And no, as much as I’d like to say you’re looking at the best website in the history of webdom, that just ain’t the case. YET. <ominous music plays while I stare into the distance and ever-so-slowly raise my eyebrow as high as physically possible, all while basking in the palpable awkwardness>
So what’s the catch?
Absolutely nothing besides some wholesome learning by two talented guys.
Art school costs a lot of money that most of us don’t have. The price these guys charge is less than a week’s worth of daycare for a single mother with one child in South Carolina, including government assistance deductions. It’s a heavy statement, but marinate on that a second. You can get a real art education without drowning in student debt (or more student debt) or wondering where the hell your money just went. You get every single cent’s worth, ten-fold.
Even if you’re a hobbyist, doing the paid courses is worth the time saved from seeking out alternatives and the possible protection of your sanity. Especially for those who aren’t keen on where to find such sites.
Ahem…Not that any of that applies to me (or to these guys – neither expressed that to me but it sometimes needs saying how much work goes into these things)….
BUT for the years of selfless dedication these artists give to us, make sure to support them. We can talk about my caviar dreams another time.
Why These Artists Take the Cake…
It Can’t Go Unsaid: They’re Yen and Yang
“ There is a reason why so many aspiring artists get stuck at the hobby level. Passion is usually not the problem… The problem is they are trying to learn using a hope strategy; that is, they create painting after painting and hope they will learn something new… Painting is much more enjoyable when you understand it.”Dan Scott
Mr. Miyagi is, to me, a fitting nickname for him because he’s quite calm, methodical, but wise like a sensei. He’ll tell you not only how to mix that vivid orange, but to mix green without getting it all muddy (which we all know is so often the case).
His website offers so much in terms of variety for content: master artists’ painting analyses, specific tutorials geared mainly at different aspects found commonly in landscape paintings, color theory tutelage, how to apply techniques such as simplification and framing to your artwork, and tips on how to market your work (if that’s your thing). Believe it or not, I haven’t even chipped the surface of the topics his site will teach you about.
What Makes Dan’s Site Stand Out:
- I have to reemphasize the way he explains things. He gives the why as well as the how in terms that just flow and are really easy to follow.
- His archive has hundreds of posts covering everything from color theory and mixing, the theory or building blocks needed to create incredible art, targeted tutorials and breakdowns of the world’s most revered paintings.
- He does most of this for free. Because he has to pay to live like the rest of us (I think I might of touched on that bit), he does have some low-cost advanced materials including 2 ebooks that compile some of his best lessons as well as new insights; 2 master classes that each have hours of video lessons, tons of worksheets, printable resources and interactive communications; and lastly a massive library of photos you can use for reference and never have to worry about copyright infringement. One of the two master classes is currently full but this alone is a testament to how good he is as a teacher. Find all of these at https://drawpaintacademy.com/art-courses/.
- Dan works with pretty much every medium. Whether you paint with oils, acrylics or are a sketch artist, there is a wealth of info for you. I will say, though, that his strength and the majority of his posts center on painting.
- He doesn’t hesitate to draw examples from the best painters history can show us. While Claude Monet is his obvious and admitted favorite, the range of works he pulls, critiques and uses to demonstrate different techniques is staggering.
Some of my favorite Dan Scott articles:
- The Ultimate Color Mixing Guide for Artists
- 5 Ways To Simplify Your Paintings
- A Comprehensive Guide To Composition For Artists
- How to Use the Rule of Thirds To Improve Your Art
The Chuck Norris of Drawing
What Make’s Stan’s Site Stand Out
- The humorous, even smart as, way he teaches. I’ve written this bullet a hundred times and always feel like it comes off an an insult, but it’s really the opposite. You’ll agree after digging into his videos.
- He has a ringer of a secret weapon in his co-host of the Draftsman Series podcasts: legendary Artist and teacher, Marshall Vandruff. Just to give an idea of Marshall’s resume, one of his first jobs was doing concept art for Disney. Yes, THAT Disney. He completely crapped the bed, which is just one of the amazing stories you get to hear about. More shocking perhaps is that Stan gives him hell about it, all straight to his face and all from the best intentions. The banter between the two is hilarious. Not to mention, one minute of their insight is worth its weight in gold. Stan’s not afraid to make fun of himself, or anyone else for that matter. During this series podcast, he and Marshall talk about the infamous Disney faux pas and their other biggest mistakes. Marshall comes armed with loads of mistakes. In full Chuck Norris fashion, Stan had only two. The man is confident, but to put it plainly: he has every right to be. And there’s still a whole lot in that episode I didn’t give away – I promise!
- Just because he’s sarcastic, self-assured and a bit goofy, don’t think for a second he’s not incredibly self-aware or generous with his time.Scroll through his library of free lessons, podcasts, and model poses to see what I’m talking about. Go ahead. I’ll wait, because it’ll take you a while.
- He typically offers a 7-day free trial to his Master Classes, but because of COVID, he’s upped the ante and is offering a 30-day free trial and 20% discount on all of his courses with promo code ‘STAYIN’. He even offers discounts for package deals. I can’t fill in all of what they cover here because it’d take up my whole post, but I will say one of the coolest perks about the master classes is he personally gives in-depth critiques to improve your art. So GO SEE FOR YOURSELF! These courses have been lauded as the most thorough, well-presented and all-around best online drawing courses in existence today. That’s a huge statement, but one that master artists such as Vandruff have voiced time and time again.
- He’s constantly thinking of new ways to improve the website, to feature new artists, to give YOU (the viewer) more. You can often catch him thinking out loud in his videos of ideas to start working on. The guy is the definition of a creative.
- Last but not least, you can download Skelly, an app created by Proko (Stan) and his genius tech friends that allows you to pose the human skeleton in pretty much any way imaginable. You can also change where your light source is, save favorite poses and cover the bones with a basic layer if desired. Available on iOS and Android devices for only $6.99. I can tell you personally I use this app all of the time and it’s helped me create some of my best-selling pieces to-date.
Some of My Favorite Stan Prokopenko (AKA Proko) Articles:
- How To Shade A Drawing
- How To Hold And Control Your Pencil
- How To Draw The Head From Any Angle
- How To Draw Hair
- Literally all of the Draftsman Series podcasts (bear in mind there are 2 seasons in the series – the link is only to episode 1 of season 1!)
- There are many, many, many talented artists in the world. Of those, there are many great teachers. These two are, in my opinion, the absolute best. Your opinion may be different, but I’ve put up a hard argument to follow.
- Don’t comment negatively or disparage anyone if these sites for some crazy reason aren’t your cup of tea. We should all be grateful that these guys are busting their asses to help the rest of us learn a craft, which is neither easy to learn or teach. But it is incredibly easy to be judgy about. So just say no to trolling and press the backspace key please!
- MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: Pay for one of these guys’ master courses. Donate a little cash. Time is money and the cost of canvases, good paint and other materials is even more. If you honestly cannot afford to spend the cash, share their posts on your social media, help grow their following and encourage others to enroll in their courses. Paying it forward goes a long ways when you can’t pay otherwise 🙂