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Absolute Beginners

An 8-week digital drawing and painting course for beginning artists looking to familiarize themselves with digital tools and foundation applications

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Learn painting fundamentals

Take beginning steps to familiarize yourself with digital drawing and painting tools as well as foundation principles. This class is fit for the very beginner artist or anyone looking to venture into drawing and painting. In this class you'll learn the foundations of digital drawing, painting, and the basics for drawing human and animal figures. You will learn through in-depth mentored online training on how to handle Photoshop and a drawing tablet while pushing your skill level a little further each week. The workshop is built around helping you learn to manage the software and tablet while creating your first digital painting.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop (or equivalent), graphics tablet (Wacom is the preferred brand among artists)
Skills level:   Beginner
Prerequisites:   Fundamentals of Design or good drawing foundation

Absolute Beginners WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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By the end of this course you will be able to use Photoshop and its tools for digital painting. You will be able to break figures and backgrounds down into forms and planes and understand how to use basic light structures in your work. You will also know some fundamentals of anatomy. If you elect to take the Absolute Beginners (AB) Stream you will also be able to paint convincing figures and backgrounds on your own. If you elect to take the Mastering Animals (MA) Stream you will be able to draw and paint convincing animals with the correct proportions, movement and anatomy. You will also be able to design creatures.
Absolute Beginners (AB) will learn how to work with planes to draw a basic head, and what brushes are best for making a value study of a head in black and white. Mastering Animals (MA) students will learn how to draw an animal in space. You will be required to find reference of several animals in interesting poses or observed from unusual angles and draw them for practice.
Absolute Beginners (AB) students will be introduced to layer settings and learn to to apply colour to their value study. You will also explore how different colour settings will change the overall impression that is going to be created around your portrait. You will create 3 different color setups (of your own) for later comparison. Mastering Animals (MA) students' goal is to pick 2 to 3 different animals from a folder that will be provided and draw them using the methods that we have learned in lesson 1 and 2, before adding fur to all or part of them. Fur studies will include: 1) the overall proportions of an animal connected to the form and masses of the body; 2) the pose of the animal and its relation to the space that it sits in; 3) the texture and overall behavior of the fur.
Absolute Beginners (AB) students will be provided with references of statues and will practice drawing portions or the entire figure focusing on skin and drapery. This is a black and white exercise which will be used to practice seeing forms when painting. We will also learn: 1) breaking down the body into planes; 2) studying light and form using the planes. Mastering Animals (MA) students will begin full color studies of animals developed in the previous week investigating skulls and the muscles around them. We will study the facial skull and muscles of horse and ox.
Absolute Beginners (AB) students will examine some portraits made by old masters and talk about colors and what impact they have on a painting. We will also observe the effect that light has on a subject during painting and students will practice illustrating a full body figure using colors of their our own. Students who would like to explore light and color in more basic terms will have the option of painting a still life. Mastering Animals (MA) Following on from the previous week's assignment students will study a lion and a dog. Emphasis will be on getting to a point where students are thinking first about what they are observing and analyzing what they are going to draw before putting pencil to paper (or stylus to tablet). You will also learn to flip your study and the reference picture often so you can spot mistakes an fix errors on your study.
Absolute Beginners (AB) students will move to a new assignment and learn to create thumbnails in order to brainstorm figures. This assignment will help you with in the assignments for week 7 and 8. The week 6 videos will explain custom brushes and how you can use them to create forms that encourage you to creatively see new forms and create alternative compositions for figure (or creature) painting. Mastering Animals (MA) students will receive a very cool description/brief on a dragon that they are to illustrate.
Absolute Beginners (AB) students will commence their master study assignment. You will choose an old master panting to study. It must contain at least one full body figure and a background. You will be required to: 1) paint a full body in color; 2) add a background to your painting; 3) work with textures. Mastering Animals (MA) students will continue to work on the dragon of their own design. In-depth one-to-one video feedback will be provided to ensure students receive sufficient coaching to successfully complete their final piece.
Master studies will be finalized. MA students may undertake an additional assignment. In-depth one-to-one video feedback will be continued coaching students to successfully create a portfolio piece.

Taking your skills to the next level

Lectures by Anne Pogoda

Anne Pagoda is a freelance artist and instructor whose client list includes ImagineFX, Phoenix Film, Teamworxx, FremantleMedia, Grundy UFA, UFA Film & TV GmBH, RTL Group, Pro 7, Ronin Film, Ballistic Publishing, Falkemedia, Cornelsen, Imagine Publishing, Focal Press, Zenescope Entertainment, Virgin Lands Animated Pictures, Kinesthetic Games, Gamomat GmBH and btk-ak


July 21st!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




July 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

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