As an artist, you are only as good as you can draw. But don't despair, this class will get your drawing skills to the next level!
Think of this as my advanced drawing class. Regardless of how well you can paint, your artistic ceiling is set by your ability to draw. This may be a strong statement but it's one that I hold to be true. As a reasonably accomplished painter, I would insist that my painting skills only complement and build upon my drawing skills, not the other way around.
So with this in mind, I have unpacked my 40-ish years of drawing experience into this class, breaking my techniques and methods down using classical instruction, a hint of caricature and exaggeration, a lot of passion, and a hyper intense love for drawing.
I do a lot of demos in this course and you will be expected to do a LOT of drawing for your assignments. My tool of choice in this class (and in my own work) is a 901 Indigo Bleu pencil, which has its own unique nuances and uses, which I will talk about throughout.
To answer the inevitable question: yes, you CAN choose to do this class using some other pencil (after all, as awesome as a 901 Indigo Bleu pencil is, it won't magically make you draw better) but nevertheless I highly recommend the 901 Indigo Bleu pencil. You'll see why in this class.
LESSON 1Understanding Shapes
In my first lesson, I will give you an overview of what I will be teaching over our next several weeks together. We will examine some amazing draftsmen and women and what makes their work particularly noteworthy. I will share my thought process when looking for reference, how and where to find the right reference, and how to use this reference to make a strong drawing. My demo for this lesson will be on the essence of shape in which I do a chalk drawing using simplification and economy of lines to get across the "essence" of a subject.
Drawing realistically, we want to capture what we KNOW we see, not what we THINK we see. In this lesson, I talk about what I call "Blind-Contour-but-Not-Really". The "blind contour" part is obviously drawing what I KNOW I saw -- a skill that will change how you see your subject and make your marks. The "but-not-really" part is my deviation on the traditional blind contour that has impacted my drawings the most. I explain all of this in a 30-minute demo from my studio.
In this lesson, we look at why values are important to drawing by breaking down images that have poor values. Furthermore, I will demo related techniques and concepts that are near and dear to my drawing heart such as working from the middle out, unity first variety second, and drawing lightly.
LESSON 4Intro to Form
In this lesson, we will talk about something that artists trying to jump to the next level often struggle with: how to create or enhance three dimensionality in their work, or what I call "sculpting with your pencil". I will show you different approaches to improving the solidity of your drawing beginning with how to hold your pencil. In my demo, I will talk through doing these techniques in real time as well as discussing lighting effects, which are vital and work well with pencil "sculpting".
LESSON 5Tracking Tone
This lesson relies heavily on our ability to slow down and see subtle tones and shapes on the face. In my demo, we will examine the differences between a tonal drawing and a linear one, and consider techniques for training our eyes to see and track tone as we move across our subject.
LESSON 6Design, Composition and Shapes
To become a successful, working commercial artist, it's imperative that you understand design. In this lesson, we will look at what makes a good design and how to use it in our work. I will explain how I think about shapes as I demo illustrating a vintage poster complete with a subject, layout, and typeface. I will also explain connectivity and rhythm, two terms that you might hear often but might not fully understand yet.
LESSON 7Angles, Asymmetry and Observations
In this lesson, we will pay special attention to the quirks, nuances, and asymmetry that will make your drawing look both real and beautiful. In this lesson's demo, I will also examine angles in images because being able to see and record the angles in a subject is key to nailing a good likeness in a drawing of it.
LESSON 8Exaggeration vs. Representation
Representational drawing is drawing something as it is, such as a portrait; exaggerated drawing is drawing something that communicates what it is without looking like a realistic version of itself, such as a caricature. I use both representational interpretation and exaggeration in my work and in my demo, I will show my approaches to both while talking about how and why I push a drawing one way or the other, and how to avoid common mistakes that artists make when trying to balance the two.
You don't have to be a caricature artist to make fine use of caricature skills. After all, not everything in an illustration can or SHOULD be exactly realistic. Nevertheless, in this final lesson, we will examine caricature, why it's important, and how we can use it as a helpful skill in our art. In my demo, I will show you when and how I deviate from representation in my work and narrate through my entire thought process.
MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Thomas' freelance career started with his first cover for MAD Magazine in 1995. After moving from New York City to Minneapolis, the New York Times called and things took off from there. Today, Thomas' clients include the Village Voice, TIME, DerSpiegel, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, Fisher Price, and Coca-Cola. Some of Thomas' favorite work is done weekly for the Weekly Standard.
Thomas' work has been selected by the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, and Communication Arts. In 2005, Thomas won a gold medal for his portrait of Hillary Clinton in Spectrum, the best in contemporary fantastic art. He has a TIME cover that hangs in The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and currently has five covers featured in the international traveling show "The Art Of DerSpiegel, Cover Illustrations Covering Five Decades."
Thomas lives in Prior Lake, Minnesota, with his wife Kristi and their five awesome daughters.
Two Ways to Learn
- Watch Video Lessons at Your Own Pace
- Assignments Included
- Peer Feedback
- Switch Courses as Often as You Like
personalized instructor feedbackRegister
- Watch Video Lessons with a Planned Curriculum
- Scheduled Assignments with Deadlines
- Personalized paint-overs and feedback videos
- Peer feedback
- Ability to Contact Instructor with Questions
- Physical Certificate of Completion (Mailed to you anywhere in the world)