Archive of all blog posts

News & announcements: What is your artistic challenge?

I'm looking for new topics to feature in our blog in the coming year, and I want to know: What's your artistic challenge? Please leave a comment on this post with suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered here. Nothing could be more rewarding than knowing I'm writing articles that are helping real people out there in the world!... Continue reading

Other resources: Animal Painting and Anatomy

Animal Painting and Anatomy by Frank Calderon was perhaps my first experience with critique. As a child, I drew with enormous enthusiasm. Eventually, my parents gathered up some of those drawings and proudly sent them to my grandmother. Continue reading

News & announcements: What books have helped you?

Do you have any reference books that you simply can't do without in your artistic practice? Have there been instructional books along the way that helped you make leaps forward in your understanding? Please share the title and author of those books in the comments, so everyone can benefit from them! We may even feature a few of those books in our blog in the coming year.... Continue reading

Deeper understanding of anatomy: Digitigrade animals don’t have “backward knees”

Today, I'd like to address one of the most common mistakes that new or young artists make when they start drawing animals: "Backward knee" syndrome. This is one simple tip, but if you haven't discovered it yet, it's going to make a world of difference. "Digitigrade" is an animal that walks on its digits, or toes. digitigrade animals include canines, felines, elephants, birds, dinosaurs and more. Humans,... Continue reading

Deeper understanding of anatomy: Drawing realistic mouths

Someone recently shared this photoshop tutorial with me about "drawing realistic mouths". As impressive as the digital techniques they showcased were, I thought it could also serve as a wonderful illustration of facial anatomy. Watch the tutorial, then meet me below the embedded video for some discussion of the lessons we can take from it. https://www.youtube.com/embed/C5p1B2Z9hKQ?rel=0 The mouth... Continue reading

Improving technique: Giving good critique

When to give critique Someone has asked you to critique their work? Wow! That must mean that they think you are talented, intelligent, and all around wonderful. Good on you! But hold on! As flattering as it is, don't automatically say yes. The person asking you for critique is someone actively looking to improve their work. They may be committed to practicing to improve in the problem areas that... Continue reading

Improving technique: Benefiting from critique

One of the hardest - and most important - skills for an artist to master is taking critique. It can sting to hear that there are flaws in your hard work, and the natural impulse is to shut down, become defensive, and try to explain away issues in the work as not your fault. A favorite refrain of people who are having trouble taking critique is "this was just a quick sketch." But no matter how... Continue reading