Brainstorming Do’s and Don’ts

While every student has their weaknesses they’re working on, the one skill that none of my students seem to have experience with across the board is brainstorming. Even strong students who have exceptional drawing skills struggle tremendously with brainstorming.   In fact, many of these students have an even tougher time because they’ve been using their drawing […]

Artistic Anatomy Lecture: Hands

This video provides a comprehensive explanation of the structure of the human hand. It explains how to subdivide the hand into its major parts. These large sections of the hand are then broken down into smaller forms, including the metacarpals, phalanges, the wrist, and more. Lecture by Art Prof Clara Lieu. Watch the 9 min. […]

“Bad” Abstract Painting Compositions

What is a “bad” abstract composition? This video shows a broad range of abstract paintings, and the opinions of several artists as to why the compositions are effective or not. The opinion of each artist on the abstract composition then stimulates a discussion on why a specific abstract composition is successful or not. Discussion led […]

Artistic Anatomy Lecture: Upper Back Muscles

This explains the most important muscles on the upper back torso of the figure for artists to be able to draw and recognize. Muscles covered include the deltoid, latissimus dorsi, teres major, infraspinatus, and the trapezius. The relationship of these muscles to the bony landmarks, how they overlap on top of each other is covered […]

Elements of Art: Texture in 3D

Texture is one of the Elements of Art that is readily seen in 3D artworks. Materials, surfaces in 3D artworks vary tremendously and contribute towards the character of an artwork. This video provides examples of contemporary art and images from art history where texture plays an integral role. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu […]

How to Choose Reference Photos for Your Art

Finding good reference photos for your artwork isn’t always easy! This video explains what specific qualities to look for when looking for reference photos for your art. Factors to consider include the resolution of the photo, lighting, focus, and more. Tips for sites that provide a diverse range of references are talked about as well. […]

Artistic Anatomy Lecture: Basic Shapes

Art Prof Clara Lieu explains the “major masses” of the human figure, the largest forms: the head, rib cage, pelvis, and thighs. The major masses are angled in relation to each other, it’s a fundamental part of the way the human figure is structured and an important premise to grasp before moving onto the smaller, […]

Artistic Anatomy Lecture: Intro for Beginners

Art Prof Clara Lieu introduces the first of a series of videos explaining basics of anatomy for artists. Prof Lieu explains the reasoning behind why understanding the fundamentals of human anatomy are extremely useful for figurative artists. Using examples from art history, contemporary art, and her own artworks, Prof Lieu talks about the many challenges […]

Natural Light vs Artificial Light

Lighting plays a huge role for artists and can dramatically effect the mood of an artwork. This video explains the differences between artificial light and natural light in illustrations, paintings, films, animation and more. Examples in art show how natural lighting and artificial lighting create different visual affects, and how that can impact the story […]

Thumbnail Sketches

This video explains and demonstrates the process of how thumbnail sketches work within the artistic process. There are many benefits of thumbnail sketches: they can save you time when working on a final piece of artwork and allow you to explore more options for composition. The demonstration shows simple strategies on how to crop or […]


Brainstorming is an essential process that artists can use to develop their ideas to create their artwork. Exercises such as word association, mind maps, thumbnail sketches, and sketchbook doodles are all discussed as a means towards stimulating the development of ideas for future artworks. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Eloise […]

Mood Boards

Creating mood boards is a fun, exciting way to gather visual inspiration for your projects. This video explores Jordan’s mood boards, created for the character designs in the series Shadow Boxers. Jordan explains his process for finding visual inspiration, using Pinterest to organize the images, developing the stories behind the characters, and ultimately to the […]

Class Group Critique

Art Prof Clara Lieu demonstrates how to run a group art critique in a classroom. For every art teacher, leading art critiques during an art class is an ongoing challenge. Every student, every artwork, and every art critique is different. Art students have their own challenges as participants in a group critique, how do you […]

How to Critique Art

Critique is a fundamental part of the artistic process, providing artists an opportunity to get a fresh pair of eyes on their artwork. This video explains concrete, practical strategies that both art teachers and art students can apply to group critiques in the classroom. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Cat […]

Shooting Reference Photos

Shooting your own photo references for your artwork can be very effective for getting the visuals you need! This video explains what is necessary for a photo reference to be effective, what visual elements to look for and emphasize, how to make choices on setting up a model, lighting, props, and more. Discussion led by […]

How To Photograph Your 2D & 3D Art

This video provides a comprehensive look at how to photograph your 2D & 3D artwork, showing common problems and with practical techniques to achieve photos that will accurately represent your artwork. Having high quality photos of your artwork is more important today than ever: you need photos of your artwork for your website, social media, […]

Lighting Characters

Creating different lighting situations for characters has impactful visual effects and can also be used as a narrative tool. The interaction of color and various types of light can create a broad range of color schemes. Lighting can be a very effective means of creating a mood or atmosphere to a character as well. Draw […]


Lighting can be a powerful visual tool in art! This video gets down to the nuts and bolts of how lighting works in an artwork, focusing on the specifics of different types of highlights and the various ranges of visual effects they create. Examples from art history and contemporary art show how artists can apply […]


This video explains how lighting works in art, focusing on shadows and breaking down the specific visual qualities. Knowing how shadows work, and understanding the difference between cast shadows and form shadows are important skills for all artists in order to create a broad range of visual effects in many art forms. Discussion led by […]

“Bad” 2D Compositions 2

This video shows common problems artists encounter with 2D compositions, explaining how certain types of compositions can come across as tiresome and/or cliche. Examples of artworks with compositions that are “bad” are shown, which stimulates a discussion on why a specific 2D composition is successful or not. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and […]

“Bad” 2D Compositions 1

This video discusses common problems artists encounter with 2D compositions, explaining how certain types of compositions can come across as tiresome and/or cliche. Next, artwork examples are shown explaining which are effective, which are not, and why the they think a composition is successful or not. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching […]

Great 2D Compositions

What qualities are seen in great 2D compositions in art? Examples of impactful compositions from fine art, comics, illustration, movies, and more are shown in this video, to explain and break down the compositions to point out strategies that make for an engaging 2D composition. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist […]

Portrait Background Ideas

This video provides ideas for how to create backgrounds for portraits so that your compositions are visually dynamic and engaging. Backgrounds are often neglected, especially in portraits where the focus is usually on the face. However, backgrounds can have a great impact on the way a portrait comes across, especially in terms of conveying a […]

One Point Perspective, Demonstration

This video demos how to apply 1 point linear perspective principles in drawing, using Procreate, ink wash, and movie stills from Alfred Hitchcock films as reference images. Drawing techniques, Procreate, ink wash, and a bamboo pen are explained, as well as how to identify the vanishing point, the vanishing lines, establish the horizon line, and […]

Atmospheric Perspective

Atmospheric perspective in art creates the illusion of space in a 2D artwork. This can be applied to 2D artworks to show a convincing sense of space. Atmospheric perspective emphasizes spatial intervals, the distance between objects where as objects recede into the distance, they become less detailed, lower in contrast, and more blurry. Objects in […]

One & Two Point Linear Perspective

The essentials of 1 point and 2 point linear perspective are explained in this video by breaking it down with clear, concrete images that make it easy to translate perspective to observational drawing, as opposed to dry and boring diagrams of cubes and blocks. Basic ideas of linear perspective, such as point of view, and […]

Intro to One Point Linear Perspective

The nuts and bolts of 1 point linear perspective are comprehensively explained in this video. Using stills from movies that display 1 point perspective shows that linear perspective doesn’t have to be the boring, dry, outdated technical exercise that it frequently is presented as in classrooms. Basic concepts of linear perspective, such as point of […]

One Point Perspective, Demonstration

This video is a drawing demonstration of how to apply rules of 1 point linear perspective into the context of observational drawing using pastel pencils. The processes of how to identify the vanishing point, the vanishing lines, establish the horizon line, and how to develop the drawing to convey a convincing sense of space are […]

Basics Curriculum

The complete Basics Curriculum for Self-taught Artists is a series of 3 videos. If you’re a beginner, this curriculum is a great way to get a comprehensive overview of the skills and topics you’ll want to learn, regardless of what you want to ultimately focus on. The Curriculum’s document is a complete resource for all […]

Warm & Cool Colors

This video explains how warm colors and cool colors can be used to create mood and contrast in an artwork. While there are colors that are stereotypically seen as “warm” and “cool,” warm and cool colors are contextual, and is often times not as straightforward as it might seem! Examples from contemporary art and art […]

Color Saturation

This video explores color saturation, explaining how intense and muted colors can work together effectively in fine art, illustration, film, character design, and more. Both muted and intense colors contribute important elements of color that are both equally important in an artwork. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster. Video […]

How To Create Color Palettes

Planning a color scheme for an artwork is an effective way to achieve visual cohesion and intent in your artwork. Color schemes are an effective way of establishing a mood in a painting, as well as creating visual contrast and textures. There are many ways to collect ideas for color schemes and apply them to […]