I want to improve my drawing techniques

Artworks from Nicole, Drawing Academy student


I recently enrolled in the Drawing Academy course because I wanted to improve my drawing techniques. I hope with this course I could develop a strong foundation for the fundamental skills needed to create the works of art I want. I hope that I can better express what I see in real life, from photos, and eventually from my imagination with this course.

I want to improve my drawing techniques

Here is a portrait that I had done in the past. I think that I would need to express more depth and tone in my drawing.


Feedback from Vladimir London, Art tutor

Dear Nicole,

Thank you very much for your wonderful portrait. It is a very creative artwork. I like how the face is stylised. The portrait has “naive” style either because you wanted it to be primitive or because your skills did not allow you to make a more realistic artwork. Anyway, this portrait could be a good illustration for some book or story, for example.

You mentioned that you wanted to “express more depth and tone”.

“Depth” is a sub-product of constructive drawing. The illusion of depth on a flat surface is achieved by means of perspective, foreshortening, contours, intersections, and other constructive drawing principles. Because those principles are not used in your work, it appears flat. Adding “more tone” won’t make it three-dimensional; it would only increase the light-dark contrast.

Here’s the thing about realistic drawing – it has to be “built” properly, like some building, for example. If a building has constructive mistakes, decorating it with colors and tones won’t help.

Talking of “building” a portrait, it requires many things such as bones and muscles anatomy, geometric construction of head’s planes, correct relative proportions, symmetry, alignments, angles, contours, and so on. These are the “building elements” of constructive drawing. Needless to say, that to use those things you need to know about such constructive elements and have experience of using them.

Here’s a quick check for you. Can you name at least 20 main proportions and alignments of a human head? There are more than 50 of them to remember, by the way. If you do not know such proportions, how would you make sure they are correct in your drawing? How would you “construct” a portrait when drawing from imagination? One way of drawing portraits is by intuition; all children do it without even knowing or thinking about proportions and anatomy. Some amateur artists draw that way as well, but it would be wrong to expect spectacular realistic results.

You have a good sense of colors and style. You also have a burning desire to learn good drawing skills. If your ambition is to make “naive” art, you are on the right path. Your current skills are great for expressing whatever you want to say in your own way. However, if you want to make realistic art that is based on classical traditions, you have a lot to learn. On your own, it would be very difficult to achieve good results; it might take longer than a lifetime to achieve the advanced level of drawing skills. Watching videos and reading books won’t help much; I do not know a single self-taught great artist. If you are serious about getting strong drawing skills, you need a professional art teacher who will walk you step by step from elementary basics of drawing to the advanced level. This will take time, but above all, this would require a proper drawing curriculum without which your education will be sporadical with big gaps in various skills.

Should you need our help, you can get one-to-one personal tutoring in addition to the Drawing Academy course, which is needed because it comes with a different content.

Here’s a video for you to check; make sure you read all the text on that page as well:


If you are happy with the way you draw, you do not need us because you already able to express yourself through art with the skills you already have.

I wish you a very happy New Year 2023!

Kind regards,
Vladimir London

Reply from Nicole

Hello Mr. Vladimir London,

I appreciate the feedback that you have given me regarding my portrait.

Here are two artworks I had done. The one of the apples is a simple oil painting I had done for a class. The other is of a koi fish done in colored pencil and watercolor.

I want to improve my drawing techniques

I want to improve my drawing techniques

I am unsure if these two samples would also reflect a “naïve art” style. I did some light research on the art genre and artists I was familiar with, such as Henri Rousseau and Frida Kahlo, whom I have studied in an Art History course.

It’s true, I do like expressing what I want to say through my art through color and style. But ultimately I want to develop strong drawing skills. I want to learn how to make realistic art with classical traditional concepts.

Should I sign up for the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course to get the one-on-one personal tutoring? I watched the video and I am under the impression that I will get more in-depth training and more attention if I were to sign up.

Thank you again.


Feedback from Vladimir London, Art tutor

Dear Nicole,

Thank you for your reply and artworks. I really like bright and open colors; they make your art cheerful and optimistic. The koi fish is a wonderful illustration. However, it appears flat because it holds very little information on linear and aerial perspective, foreshortening and contours while the still-life fruits lack three-dimensional shape despite the chiaroscuro ranges from the highlight to the shadow. This once again confirms that “depth” in drawing requires something more than colors and tonal values, above all, it needs constructive drawing, which is your weakest skill so far.

If you want to find out what your current level of drawing skills is, you are welcome to check this video:


You are asking should you sign up for the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course. It depends on your artistic goals. If you are happy with your current level of skills, which is sufficient for making “naive” art, then you are ready for your creative journey. Your works will always look amateurish and there are many artists who are happy that way.

However, if your aspiration is to draw on a professional level, then you have a lot to learn. Seeing your art, I can tell that your “sense of perspective” is not developed yet. This “sense” is needed for drawing any three-dimensional object. Whatever you draw – the simplest cube or a portrait from life, you will end up with distortions and perspective mistakes just because you do not see your mistakes and therefore you could not fix them. Without working on your mistakes, there will be no progress. You need a talented and professional art teacher who can walk you all the way to the advanced level. On your own, it won’t be possible for the reason explained above. To answer your question, yes, you will greatly benefit from the personal tutoring course.

In this course, we guarantee that your drawing skills will reach the advanced level should you follow our instructions and complete all 100 drawing tasks. This is because every next task will be only given to you after you complete the previous one with the required quality. There is not way to fail because your every task will come with in-depth instructions, full support and critique. You will get our feedback on every artwork you make and every mistake will be pointed out, so you will know what to fix and how. This way, you will learn from every task, from every instruction and from every mistake. Without such tutoring, it is simple impossible to get the same progress.

Regarding when to take the Correspondence Course, the sooner the better. You may spend another year or two on watching video tutorials or reading “how to draw” books. Learning on your own, won’t teach you much because occasional critiques that you lack constructive drawing skills won’t help without structured curriculum and instructions. Such guidance is provided in the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course.

In addition to this course, it will be very helpful to watch Drawing Academy video lessons because they provide different content.

I hope this answers your questions.

Kind regards,

Vladimir London
Art tutor

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