Answers to Drawing Academy survey questions
Many thanks to all of you that participated in the Drawing Academy Survey.
The survey’s winner has been awarded with the full Drawing Academy Course!
More than 100 participants asked academy tutors their most pressing questions about art, how to improve their drawing skills, and the Drawing Academy course itself. We did our best to answer all of them via email.
Below are our answers to 43 selected questions you might find interesting and helpful.
Drawing Academy tutor
Question from Chris Edwards
“I am very interested in your course after struggling with unwieldy ‘How to Draw’ books in the past. Your videos look amazing; however, I am just enquiring as to their typical length. I know the sample videos are just 1 min or so, but is the text underneath the sample videos representative of the length of the lesson or is this just a portion of the overall video?”
Each Drawing Academy video lesson is about 30-60 minutes long, broken up into 10-15 minute sections. The total length of the video course is more than 24 hours, plus several more hours of bonus videos.
The text beneath the sample videos is the same as in the full-length video. You will not see this text currently on non-members pages.
Question from Daniel
“I want to improve my drawing ability, and I need someone to see my works and suggest areas for improvement. I need someone to identify what I’m doing wrong…could it be the strokes, etc., tell me how to improve, and follow my progress. I want to become a good artist.”
As a Drawing Academy student, you will enjoy unlimited personal support from academy tutors. This support is provided for a lifetime. We will advise you on your creative development and give constructive critique on your artwork.
In the Drawing Academy video lessons, we give in-depth information and show step-by-step traditional drawing techniques that you will find particularly helpful in improving your drawing skills. Once you join, you will have lifetime access to all video lessons and bonuses.
Question from Piemontesi
“Well, I think I would consider the question in a different way. Basically, it’s one thing to learn and improve your skills by watching someone doing a task right and trying to imitate what you see. It’s another to get your own interpretation of a subject and aspire to create more personal work. Therefore, I would ask something like : ‘When did you realized that, with the skills and knowledge that you have developed, you would be able to create your own pieces with your personal style and technique?'”
I think you are confused about how Drawing Academy will help you to improve your drawing skills. In the Academy, you will receive valuable information from the video lessons, include info on drawing tools, drawing rules and principles, perspective, proportions, constructive drawing, anatomy, rendering techniques, and so on. This new information will allow you to improve your drawings, no matter the style. Our goal is to equip you with the correct knowledge so that you can develop your skills and draw whatever you see, think, or imagine.
The wrong way to learn drawing is by imitating someone else’s artwork. Copying what you see, without understanding why and how it is done, will teach you only how to copy a particular artwork. This will not equip you with skills that you can use to draw whatever you want from life or imagination.
We encourage you to work on the development of your own creative style from day one, and we provide all necessary help and information to do so.
Question from Bill Hengen
“How do I get the best tonal quality with a limited number of tools? I end up making the shadows too dark and the transitions not smooth enough.”
First of all, I want to say that a limited number of tools is good for improving your drawing skills. Think of the Old Masters; look at their drawings. See how Michelangelo, for example, was able to create invaluable masterpieces with just one stick of red chalk or a piece of charcoal in his hands. What really takes one’s skills to the next level is the ability to get the most out of any given tool. To feel the drawing tool and know its capacity, you have to practice using it efficiently and know its limits. There are so called art teachers that advocate using multiple pencil grades in a single drawing. This is an erroneous approach to learning to draw, as it forces an art student to depend on drawing tools. The goal is the opposite, for the artist to become a master of his or her tools. When you have an intuitive feel for and understanding of different pencil grades, then you can effectively use then in one piece.
Based on your comment about shadows and transition, I suspect that you still have room to improve your skills. In Chapter 11 of the following video lesson, //drawingacademy.com/help-i-cant-draw, I suggest one practical exercise that you might find useful in mastering the rendering of tonal values.
Question from Jan Keith Reese
“How do I get proportions for the portrait done correctly and quickly?”
First of all, do not judge your skills by how fast you draw. Speed is a by-product of skill, not an objective. It comes with practice. To draw the correct proportions of a face, you need several things – full knowledge of the proportions and anatomy of the human head and face, knowledge of constructive drawing, and extensive practice. Several Drawing Academy video lessons will prove you with all the necessary information to improve your portrait drawing skills.
Question from Marcie
“What is the best way to achieve results when drawing in journals? To hold the hardback style journals? What is the best quick-sketch method? How do I use a portable drawing board (one with the clips and a hand grip)? I can never find a comfortable position. Am I better off taping sheets to the wall? Buying an easel? I travel for a living and do not have an option to set up a permanent drawing space.”
I think by “journals” you mean sketchpads. The best way to draw is by having a fixed drawing board fixed, one that you hold in your hands. If you can’t invest in a professional easel, you can improvise with cheaper alternatives. A portable / foldable desktop easel or even a board tilted on a desk or a chair can work.
Questions from Miodrag Galko
“What is the proper way to learn to draw a human model and his / her anatomy and muscles? How correctly represent on paper a human figure that I have in my mind? How can I set up my mind to draw what I see, and which parts do I need to emphasize? What should I hide or put in shadow?
I would like to learn firstly how can I draw what I see and what I imagine, without having to draw from a picture like I am doing now. Secondly, I am interested in how to draw body parts, movement, gestures, and postures.
I am very interested in learning about the drawing techniques of the Old Masters. I am hungry for knowledge and I would like to know every secret of drawing.”
I really appreciate your questions and am glad that you have a burning desire to learn about art. Your passion will keep you going. With the right education, you will see speedy results.
The majority of your questions are already answered in the Drawing Academy course. I will be happy to help you personally with any remaining questions you may have once you join!
Question from Sabrina Mendoza
“How can I become successful and professional in the art of drawing?”
If your question is about the skills a fine artist must have, you may find this video useful:
If you want to know how to become a successful fine artist, you can check out the book I have written on this topic:
Question from Joss Martinez
“What is the difference between modeling the shape and working with light and shadow? I think I may know the answer, but it is still very hard for me to grasp.”
“Modeling the shape” in art is the constructive drawing technique whereby the artist “builds” objects on the flat surface of the paper. Such constructive drawing has rules and principles: thinking in perspective, using helping and virtual lines (like axes and contours, negative space, outlines, etc.), treating objects as if they were transparent. Above all, you must draw what you know rather than copying what you see. “Working with light and shadow” means revealing the three-dimensional nature of an object by rendering tonal values.
Question from Jacob
“How do I overcome a self-defeating mindset about my drawing abilities so I can keep drawing and learning?”
Your question relates to a self-development area, not fine art specifically. Have you heard of Wayne Dyer? Just Google him and watch his videos on YouTube. Wayne explains that everyone is talented and creative, and he talks a great deal about how to overcome a self-defeating mindset.
Question from David
“I haven’t drawn anything for a while, so now I can’t seem to draw anything. Can you recommend any exercises to get that confidence in my drawing skills up again?”
Yes, you can check this video and follow the 12 steps it recommends:
Question from Claudia Bonany
“Can I show you a work of art and ask how to improve my techniques?”
As a Drawing Academy student, you will be able to submit as many works of art for critique as you want. Your every artwork will be reviewed, and you will be given recommendation on how to improve them.
Question from Javier
“What are the most important techniques to achieve a clean drawing?”
It depends what you mean by the word “clean.” If you want to avoid smudging your drawing media, you may place a clean piece of paper under your hand as protection. If you are interested to learn how to make precise, realistic drawings, then you need to learn how to draw proficiently.
Question from Pamela
“Do I get constructive feedback on my work?”
We provide unlimited support to our students, even after they finish the course. This support includes critique of artwork and professional advice on creative development. Art students can submit their artwork for critique here: //drawingacademy.com/critique-my-artworks
Question from Giedre
“Do you sometimes give lessons in the studio?”
At the moment, no. We teach art students from many corners of the world. Doing it online gives us better access to us for those who would not be able to receive professional art education otherwise.
Question from Vanessa Morris
“I would like to ask the Drawing Academy tutors about their journeys in finding their unique styles.”
You may check Vladimir London’s and Natalie Richy’s stories here:
Question from Loraine Greeff
“Please explain ‘foreshortened limbs’.”
Foreshortening is when you see an object in perspective and it is appears shorter compared to an un-distorted view. Drawing Academy video lessons include comprehensive tutorials on the human body, including proportions, anatomy, and perspective foreshortening.
Question from Valeria Sandu
“How can I become a professional artist? I mean, how do I start, and where do I start? I don’t have formal training or know how to finish a drawing. I need someone to guide me, like in school. I just know I have talent in art.”
The Drawing Academy course is designed for art students like you. It is much more than video lessons. You will receive unlimited personal support from the academy tutors, who will take you step-by-step through the journey of starting your art education. You will build strong drawing skills so that you can draw whatever you see, think, or imagine. This support includes constructive critiques of your artwork and useful advice on how to develop your artistic abilities. We will answer all your art-related questions. And best of all, this is a lifetime service for Drawing Academy members!
Question from John Jesse van Blommestein
“I would like to ask if there will be the possibility to make drawing a team effort? I mean working together on one drawing or a group of drawings possibly (but not necessarily) at the same time? This way, the more experienced artists would be able to improve their teaching or mentoring skills, while the less experienced artists could improve at the same time.”
Possibly it would be an interesting experience.
I favor the ‘old school’ method, where an art teacher shows how to draw by his own example and helps students improve their drawing skills.
Question from Dylan
“How can I market my art and become well-known?”
I have written a book on this subject you may find interesting: //art-fame.com
Question from Trace
“Can you teach me the correct proportions of a live model?”
The answer is YES. In the Drawing Academy course, we give comprehensive tutorials on the proportions of the human body, including videos on how to draw live models.
Question from Rodolfo
“My art school doesn’t teach any classical drawing skills, and neither does anyone in my country (Portugal), so I’m saving up some money to go to Italy, to the Russian Academy of Art or Angel Academy of Art in Florence. Until then, I want to hone my skills, but I just can’t learn classical techniques by myself. I need motivation and orientation, or else I will improve very slowly and without any real understanding of formal drawing techniques. Will I receive that from the Academy?”
You will be pleased to know that in the Drawing Academy video lessons, we provide in-depth information and show step-by-step traditional drawing techniques that you will find particularly helpful in improving your drawing skills. This includes comprehensive tutorials on classical drawing techniques.
Question from Carla Marta Moreira
“Do you offer any training on color usage and design techniques? What is the main benefit of learning to draw a black and white instead of naturally combining a more diverse color palette?”
The Web Art Academy, which teaches how to paint in oil, focuses more on color than the drawing course.
Question from Margaret
“I would like specifics on what mediums one can use for underpaintings. What are the proportions of paint to medium when glazing begins? I’d like to see the paints being mixed. How many flesh tones should one mix at one time during a portrait? I also have questions about water soluble oils.”
You may check the “Oil Painting Guide” I have written, which is offered in the Web Art Academy. It will answer all your questions on oil media. This guide is also available as a series of free video lessons here >>
Question from William
“Through hard work and dedication, what should my end result be after finishing the course?”
To answer this question, I have to see your current level of drawing skills; only then can I advise you on how to improve and what level to expect after your hard work.
I have no doubts that you will find the Drawing Academy course helpful. It goes without saying that this course is considerably cheaper than any you may have had previously. I have a feeling that you will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of valuable information and the quality of the Drawing Academy course when you enroll.
Question from Rodrigo
“Will you help me to find a strategy and develop a plan to improve my drawing skills and create a daily practice regimen to achieve what I want for my paintings? I’m 60 now, so I have around 33 years to meet my goals!”
There’s no such thing as being too old or too young to start learning to draw. If you can hold a pencil, you are qualified. Don’t let your age influence your decisions to pursue your passions. You have creativity within, and it is never too late to learn how to express it.
All I can offer to support your desire, beyond the “How to Draw” video course, is the personal support you will receive from the Drawing Academy tutors.
Question from Paulida
“I could never draw or paint, but my brother painted everything he saw. I realize now that it all is about techniques that one can learn. My question to you is, am I too old to start learning? I am 51 years old.”
We have art students in their 60s, and one who is 75 years young and full of enthusiasm to learn! It is never too late to learn how to draw.
Question from Fenja
“How can I create more contrast in my drawing without getting that shiny effect in the darker layers from graphite pencils?”
It comes down to the pencil hatching technique. You will see how to do it proficiently throughout the Drawing Academy video lessons.
Question from Karen
“How to get a person’s face to look exactly like their photograph?”
I think you have in mind the ability to draw hyper-realistic portraits. You might be surprised, but this is not what is valued in fine art. The best way to exactly duplicate a face is to take a photo, but that is not inherently fine art. In drawing, it is important to portray what you feel and know about the subject, so others will be able to see the world through your eyes. This is where creativity and originality comes from. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to draw realistically. Your drawing skills will become invaluable to that end, allowing you to express your thoughts by drawing exactly how you want.
Question from Sylvester
“How best can I learn human anatomy completely? I want to work at Disney / Pixar Animation Studios.”
The good news is that you don’t have to learn the human anatomy “completely.” You want to be an artist, not a doctor. Trust me, at Disney / Pixar Animation Studios, they don’t require artists to know the chemical analysis of the digestive system : ) It is absolutely necessary, however, to know human anatomy to a level that will help you realistically depict the body, both for portraits and even non-human characters. This includes all the major bones of the skeletal system, all major muscles that influence the body’s appearance, and the proportions of the body and head.
Question from K.VINEETHA
“Can only art experts say what the true meaning of a work of art is?”
I don’t think so. Everyone is unique and therefore will have a slightly different point of view on any artwork. None of such opinions will be necessarily the absolute “truth”. Even the artwork’s author may change his or her opinion on the “true meaning” of his/her own artwork with time. It is a philosophical discussion.
Question from Levi
“I wonder if someday I’ll be able to draw anything by observation and especially from imagination. I can copy others’ designs, and I can do some drawings without ever having taken a course, but unfortunately, whenever I try to put on paper something that I have imagined, it does not come out as I expected! With which technique I will be able to draw anything? Is there a better way to reach the highest level?”
We teach how to draw whatever you can see, think, or imagine. Making realistic drawings from imagination requires good knowledge of drawing principles and comes only with practice.
In the Drawing Academy course, you will find in-depth information on traditional drawing techniques that will help you to improve your drawing skills. This includes principles that you need to know to be able to draw you’re your imagination.
Question from Donald
“Do any, some, or all of you clearly see any, some, or all of the details of your drawings in your mind before you begin to draw them on paper?”
I suppose you are talking about drawing from imagination. The answer is, ‘it depends.’ My usual approach is to start with a general idea of what I want to draw. A quick general composition sketch, without any details, helps to visualize the future drawing. If a composition is quite elaborate, I’ll continue sketching separate parts – characters or environment, for example. It might take several sketches. When I’m happy with the preparatory work, I continue with the final piece. Sometimes, however, especially with simpler drawings, I might have all details I want already in my head. It doesn’t mean that all those ideas are fixed; during the process of creation, I may change some elements if I think that those changes will improve the final product.
I hope this gives a bit of insight into how you may develop your drawing process.
Question from Ian
“Graphite and charcoal is a very dusty medium to work in. How can I keep my work clean when I’m drawing?”
When drawing in graphite pencil on a horizontal or slightly tilted surface, you can place a clean piece of paper under your hand to prevent the graphite from smudging. With charcoal, it is better to draw on a vertically fixed drawing board, allowing the dust particles to fall freely down and keeping your hand from touching the paper and smudging it.
Question from Tim
“We all know practice makes perfect; however, what techniques and objects do you practice with daily to really improve your drawing? Would you say creating photo-realistic drawings is the best way to test these skills?”
I have described practical ways to improve drawing skills in the Drawing Academy Guidebook, along with some assignments. This book is available to Drawing Academy students, along with all the other knowledge contained in the course.
In regard to testing drawing skills by making “photo-realistic drawings,” I would say that you should not aim to become a “human photocopier.” Fine art is valued for its creativity and originality. Making a carbon copy of a photograph is just that – a copy of a copy. I do not undermine the craftsmanship and skills involved in making a hyper-realistic copy of a photo, it just seems to me that the application of one’s skills to such a task seems to be a waste of one’s talent. Please do not confuse hyper-realism with realism. Being able to make realistic drawings has always been valued in the history of art. We are still wowed and inspired by the realistic drawings of the Old Masters; however, such drawings are not hyper-realistic. They are depictions of the world (real or imaginary) through the eyes and talents of great artists.
Question from Alida
“What is the most important part in the body to start drawing if you are a beginner?”
If you are a complete beginner, than starting with portraits or full-body drawings will be a very challenging way to learn art. You need a methodical approach that will prepare your drawing skills and allow you to portray human beings gradually. Such a step-by-step approach is offered in the Drawing Academy course, where you will learn all the fundamentals of artistic drawing, starting with drawing materials, constructive drawing rules, rules of perspective and proportions, and moving on tonal rendering techniques, human anatomy, body proportions, and more. This knowledge and experience will equip you with the necessary skills to draw portraits and figurative art.
Question from Jade
“What do you think it takes to become as good as the Old Masters?”
Above everything else, there is only one thing that will bring your skill closer the Old Masters’ art – persistent hard work, and practice at drawing and painting. Here’s what Michelangelo Buonarroti said:
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
He also said, “I’m still learning.”
Question from Arvydas
“I would like to know more about how to draw in perspective, how to use perspective in drawing interiors and exteriors, and how perspective was used in the Renaissance era.”
You will find this video presentation on drawing in perspective helpful: //drawingacademy.com/drawing-in-perspective
It explains the history of perspective, different kinds of perspective (one-, two-, three- and four-point perspective, perceptive perspective, and aerial perspective), as well how to minimize distortions using various perspective methods and multiple vanishing points.
Question from William Stingl
“There is an almost overwhelming amount of information to learn during the journey to becoming an effective and inspirational fine artist. If you were limited to suggesting just three areas of concentration to focus on initially, what would they be?”
I understand your point of view; however, to become good at drawing, you need to learn a great deal of information and use it when you practice.
If I had to pick, three indispensable skills for a proficient fine artist are:
– Constructive drawing;
– Proportions and human anatomy for artists.
The Drawing Academy course includes comprehensive tutorials on these topics.
Question from Zhanar
“How do I reflect emotion when drawing a face?”
You may check my answer to a similar question here:
Question from Heron
“How do I think in terms of the entire product when drawing a subject, to achieve harmony and structure like the Old Masters?”
The “harmony and structure” in the Old Masters’ drawings came from a great deal of practice and hard work. What looks like a fast and virtuoso work of art has a solid foundation of drawing skills and a deep knowledge of various techniques, like perspective, proportions, composition, constructive drawing, human anatomy, and so on.
The greatness of the Old Masters’ art is achieved not through some magic ingredient, trick, or secret, but through intense study and diligent practice.
Question from Yuliya
“I wonder about the duration of your lessons. I know you speak about it in your promo video but it is somewhat unclear.”
The combined length of all the Drawing Academy video lessons is more than 24 hours. In addition, there are numerous video bonuses that add several hours to that total.
Question from Eric
“How do I make my work look more three-dimensional, rather than just accurately showing values?”
You are correct that, although depicting tonal values is an important part of realistic drawing, you need much more than just values. The three-dimensional nature of objects can be depicted even without tonal rendering. There are various techniques you can use:
1. Start with constructive drawing – draw what you know about an object, not what you see. “Build” it visually on the paper with all the knowledge of its volume and construction, so you will feel complete confidence in what you draw.
2. Use linear and atmospheric perspective.
3. Use pencil strokes along the object’s contours (don’t confuse contours with ‘outlines’).
4. For very foreshortened objects in perspective, you may use contours only, not outlines, thus making the object appear more realistic and three-dimensional.
The Drawing Academy video course offers comprehensive tutorials on depicting the three-dimensional nature of objects in drawing.
Question from Denise
“How does the Drawing Academy course compare to other art colleges? How much does it cost?”
I have visited art colleges here in London and spoken with their teachers. I also regularly receive feedback from art students around the world, telling me what they learned in various colleges. Many students graduate from such art institutions with no drawing skills.
Drawing Academy is different. In three months, this course delivers more than the average art student learns in 4 years at some contemporary art colleges—and they have to pay more than $100,000 for that ‘education!’
The Drawing Academy’s regular price is $291 ($97 x 3 months). To receive the same education anywhere else could cost you $4,455 ($99 x 45 lessons).
- Receive 15 new videos monthly (45 in total)
- Incredible discount – $4,164
- Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
- Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
- Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
- Lifetime membership. Free after the 3rd month
- Immediate access to all 45 video lessons
- Incredible discount – $4,198
- Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
- Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
- Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
- Lifetime membership. No more payments