2 New Drawing Tutorials


by Clara Lieu

I came up with the idea for Art Prof way back in October 2014, and it still constantly amazes me how far we have come since that idea first floated in my head. Way back in the fall of 2015, we shot a portrait drawing in charcoal tutorial, which I always imagined was going to be the featured tutorial when we launched the new Art Prof website.

In recent months I’ve been reviewing our content, as we prepare for our upcoming site launch.  Looking at this 2015 tutorial, it felt completely out of place within the context of all of our new content.  This 2015 tutorial (photo below) was really my first time on camera and it really shows if you watch this tutorial compared to our new content. I was very nervous at the time, so I heavily scripted every single sentence.  On top of that, I knew absolutely nothing about the video editing process, so I had no idea what could be done in terms of post production. It was exciting to learn so much, but as we all know, those first steps in a new experience are always awkward and challenging.


On the set of my first charcoal drawing tutorial, shot in 2015

In the 2015 tutorial, I worked with an editor and sat next to him to edit the content and add additional content like diagrams, terminology, etc. to the video. I guess the equivalent would be if I traveled to Turkey, and needed an interpreter with me every second I was there to get around.

By comparison, I am now fluent and could navigate Turkey entirely by myself: I know all aspects of the tutorial process and can think through the process much more quickly and efficiently.  I’ve spent countless hours learning video editing, and while I’m no expert, I can competently edit a video with little help.  I don’t script the tutorials at all.  I literally write down about 10 bullet points I want to cover, (see photo below) and then everything else I make up on the spot. Doing the tutorials ad lib is about 2% of the work I did on the 2015 tutorial, it’s about 1000 easier, and the results are significantly better.  When I scripted the tutorials, it made me nervous and stiff. Now, my approach to what I say is very similar to how I teach in my classes at RISD-completely spontaneous and unscripted.


I slaved over that 2015 tutorial, and put in a mind boggling number of hours into it, between the planning/shooting/post production, etc. Most of those hours were difficult and frustrating because I was so new to the process. However, I had to face the fact that this tutorial was going to be a major sore thumb within the context of our new content, so as painful as it was, I decided to scrap the 2015 tutorial and shoot all new tutorials for the new website.

I’m enough of a perfectionist that I’m willing to part with material I invested tons of labor into for the sake of maintaining consistency and quality on the new website. The 2 new tutorials are on how to draw a still life and self-portrait using Caran d’Ache crayons. With my new skills in video editing and being on camera that I’ve been honing for 2 years now, I think these new tutorials are a vast improvement.


Drawing in color is such a great way to get acquainted with color without having to break the bank paying for tons of painting supplies. I think so many people think about drawing media as being only black and white, and don’t even consider very often that you can really learn a lot about color through drawing.  Using color in drawing is a good option especially when the large number of painting supplies is too expensive, or if you haven’t taken a painting class yet. (in my opinion, painting really is one of those techniques where if you don’t have proper training, and don’t know exactly what supplies to purchase, it really is insufferably difficult to do)


The self-portrait drawing tutorial demonstrates how to draw a self-portrait from life.  I was surprised that when I looked up “How to draw a self-portrait” on Youtube, that there is no video that shows you how to draw a self-portrait using a mirror.  Every video showed the artist drawing from a photo of themselves.  I found one video where the artist held a mirror in his hand, but didn’t use it.  (why are you holding a mirror if you aren’t going to use it to draw a self-portrait?) I am hoping this tutorial fills a gap-because clearly, there is a huge one when it comes to drawing a self-portrait from life.

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

Be notified of our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.


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Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.

Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.

Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.


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