The Relevance of Traditional Drawing Skills in Popular Media

New course runs from 22 09 15 at Atelier Art Classes in Salisbury. 7.00-9.30pm on Tuesday evenings.

Casual attendance $40.00 per session Students $36 (2xLife drawing sessions $10 extra)

Block booking (10 classes) and student discount

Before the invention of the camera, subject matter covered by art included: portraiture, nudes, landscape and still life. The emphasis was on representation of subjects that existed in reality. Now, subject matter in art has significantly broadened as has its usage. Subject matter now includes: dragons, demons, angels, orcs and fairies. Proportions of these figures are exaggerated to emphasise their character. Knights wear impossibly huge armour, women have breasts the size of which would snap their spine. The characterisation of the figure has changed and been expanded on.


New forms of media have been invented in which to place these characters. These include: comic books, video games and movies and though the art has changed, the core skills remain the same. Knowledge of anatomy, lighting, form and composition are still needed in order to make these images convincing within their context.


Unfortunately, this does not happen. New artists marvel at the work of these fantasy geniuses and see only surface values. They only see the visual stylisation and seek to copy that rather than go through the difficult process of learning the core skills and then figuring out what they will then do with them. Good drawing skills are pushed aside for gaudy concepts, detail, and outright copying of artists they admire. Artists like Simon Bisley, Frank Frazetta and many popular manga artists are enlessly aped instead of the student gaining traditional form drawing knowledge and training.


It is because of this that I have written this course. I saw a need to teach this new generation of artists these essential form drawing skills they so desperately need. I have noticed that students now shy away from foreshortening and perspective because, yes, it is difficult. There have also been many times that I have seen a students work and seen that there is little to no knowledge of anatomy. Just a series of lumps and bumps with what they think they are seeing. I am also seeing a lot of artists learning drawing from copying manga.


In this course I seek to give students the traditional representational drawing skills in a way that they can draw dragons, orcs, fairies and manga characters but in a convincing way. Student will be given instruction and therefore also an appreciation of the abstract structure of an artwork. They will learn to draw the figure in space, have and interesting tonal composition and learn the finer points of perspective and anatomy. All skills that will help them to better understand the figure and  be able to create their own. 

Nick Shepherd July 2015

Nick Leavey