say that part out loud so nobody thinks the list below is the equivalent of a studio art degree in terms of experience. Aside from how completing this list will take less time than pursuing a traditional art degree, it also lacks specialized professors who can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses to guide you towards growth, and critique groups for likewise.) classical art curriculum, complete with free lessons. I cannot afford to go back to college to pursue studio art but I can practice at home. And so can you.
Free simplified Classical Art Education Curriculum:
Note: This curriculum is flexible with regards to supplies because the point is to not have to spent money (and I'm boldly assuming folks who want to learn art already have some supplies at home).
Note: Asterisks before a lesson or assignment are just my way of keeping track of what I've completed.
Ideal supplies: (these numbers correspond with the number of their proposed substitutions in following list)
2B graphite pencils
charcoal (vine sticks and pencils)
white paper sketchpad
pastel paper sketchpad
Bargue Drawing Course book by Charles Bargue OR a computer/laptop with the ability to open pdfs and a printer with black ink and printer paper (with which to print lithographs from the book)
4 white plaster casts of parts of a realistic human figure (preferably of varying complexity)
fruit & accompanying dishes, including a metallic object
stand & desk lamps
Canvases. The size isn't important but you need something to paint on.
Full color spectrum of oil paint (Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Crimson, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Titanium White, Ivory Black)
Turpenoid or Turpentine
Suggested Substitutions for supplies you're lacking:
Whatever pencils you have are fine. Pens won't work.
Black Prismacolor pencils can work instead of 2B pencil or charcoal (and 2B pencils can be exchanged for charcoal and vice versa. If all you have is paint, use that. Markers will not work for this. You want to complete each drawing with the same tools you began it with. No switching one black drawing utensil for another alternative type in the middle of a drawing.
White Prismacolor pencils can work instead of white chalk and should be used instead of white chalk IF you are using black Prismacolor pencils. If all you have is paint, use that. Markers will not work for this.
A ruler can be replaced by anything with a straight edge. Rarely do measurements come up in the assignments and they were arbitrarily set so skip them if they're a problem.
If you really don't have a printer, you can get away with drawing Bargue's from the screen. If you really don't have a computer, consider taking out library books that have black and white lithographs of human parts on them (the librarian can help you find these), and draw from those instead.
You need something to work on. It should be, but does not have to be, white. Size isn't super important, thought the bigger, the greater the challenge for the later pieces, and the more you will grow.
You need something muted, but not white, to work on. It should be, but does not have to be, pastels. Size isn't super important, thought the bigger, the greater the challenge for the later pieces, and the more you will grow. Maybe color a white sheet of paper with pastel watercolors or tea or coffee if you have those, and use that.
Instead of plaster casts of human parts, think creatively, and use what you have or what you have access to. The goal is human shaped, white, and realistic. Make as few compromises as possible but the goal is to learn, and you can learn from drawing a bronze statue at the park, just fine. You probably don't have to spend money on this for the lesson to have an impact.
The fruit and dishes are for still lives. If you don't have those, use whatever knick-knacks you have, and when you get to that series of assignments, make your earlier still lives simpler than your later ones.
The lamps aren't important. They are to give you control over the lighting of your still lives, portrait, and self portrait. Use what you have. Even a window can be a light source. You want white highlights and dark darks in your subject matter if possible but it's not a deal breaker.
The model will be more detailed and better for learning if they are human but a dog or a statue/manikin, you have access to, is fine.
No mirror? Work from a photograph. It's not ideal but it'll do.
No canvases? I used to paint on cardboard, poster board, & cold press boards. You can use wood. Paint on paper if that's all you have but something sturdier would be better.
You need black, white, yellow, blue, and red paint. It can be oils, acrylic, and gouache. tattoo ink actually has a lot of pigment so if that's your painting go-to, that can work. If watercolor is all you have, go for it. Prismacolor pencils or pastels are a last resort. For the cast painting assignments, if you have to work in a public space, watercolors might make the whole ordeal a little easier. Some assignments request Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber. Yellow and Brown are acceptable substitutes. You can make brown by mixing complementary colors. If you don't have oils, feel free to skip the video lessons on oil painting techniques (and save those for when you have access to oil paints) and hit up Youtube for techniques in the medium of your choice.
If you aren't using oil paints, you can probably clean your brushes with soap and water.
Art History Basics:
Goal: Gain an understanding of the history of art. This means understanding how various movements influenced each other, as well as how they impacted and were impacted by world events. You should be able to relate art you observe to these movements and be familiar with the major artists from them.
*Bonus Assignment: I suggest sketching or taking notes as you watch/read the following
*Bonus Assignment: If any one style or artist especially speaks to you, seek out more information about it/them.
*The Evolution of Art (and how it Shaped the Modern World) (~16min video)
*A Brief History of Art Movements | Behind the Masterpiece (~23min video)
*The World's First Artists - A View into the Stone Age (~23min video)
*Egyptian Art History from Goodbye-Art Academy (~8min video)
*China's Lost Tang Dynasty Murals (Art History Documentary) | Perspective (~43min video)
*Greek Art History from Goodbye-Art Academy (~8min video)
*Roman Art History from Goodbye-Art Academy (~8min video)
*Celtic Art History from Goodbye-Art Academy (~6min video)
*The HISTORY of INDIA INK | From drunk poets to sumi-e | Domestika (~6min video)
*Medieval Art History Overview from Phil Hansen (~8min video)
*Gold-Ground Panel Painting (~10min video)
*How Muslim Art Challenges The Dark Ages Myth (Waldemar Januszczak Documentary) | Perspective (~56min video)
*The Renaissance - The Age of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci (1/2) | DW Documentary (44min video)
*The Renaissance - The Age of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci (2/2) | DW Documentary (~42 min video)
*Mannerism (Late Renaissance Art) (~14min video)
*Parmigianino and El Greco (Mannerism: Part 2) (~12min video)
*Baroque - Overview - Goodbye-Art Academy (~7min video)
*Romanticism - Overview from Phil Hansen (~7min video)
*Scandinavian Folk Art (~5min video)
*Japanese History 16 - Hokusai and the Art of Wood Block Prints (~29min video)
*How Japan Influenced Van Gogh, Impressionists and Modern European Art (~10min video)
*Impressionism - Overview from Phil Hansen (~7min video) (99% sure they didn't mention that the movement away from realism was exacerbated by the invention and accessibility of cameras & photography. The more you know!🌠)
*Fauvism - Overview - Goodbye-Art Academy (~6min video)
*Post-Impressionism (~8min video)
*Art Nouveau - Overview - Goodbye-Art Academy (~5min video)
*The Quickest History of 20th Century Art in Russia (~25min video)
*African Art (~47min video) (Cubism was partially inspired by "primitive" art.)
*Aboriginal Art. The Men of Fifth World | Tribes (~6min video)
*Cubism - Overview from Phil Hansen (~6min video)
*Zhang Daqian: The "Picasso From The East"| Century Masters | Perspective (~51min video)
*Futurism in 9 Minutes: How to Rewrite Culture (~9min video)
*Dadaism in 8 Minutes: Can Everything Be Art? (~8min video)
*The Story of Art Deco (~3min video)
*Bauhaus in 7 Minutes: Revolutionary Design Movement Explained (~7min video)(As an aside, the graphic design curriculum I studied in college, was Bauhaus inspired, but didn't go so far as to demand specific diets and exercise, etc.)
*Understanding Surrealism | Art History 101 (~23min video)
*What is Pop Art? Art Movements & Styles (~4min video)
*The World of Jean-Michel Basquiat (~25min video) (There is an Andy Warhol documentary series on Netflix right now. If you have an account, I'd give it a watch. It's very informative.)
*Keith Haring: The Childlike Genius of America's Favorite Artist (~26min video)
*With muralism, Mexico’s rich tradition of public art extends well beyond its borders (~6min video)
*The Most Famous Painters Today (~13min video)
*Contemporary Art: Modern Masterpieces Or Shameless Cash Grabs? | Perspective (~1hr 20min video)
Bonus Resources for Further Learning
Khan Academy Art History Topics (Massive list of small art history lessons. You do have to log in and disable the cookies being blocked by your browser.)
*ARTnet News (Art news site that often has articles on artists and movements of decades past)
Goal: Be familiar with common proportions in the human body, specifically those of the head, hands, and overall figure.
Note: The anatomy assignments will go easier if you knock them out while watching the videos.
Human Figure Proportions:
*THE FIGURE: Know Your Landmarks & Proportions (~1hr 45min video) (You really only need to watch part 1)
*Assignment: Create a visual guide for Body Proportions
*Anatomy Quick Tips: Skulls (~20min video)
*Drawing The SKULL - Anatomy, Proportions & Construction - Anatomy 1 (~13min video)
*Assignment: Create a visual guide (or guides) for Skull Anatomy
*Facial Anatomy for Artists | 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐋𝐚𝐛 𝟏𝟎𝟏 (~1hr26min video)
*Assignment: Create your visual guide for Facial Anatomy
*ANATOMY FOR ARTISTS: The Hand-Muscles (~51min video)
*ANATOMY FOR ARTISTS: Living Anatomy-Hands (~1hr39min video)
*Assignment: Create your visual guide for Hand Anatomy
Bonus Further Learning
ANATOMY FOR ARTISTS Playlist (59 videos, mostly longer than 1hr)
This is a pretty legitimate, long, course—not the simplified education I intended to share. Make of it what you will if you choose to pursue this. I've heard that The Chicago Academy for the Arts makes studio art majors memorize the skeleton and draw it from memory, so this course style is hardcore but not unheard of.
Goal: Become comfortable recognizing and illustrating the various perspectives
*Atmospheric Perspective Explained: Create Depth in Art (~51min video)
*Understanding Linear Perspective (~9min video)
*How to Draw One Point LINEAR Perspective (1hr21min video)
*Bonus Assignment: Try and Draw along with the professors. Their guides are small so it's okay if your sketch is a little wonky.
*One & Two Point Linear Perspective for Beginners (~1hr video)
*Assignment 1: Knock out the first two of these quick projects
Assignment2: Go outside and draw some architecture using the tools you learned.
*How to Draw using 3-Point Perspective: Simple Buildings (~9min video)
*How to Draw Isometric Perspective (~21min video)
Bonus Further Learning
*How to Sketch ARCHITECTURE (~4min video)
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating a 2D image to scale via drawing and shading
How to Train Your Eyes to See like an Artist (~10min video)
Bargue Drawing, Part 1 (~14min video)
Bargue Drawing, Part 2 (~16min video)
Tool: Bargue Drawing Course by Charles Bargue (free pdf book in case your library doesn't have it)
Assignment 1: Create a smooth gradient from white to black, in a 1x8in rectangle using (2B is the preferred hardness but not necessary. The finished product isn't important. You're learning.) graphite and then a second one using charcoal. If you don't have charcoal, black pastel or black Prismacolor pencil is also fine.
Assignment 2: Print and copy as many Bargue lithographs from Bargue Drawing: Course by Charles Bargue, as you want, working from simple images to the more complex. I suggest at least three, so you can draw one simply image, one of medium difficulty, and one that is hard, in that order. It will be easier to self-critique your progress if the images you're copying, are on paper, and to-scale. I suggest working in 2B Graphite or Charcoal but black pastel or black Prismacolor pencil is also fine. Note: A quick google search will also provide Bargue lithographs you can print and draw from if you don't want to use the Bargue Drawing Course by Charles Bargue for free. Alternatively, you can buy it. It's definitely available for sale online.
Bonus Further Learning:
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating a 3D image via drawing and shading
Note: This is a little tough to do at home, for free. You need a realistic cast of part of a human figure, preferably four casts with slightly different subject matter, of varying complexity. In college, the cast was provided for me. Now however, my solution will likely be going to the free public park and drawing the sculptures there. They aren't white or human, which is a shame, but I'm learning to reproduce what I see. Abiding to arbitrary rules is less important than learning the lesson the following assignments are meant to instill. If you want to spend money, your local thrift store might have white figures that are cheap. If you have a greater budget, you can order casts online. Make of this what you can with what is available to you. If it isn't human, if it isn't white, so be it. The following video lessons are informative even without access to the casts they are using.
Classical Atelier | Classical Cast Drawing Techniques (~12min video)
Cast Drawing: The Eye of David (~10min video)
Cast Drawing, Eye of David, Part 2. (~10min video)
Advanced Cast Drawing, Block In (~10min video)
How To Finish Your Advanced Cast Drawing (~7min video)
Assignment 1: Easy skill level drawing (Graphite 2B or Charcoal (or the black equivalent) on White Paper)
Assignment 2: Difficult Skill Level Drawing (Graphite 2b or Charcoal (or the black equivalent) on White Paper)
Assignment 3: Medium Skill Level Drawing (Graphite 2b or Charcoal (or the black equivalent) AND white chalk/pastel on Pastel Paper (You can get away with construction paper but your life will be easier with something more muted.)) Note: As with the Barque assignments, the material isn't super important. You're learning so it's about the process and your progress, not the finished product. However, if you are using black Prismacolor pencils instead of black charcoal, then use white Prismacolor for your highlights, not chalk. I'm not sure how the oil content of the black Prismacolor pencils would interact with the drier white chalk.
Assignment 4: Difficult Skill Level Drawing (Graphite 2b or Charcoal (or the black equivalent) AND white chalk/pastel on Pastel Paper (You can get away with construction paper but your life will be easier with something more muted.)) Note: The material isn't super important. You're learning so it's about the process and your progress, not the finished product. However, if you are using black Prismacolor pencils instead of black charcoal, then use white Prismacolor for your highlights, not chalk. I'm not sure how the oil content of the black Prismacolor pencils would interact with the drier white chalk.
Goal: Become familiar with the moods colors evoke, basic color relationships, and how to mix colors.
COLOR THEORY BASICS (~6min video)
Learn About The Theory of Colour (~1hr19min video)
The Color Wheel: Discover the Fascinating History (Quick Read)
A Comprehensive Guide To Color Theory For Artists (Quick Read)
Psychology of Color Explained: What Is Color Psychology? (Quick Read)
Color Guide: Understanding the Use of Color in Art (Quick Read)
Why Color Studies Are So Powerful (~10min video)
A Crash Course on How to Oil Paint (~10min video)
Assignment: Make a simple basic color wheel (Yellow on top, Red and Blue on either side towards the bottom, Orange, Purple, and Green where they go.)
Assignment: Make a more complicated color wheel (I like this one but there are loads of create options if you google Color Wheels)
Assignment: Paint a simple still life from complementary colors (generally cool colors act as shadows and warm colors act as highlights but you can reverse that tendency for an interesting effect)
Assignment: Paint a simple still life from cool colors
Assignment: Paint a simple still life from warm colors
Assignment: Paint a very simple still life of a metallic object in black in white. Then paint it again in color. Then paint it again in black and white and then paint over that painting in color. Analyze the differences between these three images.
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating a 3D image via painting.
Note: This is a little tough to do at home, for free. You need a realistic cast of part of a human figure, preferably four casts with slightly different subject matter, of varying complexity. In college, when we drew, the cast was provided for me. Now however, my solution will likely be going to the free public park and painting the sculptures there. They aren't white or human, which is a shame, but I'm learning to reproduce what I see. Abiding to arbitrary rules is less important than learning the lesson the following assignments are meant to instill. If you want to spend money, your local thrift store might have white figures that are cheap. If you have a greater budget, you can order plaster casts online. Make of this what you can with what is available to you. If it isn't human, if it isn't white, so be it. The following video lessons are informative even without access to the casts they are using.
Oil Painting for Beginners - Basic Techniques + Step by Step Demonstration (~28min video)
Oil Painting Basics - Advice For Beginners (~15min video)
OIL PAINTING TIPS: How to Glaze, Scumble, and . . . GLUMBLE? (~14min video)
*Quick Tip 178 - Transparencies and Glazings (~20min video)
*How to Glaze an Oil Painting (quick read)
Paint More ACCURATELY Using THIS Process (~12min video)
VENUS | 1st Limited Palette Cast Painting (~9min video)
Assignment 1: Draw a 1x8in rectangle and create a gradient from white to black within, using oil paint
Assignment 2: Paint a simple cast with a limited palette (Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Titanium White)
Assignment 3: Paint a difficult cast with a limited palette (Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Titanium White)
Still Life Paintings:
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating more varied 3D images via colorful painting.
Oil Painting Process Broken Down: How To Paint Anything (~8min video)
Painting a STILL LIFE in OILS - Pears + Glazing Techniques! (~16min video)
Flemish painting technique (1hr 25min video)
Still Life Demonstration with Commentary | Oil Painting Tutorial (~7min video)
My 10 Best Oil Painting TIPS To Instantly Improve Your Paintings (~12min video)
Assignment 1: Paint one simple fruit still life (Black and White)
Assignment 2: Paint one medium difficulty still life (Limited Color Palette)
Assignment 3: Paint one difficult still life painting (Full Color Palette)
Bonus Assignment: Limited brush stroke still life painting project as explained in The PAINTING Exercise That Will HELP You the MOST
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating the human form via drawing and colorful painting.
Figure Drawing Fundamentals - Lesson #1 The Process (~44min video)
Figure Drawing Fundamentals - Lesson #2 Back View (~28min video)
2 Minute Gesture Drawing with Pencil (~1hr31min video)
Meditation for Artists - The Automatic Drawing Technique (~9min video)
Assignment 1: Quick sketch moving figures (these are called gesture drawings)
Assignment 2: Draw a live figure.
Assignment 3: Draw your self portrait.
How to Paint Flesh Colours Using the Zorn Palette with Alex Tzavaras (~20min video)
Oil painting - The Difference Between Transparent and Opaque Colours (~7min video)
Figure Painting Tutorial | Expressive & Simple (~1hr 25min video)
Garin Baker: "Intuitive Figure Painting" (~1hr video)
3 COLOR ZONES IN THE FACE - Ben Lustenhouwer (~34min video)
Painting Skin Tones: PORTRAIT PAINTING TECHNIQUES (~20min video)
Assignment 1:Quick paint moving figures in a sketchbook. Keep it simple.
Assignment 2: Paint a live portrait
Assignment 3: paint a Self Portrait Painting
Bonus Assignment: Challenge yourself to paint timed portraits. Give yourself 20min, and don't work too big, but try to knock out a portrait a day for a week or a month.
Goal: Become comfortable and skilled at replicating landscapes via colorful painting.
How to paint a LANDSCAPE - Loose Brushwork and Limited Palette (~25min video)
How to paint a scene from life! / Seaside En Plein Air! (~25min)
How to paint a seascape: EPISODE TWO | How to paint waves and water (~14min)
TIPS for painting STREET SCENES (~10min video)
Assignment 1: Go outside and paint what you see, a landscape preferably. Paint loosely.
Assignment 2: Go outside and paint what you see, a landscape preferably. Paint realistically, being as detailed as you can be given any time restraints.
Bonus Further Learning/Assignment:
Watch and paint along with Bob Ross Playlists (5 seasons of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross)
Finding your Style:
Goal: Pinpoint what aspects of admirable art you desire in your own works and become better acquainted with your chosen mediums through mark making and experimentation.
How to Find Your Art Style: A Guide for Artists (Quick Read)
How to find your art style FAST in 3 easy steps (~7min video)
Finding Your Style to Create Art (~6min video)
Brainstorming for Artists (~38min video)
PAINT TALK: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was A Beginner Painter (~13min video)
What It Takes To Become A Better Painter (~11min video)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness (~18min video) (Flow State relates to productivity and intuitiveness of an artist)
Assignment 1: Create a mood board or a vision board of art pieces you greatly admire. Jot down what you like about those pieces, what they have in common with each other, with your art, and what those artists are doing differently from you. Consciously decide where you want to be more similar or different from you.
Assignment 2: Play around in your sketchbook. Experiment with different subject matter, color schemes, looseness and strict realism. See if you can fill an entire sketchbook with wacky experimentation. Do a little of everything. Have fun. You're still learning. Finished projects don't matter until you say they do.
Art as a Business:
Goal: Build your art business foundation.
How to Start Exhibiting Your Art in Galleries (~56min video)
VIRAL ART & Copyright Issues (~46min video)
Social Media for Artists: Do's & Don'ts (~1hr18min video) (slightly dated information)
How to PRICE YOUR ARTWORK (~13min video)
Making the Leap to Painting Full-Time (~35 min video)
Diversifying Your Artistic Income (~8min video)
Assignment 1: Make an excel chart and type all of your sellable art titles into it. In the chart, include the date the project was completed, the medium, the size, the price, when you've submitted it to a gallery, which gallery/ies, whether or not it was accepted, it's current location, and if it sold. You can include who you sold it to as the current location slot filler. The point of including the location is to help you keep track of what's in your possession, versus out at a gallery, etc. You will be updating this chart from now on.
Assignment 2: Make a website and social media pages (Instagram and TikTok are recommended) if you haven't already. I use Wix for hosting my site. Lots of folks use Wordpress so their websites are free. You don't have to blog but you need to be easily findable online. Your website does not need to showcase all of your work, but it should show some, preferably most of your pieces. Your site should list any galleries you've shown in, and when. It needs to link to your social media pages and include a means of contacting you directly. Post your art on your artist social media pages.
Assignment 3: Create your artist resume that lists creative positions you've held (volunteer or internships are fine), any shows you've been in, any art awards and whatever art education you have. You've got to start somewhere. If it's blank right now, that's fine. No time like the present to start submitting to galleries or applying to sell at local festivals.
I did not make any of these videos, nor write any of these linked articles. This is a compilation of free resources. Definitely reach out to the makers if you have specific questions because I probably won't have the answers, unfortunately. Many of them have Patreons and Youtube channels worth subscribing to. Totally check them out! I hope this curriculum and these resources are of use to you. I know I'm going to be working these lessons and assignments into my schedule for the foreseeable future. The plan is to put a * before every step I've completed, and maybe I'll eventually throw together another blog post showing my completed assignments. Thanks for stopping by! I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!
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