2 New Drawing Tutorials

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.


ART DARES
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.

Recent Crit Quickies!

Crit Quickie, featuring a comic panel by Myke Metts. Critique by Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan.


Crit Quickie, featuring a grisaille portrait painting by @tgarney. Critique by Teaching Assistant Alex Rowe.


Crit Quickie, featuring a painting of a tree by @bethanynmurray. Critique by Teaching Assistant Annie Irwin.


Crit Quickies are 1 min. critiques by the Art Prof staff.  Submit! Post your art on Instagram and tag us @art.prof w/ #critquickie. Watch more Crit Quickies in this playlist on our Youtube channel.

We accept submissions from artists in 8th grade and up. Please know that due the volume of submissions, we are unable to provide a Crit Quickie for everyone who submits. If you’re an art teacher, you’re welcome to submit on behalf of your students!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Crit Quickies are Back!

Crit Quickies was on temporary hiatus while we ran our Kickstarter campaign.  Now that the campaign is over, Crit Quickies are back!  Crit Quickies are 1 min. audio critiques on the Art Prof Instagram. Submit! Post your art on Instagram w/ @art.prof, & #critquickie. Watch more Crit Quickies in this playlist on our Youtube channel.

We accept submissions from artists in 8th grade and up. If you’re an art teacher, you’re welcome to submit on behalf of your students!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Crit Quad #1

By Clara Lieu

A few months ago, we did giveaways for a free audio critique pack, which allowed an artist to receive audio critiques from 4 of the Art Prof staff on one of their artworks. Today I cut a video which features all 4 critiques along with the painting. My video editing skills went from non-existent to “not terrible” in 2 months, so I’ll be creating videos for the other 3 artists who received an audio critique pack. Hope you enjoy this new format for these audio critiques!

Below is information on the critiques in the above video and the artist and their artwork.


Jeff Wrench
“Chelsea Rose”, acrylic paint on wallpaper and paint chips, 11″ x 17″

Critiques by: Lauryn Welch, Casey Roonan, Sara Bloem, Clara Lieu

“This painting is from an an ongoing series of portraits on wallpaper and paint chips, based on my snapshots or (in this case) photos provided by someone I’ve met online. I’m trying to paint intuitively and quickly. I am interested in rough, semi-abstract marks and colors that still converge into convincing and recognizable images. The found background is another source uncertainty in the process and opportunity for happy accidents. If successful, I think such an painting can ‘vibrate’ in the viewer’s mind, and maybe excite the imagination in ways that a realistic rendering would not.”

Jeff Wrench, Acrylic Painting


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Art Prof Intern: Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell 3

by Clara Lieu

There are many high school students who have strong drawing skills, but few know how to think critically and speak articulately about their artwork and the artwork of their peers within the context of a group critique. The vast majority of students who I have taught at RISD Pre-College have never experienced a group critique before, so I know it’s my job to introduce the students to the idea of a group critique.  Group critiques are an exercise that takes a lot of getting used to, and even then, it’s still challenging for many students for several reasons.  Critiquing artwork is a skill that takes time and experience to develop, and every single critique is completely unique.

Presenting and speaking about your artwork in front of the entire class can be really nerve wracking, and discussing the artwork by your peers is tricky.  I know that many students worry about the social backlash that can sometimes occur if someone doesn’t take a comment in the way it was intended.

Anna Campbell was one of the rare students I’ve had in my Pre-College classes who was able to dive right into group critiques and offer helpful, constructive comments to her classmates. She was encouraging and supportive of her classmates, but was also candid and honest. Anna’s presence during group critiques was very important to the class: I thought about her as an “engine” who set a serious, focused tone to the conversation and who also inspired other students to participate at the same time. She offered thoughtful and clear ideas during group critiques, and was able to provide helpful suggestions for her peers with enthusiasm.

Copy of 1 Playing God (18x24, caran d'ache self-portrait)

On top of her terrific critique skills, Anna was also extremely versatile in her artwork.  In my Design Foundations course, she was just as confident creating work in a bright, graphic style (as seen in her playing card designs below) as she was creating dramatic, foreboding images by drawing with color. Anna combined her techniques with innovative concepts as well, something few students in high school think to do. The drawing above was her depiction of how she organizes her friends in her head.  The image she developed had an unusual, surrealistic look, and portrayed her concept effectively.

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Let’s hear from Anna now:

Hi! I’m Anna, freshly out of high school and about to move from Chicago to Providence to attend RISD this fall, where I hope to study illustration. In addition to being an artist, I’m an avid reader, collector of odd words, and ice cream enthusiast.

Though I’ve always expressed myself via drawing and faithfully filled sketchbook after sketchbook, I didn’t really think of art as a viable future option until my junior year of high school, when I began probing my interests and researching more.

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It was my amazing experience at RISD Pre-College in the summer of 2015, where I studied under Prof Clara Lieu, that solidified my decision apply to RISD. (I wasn’t accepted to Hogwarts, so I figured art school was the next best thing) The mix of constructive criticism, skilled professors, and fellow artists I found there made for an incredibly stimulating learning environment and one of the best experiences of my life. I’m excited to share that same mix of awesome with others looking for educational art resources through Art Prof!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to high quality art education for people of all ages and means. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Ask the Art Prof Live
 was a weekly live video broadcast on my Facebook page where I 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. I discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.


Video Critique Program
I offer 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for professional artists working on a body of artwork, and for students working on an art portfolio for college admission. Watch sample video critiques and get more info here.


Related Videos
Youtube Playlist: Video Critiques on Art School Admissions Portfolios
Youtube Playlist:  How to Draw a Portrait with Charcoal and Cross-Hatching
Youtube Playlist:  Crit Quickies, 1 min. critiques on artworks

Crit Quad #1: Jeff Wrench

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Jeff Wrench
“Chelsea Rose”, acrylic paint on wallpaper and paint chips, 11″ x 17″

“This painting is from an an ongoing series of portraits on wallpaper and paint chips, based on my snapshots or (in this case) photos provided by someone I’ve met online. I’m trying to paint intuitively and quickly. I am interested in rough, semi-abstract marks and colors that still converge into convincing and recognizable images. The found background is another source uncertainty in the process and opportunity for happy accidents. If successful, I think such an painting can ‘vibrate’ in the viewer’s mind, and maybe excite the imagination in ways that a realistic rendering would not.”


Casey Roonan, Teaching Assistant
Casey Roonan, Illustrator & Cartoonist
“Stay open, and keep asking yourself questions, and try to really be conscious of all the decisions you’re making.”
Mentioned: Lucien Freud, Alice Neel


Sara Bloem, Teaching Assistant
Sara Bloem, Multimedia Artist
“I want more information about how you’re choosing the subjects of these pieces.”
Mentioned: Jean Arp


Lauryn Welch, Teaching Assistant
Lauryn Welch, Painter & Performance Artist
“I love the idea that something can be seen both as a collection of patterns, as well as having a character to it, like an identity.”
Mentioned: Jenny Saville, Euan Uglow, Chantal Joffe, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard


Clara Lieu, Visual Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD
Clara Lieu, Fine Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD
“I want to know more information, more specificity, for example, where did you meet this person online?”
Mentioned: Frank Auerbach, Lucien Freud, Francis BaconOskar Kokschka


Follow up from Jeff on our critiques:

“Clara, this was great for someone like me — I’m not in school and I haven’t really found a way to get thoughtful input on my art. And mostly when I’ve found someone who I trust to give input, it’s been about the actual painting process — while much of the input here was about concepts. So that was new/surprising/interesting to me. Many of the critique comments highlight things I hadn’t explicitly thought about, so I am excited that pursuing these ideas may lead me to some interesting development. Thanks to all four of you!”


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Ask the Art Prof: What is the Practical Meaning of Color Theory?

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Edward Hopper


“What is the practical meaning of color theory? Granted, I’ve seen the theory, the contrasting colors, complementary colors, cold ones, warm ones, etc. etc. But can’t quite make a connection with practical uses, what one can actually do with this knowledge? As my own works use rather vibrant colors, I thought that it’s not too good to go years making them, and not knowing what’s going on with the colors ‘behind the scenes'”

This is the challenge with information and practice: it’s one thing to gain knowledge and information, it’s another thing to practically apply that information to one’s studio work.  I see the same issue with people who are trying to learn anatomy. People spend all of this time learning about the anatomical structure of the human body, they learn all of the muscle names, and yet when it comes down to actually sitting down and drawing, they don’t know how to actually use that information in their drawings.

When I was learning color in art school, I initially didn’t understand the point of complementary colors.  Sure, complementary color pairs like red and green are across from each other from the color wheel, but really, why does that matter? The way to find out why that matters is to see how other artists take that information and to analyze how they put that theory into action successfully.

Print

For complementary colors, I think one of the best artists to look at is the American painter Edward Hopper. Hopper consistently used complementary colors to create dramatic contrast in many of his paintings.  You may not necessarily notice it right away, but if you’re looking for it, those complementary color pairs are definitely there. In this painting of a gas station below, Hopper uses a large quantity of a dark green for the background and gets the relatively small gas station pumps to pop out of the page by using a highly saturated red.  The same thing happens on the right side of the painting with the dark crimson roof of the building against the bright green of the tree. Even the base of the pole with the sign on top us painted red at the bottom against the background of green trees.

GAS

Edward Hopper

Once you’ve taken the time to notice and deconstruct the color strategy behind several paintings, it’s time to implement that knowledge into your own work. The most effective way to see results is to do a series of hands-on exercises which highlight each specific color theory idea you’re trying to understand.

I had a painting teacher my sophomore year at RISD who completely transformed my ability to understand color. My grasp of color had previously felt aimless and random, and after taking his class, things finally started to make sense.  When we started his course, he set up a series of three still lifes which were intentionally limited to objects within one complementary color pair.  For example, the red/green painting would have a lime, a red apple, green grapes, with a pink cloth in the background.

By isolating this complementary color pair, this exercise got me thinking about the relationship between red and green, and got me to understand how red and green could work together in a painting to create various effects. For example, I never knew before I did this exercise that mixing alizarin crimson and viridian green created a deep purple that appeared to be black when painted opaquely. I always just used a straight ivory black for anything that I wanted something to look dark.  This new mixture had a richness and vibrancy to it that the ivory black could never have, and it’s a combination that I continue to use to this day.

On a fundamental level, color theory is all about relationships between colors, and understanding what those relationships are is key to implementing color theory into your work. Doing these color exercises sharpens our eye for color and teaches us to create color strategies for our future works.

Ultimately you will segue out of these color exercises and move into your own work.  While one may develop a more intuitive approach to color eventually, that essential foundation of color theory will always be there, and will continue to influence your decisions. Armed with that color theory information and experience, you will be able to find reasons behind why you make the color decisions that you do, and your actions will feel less arbitrary and scattered.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email

Ask the Art Prof Live is a weekly live video broadcast on my Facebook page where I provide 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.  Ask me your questions by commenting on the live video post as the video streams, and I’ll answer right away. I’ll discuss being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more. Like my Facebook page and you’ll receive a notification when each live video begins.


Video Critique Program
I offer 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for aspiring/professional artists working on a body of artwork, and for students working on an art portfolio for college admission. Watch sample video critiques and get more info here.


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“How do you compose a striking painting with color?”
“Is hard work and experimenting continuously such a bad thing?”
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