A collection of online resources, tuition sites, blogs and books I’ve found particularly useful or inspiring. Some are standalone sites with multiple resources, others are YouTube channels with frequently updated content, so if you have YouTube account it might be worth subscribing to any channel you find interesting. Most have free content with a paid option for extra in-depth tuition.
[Last updated November 2023.]
This is a paid subscription site. I had tried it for a month a few years back, now I’m hooked. They have a range of high quality instructors with well structured pre-recorded courses together with resources such as 3D models and an extensive image library. You can also enrol for a number of live critique courses. The pricing and content access has changed since I joined, so it’s worth having a look at the different types of subscription available. For instance, there’s a separate coaching plan which includes access to regular live lessons and critiques from some of the instructors. There’s also a very active Discord community, and though some channels require a subscription there is a free drawing basics course on the Discord server itself. The course guide enables you to tailor your own art education making this a truly valuable resource. I think you can have a look around for free with just an email address. Definitely recommended.
I first came across Stan Prokopenko from his YouTube videos. Since then he has developed a complete online learning site with videos from a range of instructors. Rather than a subscription, you pay a one-off fee for the Premium version of each course. There are usually a number of free videos in each course to try out. There’s so much good stuff here that it’s best to just get a free account and have a look around. This is a link to the original YouTube channel made by Stan Prokopenko containing videos covering the fundamentals of figure and portrait drawing — everything from how to sharpen and hold a pencil to the Robo Bean. His ever-expanding collection of lessons go into detail about how to draw anatomy. However I recommend you just get a free account at Proko.com and watch them there (I think without the adverts).
Anything online connected to Marshall Vandruff is worth looking at. A natural teacher with the wisdom to get to the heart of the matter. His lectures on perspective (available for a small price on his website) are very useful. He’s also released a complete course on Bridgman for free, and has a series of videos which examine the work of Heinrich Kley, available for a low price. Also look for the series Draftsmen he made with Stan Prokopenko.
This deserves an entry on its own. Draftsmen is a collaboration between Marshall Vandruff and Stan Prokopenko where they discuss anything and everything to do with art and art education. There were 125 videos in 3 series the last time I looked. Highly recommended.
A natural and generous teacher, Steve Huston will talk about everything from construction and anatomy to flow, gesture and the spirit of the pose. Don’t be fooled by his steady pace; you might feel you know some of the basics already, but change down into Steve gear and he’ll show you things hiding in plain sight. At the time of writing he is doing a free Thursday night Draw and Jaw live session. There are also Patreon and individual coaching options for a price via his website. He also has multiple courses on New Masters Academy.
Videos by Mark Carder showing in detail how to paint realism with oil. Even if you use a different medium or don’t follow the technique precisely there are valuable lessons in how to see colour and value. There is also an active forum and question & answer videos.
Paul Foxton’s site is full of valuable information about the core skills of drawing and painting: composition, values, colour perception, edge control, with practical exercises and some really useful advice about the process of learning. He also runs a number of online courses and will often stream live from his studio, so it’s worth getting on his email list to be notified of upcoming events. His speciality is using the Munsell colour system (hue, value, chroma) and his instruction on this has helped clarify the practical use of colour, which can be a complex and confusing topic.
Jeff Watts is one of those rare teachers who has great talent and can communicate what he’s doing as he’s doing it. Watch his Friday Night Live sessions to look over his shoulder as he discusses anything and everything to do with art training. He’s the founder of the Watts Atelier which is a paid site for learning traditional drawing and painting techniques.
An introduction to the fundamentals of painting and drawing, including video demonstrations and exercises. He started me on the right track with his lessons on the basics of using acrylics.
Cesar has impressive technical skills in realist art. His videos cover all kinds of topics relating to art, from technical advice through to inspiration and motivation. Plenty of free, high quality YouTube content, and he also has specific video courses for sale on his site.
Really useful and inspiring videos. Watch her introductory video for a summary.
A detailed week-by-week account of her experiences at a traditional atelier, with lots of progress reports on her current work and details about the lessons learnt and the thinking process behind her decisions
A mixture of live streaming of Florent in his studio as he paints, lessons on specific topics and live stream analysis of specific artists.
The real-time Wake and Draw episodes are great to draw along with. A high-res reference photo is in the video description.
Inspiring just to watch him draw. Watch him build up a figure from a basic structure using dynamic lines and a deep knowledge of anatomy. I found his course on New Masters Academy (subscription) very useful.
His Quick Sketch Motivations videos are particularly useful for showing the different ways to construct the figure.
Watch over his shoulder as he creates wonderfully fluid figure drawings and portraits in oil and charcoal. Many are short teasers, but there are some longer videos if you scroll to the bottom of the list.
Lots of very useful and well-presented information on painting techniques. He has a YouTube channel, but you get bonus content if you also subscribe on his website.
This channel run by Mayko and Kenzo is building up into an impressive collection of very informative and clearly presented videos about life drawing and general art instruction. Recently updated to include a dedicated Love Life Drawing website which includes a figure drawing reference library, a community area and optional paid courses with Kenzo. It’s well worth signing up on his website as much of the content is free and he’s actively expanding the resources as well as running regular community events.
Talks, discussions and occasional demonstrations centred on the Boston School approach to draughtsmanship and painting. I’ll let him explain what that is, but it’s quite different to the construction approach commonly taught. Work your way through his playlist of videos, which are essentially him talking about his thinking and approach to making artwork. The discussion might seem rambling at first if a video is chosen at random, but listen long enough and a clear and perhaps radical approach emerges. These videos have changed the way I paint.
Figure Drawing Reference
Look for the timed figure poses playlists. Non-nude. Many more available if you have a paid account on the NMA website.
Timed figure reference in real-time. Non-nude.
Requires an annual subscription. Lessons and real-time timed figure reference, regularly updated. Nudity.
Nude and non-nude reference library with a timer if required.
This site is going from strength to strength, so it’s definitely worth getting a free account.
Updated daily with posts covering all aspects of art, this blog by James Gurney (author of the Dinotopia series) includes his own sketches with photos or video of the work in progress.
I love the way Terry Miura paints, and luckily he’s very open with his working methods. His posts go in to detail about the decisions he makes throughout the painting process.
Stapleton Kearns is a professional landscape painter who makes his living painting pictures. Every day for about three years he wrote a post on his blog which has built up in to an art education in itself. Start from the early posts and move forward.
These tend to be long conversations. I find them ideal for playing in the background as I paint or draw. Sometimes I need silence, but often I find listening to speech helps me focus — better still, listening to people talk about art.
These are links to websites, but it’s more convenient to subscribe to the podcasts using iTunes (or similar).
Interviews with artists, updated every fortnight.
Artists Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff talk art with a range of guests.
More interviews with artists.
Art history and interviews with figurative sculptors by Jason Arkles.
Brooks Jensen talks about photography with an emphasis on the creative process rather than cameras.
Essential reading for anyone painting realism. Each two-page spread shows a new concept that is clearly presented with copious examples from his own work. Just buy it.
The subtitle is ‘How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist’ and there are plenty of techniques showing you how to get an image from your imagination on to the canvas. I see it as a companion book to Color and Light and it’s presented in the same clear style. I found the chapters on composition, preliminary studies and procedure especially valuable.
Lessons in Classical Painting
Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier
Lessons in Classical Drawing
Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier
Classical Painting Atelier
A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice
Classical Drawing Atelier
A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice
Beautiful books with reproductions from a wide range of realist painters. She runs her own atelier and the focus is on classical techniques.
Even if you don’t intend to draw or read comics, there is plenty in these two books that would be of interested to anyone involved with the visual arts. I see them as companion volumes, and they’re both presented in comic format which show off the very concepts that he discusses. Highly recommended.
Some great stuff here. And another excuse to point you towards Marshall Vandruff…