Created by renowned artist and online instructor Stan Prokopenko from the Watts Atelier art school in California, this figure drawing course is probably the best choice on the web for new or young artists, without access to an art school or private teacher, looking for a structured way to learn the right drawing fundamentals.
This course focuses on teaching how to look beyond the shapes and outlines and understand the actual forms of the body, so you can know how to shade them correctly in the last lesson.
Not understanding form is one of the main issues self-taught artists have a hard time to overcome without a structured guide of drawing foundations, since we all feel tempted to create “finished pieces” with detailed tones (and even sophisticated color palettes) without truly understanding the drawing behind them.
This course offers the following content:
1. Gesture: identifying the gesture or action line of the figure, which defines its motion from the beginning (this is the most important foundation for figure drawing).
2. Bean: simplifying the motion of the torso by drawing an abstract bean-like representation of the ribcage and the pelvis.
3. Structure: constructing form in three dimensions by using basic building blocks (spheres, cilynders and cubes).
4. Landmarks: points of the body used as a reference for finding the gesture line and measuring the proportions.
5. Robo Bean: simplifying the motion of the torso by drawing an abstract representation of the ribcage and the pelvis using boxes and perspective.
6. Mannequinization: constructing the whole human body with symple three-dimentional forms, using the bean and robo bean as a starting point.
7. Critiques: critique videos of other students’ work you can use to learn from their mistakes (you can also submit your own works for critique).
8. Balance: techniques for finding the center of gravity and drawing balanced figures.
9. Exaggeration: methods to develop a rigid pose into a more dynamic and expressive one.
10. Proportions: Study of the most commonly used systems for identidying the average human body proportions.
11. Measuring: measuring techniques for observational drawing.
12. Shading: an in-depth study of all types of tints and shades (tone) and step by step shading techniques (“the icing on the cake”).
In every section, the course includes several exercise videos alongside the main lesson videos, for a total runtime of over 15 hours. We are able to watch the instructor draw all exercises, as we hear him explain the process step by step in voiceover. Having the experience of watching professional artists draw in front of you is one of the main adventages of attending an art school, and this course is an excellent alternative for self-taught artists without access to live drawing sessions.
After buying the course you get lifetime access to all videos, and will also be able to download them so you can practice anywhere and anytime without a connection.
The gesture lesson in particular is one that is worth returning to from time to time. It includes several gesture drawing exercises from 30-second to 2-minute length (see a capture of this lesson’s page here). Continue practicing until being able to identify and draw the gestures in the same time-frame as Stan does for each figure is a good goal, and will probably take several months (or even years). If you want to practice even more, Proko also offers additional packages with hundreds of high resolution pictures of different models, which you can use as reference for all kinds of practices.
Stan’s teaching style is also very structured and easy to follow. He includes some jokes and funny sketches, that I personally like as they help you not being overwhelmed by the amount of content. Videos are also of high quality (at least 720p) and you can see all drawings and processes in detail.
One thing to note is that this course teaches a classical method for realistic drawing, and does not include any video about stylization. If you are interested in a comic, manga or fashion design type of drawing, this might be a little discouraging.
However, it is important to remember that all styles of drawing share the same foundations when it comes to gesture, balance, form and anatomy, and learning those in a classical way will allow you to break the rules afterwards and draw proficiently in any style you want. You can also do all the course’s assignments drawing digitally with a tablet, as these foundations are exactly the same in both traditional and digital art.
The $99 price is really good in comparison to an art school, and taking into account that this course explains in detail all the drawing foundations we will be using during our whole careers.
If you decide to buy this course, please consider supporting me by using the following affiliate link 🙇♂️ This way, I would earn a little advertising/referral fee without any extra cost to you:
👉 Use code “12DAYS” for 15% discount.
A perfect complement for this course is Proko’s Portrait Drawing Fundamentals Course, so you can study the drawing principles for both the general human figure and the specific details of the face.
Also, if you want to go more in-depth studying the human body, Proko also offers a 3-part course on the anatomy of the human body. This is an extremely detailed course where you will study the human body bone by bone and muscle by muscle. You will also have access to fully rotable 3D models of the different body parts, so you can create your own references for anatomy practice.
Would you like to know more about this course? Have you tried the course and would like to share your thoughts? Leave a comment! 😉