Designing Landscapes in Plein Air

An 8 week course where students will be studying and painting landscapes from life -- and learning to master value, composition, and color

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Paint landscapes from life

This course is a great option to solidify your foundational skills of mastering value, composition, and color theory traditionally before or while diving into the digital realm. If you have never painted traditionally and would like to dip your feet in, or want a course that will reintroduce you to the art of plein air and gouache, this eight week course will bring you up to speed. Most importantly, you don’t need to be a traditional artist to take this class; learning how to paint with real paints will help you as a digital artist because through painting en plein air, you are honing your observational skills and truly understanding how color relationships work through mixing colors yourself on a palette. The class will be taught in a combination of in- studio studies and outdoor studies en plein air, all demos being painted on 5” x 7” or 6” x 6” canvases.

Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-Recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Gouache, brushes, watercolor paper | *Note Please check the syllabus for the exact list of materials needed for the course
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Basic color theory and an understanding of value and composition

Designing Landscapes in Plein Air WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Brief Introduction about the class | Review basics of a successful composition: What makes a good composition? What makes an unappealing composition? | Go over types of composition in landscape painting (Edgar Payne References) | Understand the importance of a successful line drawing before applying value | Learn the importance of having a focal point in your painting- like telling a story
Understand composition by organization of shapes through value hierarchy | How to look at value as local color | How value ties into lighting (light and dark ratios) | Understand the importance of grouping and simplifying through value | Learn how to create a focal point through value
Understand the basics of how light affects and creates forms | Form principle (basic lighting on sphere) | Learn about various lighting situations: local/ overcast, direct, rim, reflected, transmitted, subsurface scattering - and how to interpret and translate these principles when plein air painting
Color is dependent on the success of the value structure of a painting | Colors are lifeless by themselves - it is the way they are placed together that gives a painting vibration | Importance of grays and neutrals; mixing grays from complements | Muted color palettes versus more vibrant color schemes
Practice simplifying shapes and creating thumbnails that read effectively | Practice honing color intuition through time restraint | Thumbnails force one to loosen up and not focus on details but the general impression of the image; make sure composition is solid and the value structure through color reads well
Learn how to tackle nature themed landscapes infused with architectural elements at Buena Vista Park | Understanding how lighting works on foliage and natural elements like trees and grass | Understand how to create engaging composition with organic elements by using negative and positive shapes
Learn how to paint landscapes with natural elements that have soft and hard edges at El Matador Beach | Understand how to capture the gesture of water and rocks | Use color and value to tell a story and create a focal point
Learn how to think graphically and carve out shapes with value | Understand how to imply texture without actually painting it | Reinforce strong value structure and composition before color

Unleashing your creativity

Tiffanie Mang is an illustrator & plein air artist from San Diego. She studied at the University of Southern California, with a BA in Animation & Digital Arts in 2014. Aside from working in the animation industry as a freelance concept artist & illustrator, her biggest passion is plein air painting & painting landscapes in oils. In 2016, Tiffanie worked as a painter animator on "Loving Vincent," the world's first fully hand painted feature film in oils; a 2018 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. Flying over to Gdansk, Poland to take an animation test in May, she worked on the film for 6 months. The experience changed the direction of her life. Being surrounded by many talented international fine artists, Tiffanie knew going back to the states, she'd have to pursue her passion for fine art more & make it a reality. After living in LA for 7 years freelancing as a concept artist for studios such as Bart Kresa, Fiction LA , Disney, Mustache Productions, & more, she moved back to San Diego to follow her passion as a fine artist & secured her new studio space—Studio 15— at Art on 30th. She's excited to make a reality what really brings the biggest smile to her face- drowning in oil paint or painting outside. To Tiffanie, the thrill of plein air is something that will always be unmatched- she loves & revels in the time restraint while capturing something raw & pristine in front of her with her own colors.


April 21st!

spring TERM Registration

Feb 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2019




April 21st!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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