Monday, December 1, 2008

Drawing and Painting Courses

Registration begins on December 2, 2008, and courses begin January 9, 2009. For more information, go to: is thrilled to announce our very first online interactive painting and drawing courses. We are honoured to introduce Cindy Wider from Queensland, Australia, as the instructor of both courses. Cindy is an award winning and internationally renowned artist, art educator, art curricula designer, author of Paint in Your Pyjamas and six of Drawspace's most popular drawing lessons (Hoddinott Publishing, Nova Scotia, Canada).

“Cindy is a wonderfully dedicated teacher and both the quality of the teaching material and the level of support for my learning have exceeded all my expectations. Paint in your Pyjamas has been about more than just successful learning, it has been a life enhancing and deeply affecting experience. My whole life seems richer for it and I can tell you it's the best thing I have done in years.”
Carol Cassell, Marcoola, Australia (student of Cindy Wider)

Draw in Your Pyjamas: This unique ten week course, the first of six, offers the fundamental principles of drawing for the beginner. A delicate blend of traditional methods handed down from the great masters is combined with contemporary knowledge. Through a series of simple, fun drawing exercises, you are encouraged to refine the first of four major skills, horizontal and vertical comparison (most people use this skill on a daily basis). This course is ideal for absolute beginners, who want to learn rudimentary drawing skills, and is also suitable for more experienced artists who wish to refine their skills. You need to devote a minimum of four to six hours per week.

Paint and Mix Colours in Your Pyjamas: This exciting ten-week beginner course, the second of six, is loaded with professional techniques that quickly immerse you into painting with acrylic paints. You are shown how to mix a huge array of colours, using just three primary colours plus black and white. I then take you through the process of learning six traditional brush strokes. From there, I guide you through a series of enjoyable, step-by-step projects to paint several objects using a smooth, hard-edge style, as well as traditional realism. You need to devote a minimum of six to eight hours per week.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Madison 3

I found a couple of hours today to work on my drawing of Madison. The directionality of her hair is now lightly sketched, and I’ve added a few very subtle modifications to the face.

The next step is to lightly outline the blouse so I can better judge where I need to add middle and dark values.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Madison 2

Lots of new things are coming to Drawspace early in December, including our very first online painting and drawing classes.

My lesson for the first of December is finished, I’m starting Chapter 7 of my new book, and I’ve made a little progress on this drawing of Madison.

Only the light values are added at this point; the next step is to begin drawing her curly hair and the ruffled collar of her blouse. Then on to middle values!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Madison 1

Here’s a sneak peek at my most recent work in progress. I figure that I have about two more days of shading to finish the drawing. The style of shading will be based on the beautifully intricate crosshatching of Michelangelo. When finished, I plan to use all the scanned images of the various stages to put together a new lesson for Drawspace.

No doubt, the drawing will also find its way into my new book. A quote from the introduction:

“This book is designed to take you step-by-step through the learning processes of drawing the various types of lines used in classical drawing. When you learn the technical skills and styles of the great masters, you can easily transfer these abilities into drawing anything and everything you can see or imagine.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bud the bud

One more page of text and two more drawings and Chapter 6 of my new book is ready to go to my editor. This little contour drawing is based on a work by Leonardo.

A short quote from the beginning of this chapter:

“Naturally, you, as the artist, influence how a drawing looks with factors such as personal preferences and individual style. However, having a repertoire of several completely different drawing techniques enables you to have choices when you want to create more powerful artworks.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Study for the Head of a Girl

I recently completed this graphite sketch as an illustration for my new book. My sketch is copied from Leonardo’s Study for the Head of a Girl, which he rendered in silverpoint on prepared paper in 1482.

"The artist ought first to exercise his hand by copying drawings from the hand of a good master."

>Leonardo da Vinci<

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Started as a Forensic Artist

I receive several emails a year through my website from artists wanting to become forensic artists and not knowing how to break into this exciting career. Hence, I thought a great addition to my blog would be a few ideas to help aspiring forensic artists get started.

First of all, a caveat: The world has changed significantly during the thirty years since I taught myself forensic art. Today, the field is very competitive and you need specific education. I'm not in touch with the latest info; I retired in 2002 after a 25 year career. However, I can point you in a few directions.

The best way into a career in forensic art is to become a police person first. I was a civilian forensic artist and spent way too many years learning the skills necessary to be considered an expert in my field. Knowing how to draw is not the only part of the career. You also need very strong skills in cognitive interviewing techniques. Do not take any courses online unless you research them thoroughly. Through the years, I've discovered more than a few crackpots.

An absolute must is a very strong knowledge in human facial anatomy. My suggestion is to study and draw everything possible on the forms of human facial anatomy from various angles. Plan to spend at least two years doing thousands of drawings. Ask friends to serve as witnesses and describe someone based on a photo, so you can then see how close you have come.

From there, you need to know computers inside out, specifically imaging programs.

A very well known and successful forensic artist is Jeanne Boylan (worked mostly with the FBI), a remarkably intelligent, intuitive, and personable lady. We've talked through e-mail a couple of times and we were both on the same international rosters of forensic artists a few years back.

Here’s her website:

She has written a fabulous book, which I highly recommend:

Portraits of Guilt by Jeanne Boylan

Karen Taylor and I were also on international forensic art rosters together may years ago - and she is the ultimate expert in the field. Her book is an absolute must:

Forensic Art and Illustration by Karen T. Taylor

Many universities offer wonderful courses in forensic criminology. The very best school (in my humble opinion) is Scottsdale Artists’ School in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you have the financial means, you'll find some amazing courses.

For example:

Comprehensive Composite Drawing, May 4 - 8, 2009 Taught by Karen T. Taylor

A few other websites to get you started are as follows:

Good luck!

The cover of my latest book

Today, I’m back to working on my third book; almost done chapter 6 – four (or maybe 5) more chapters to go! From an author’s perspective, this book is an absolute joy. Here’s a sneak peek of the draft of the front cover.

When I wrote my first book (Drawing for Dummies), my learning curve was extremely steep. So many new terms and acronyms to learn! In addition, I needed to work with templates and within very specific guidelines.

As I look back, I gratefully acknowledge the dedication and patience of the wonderful Wiley publishing team with whom I worked.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome to my Drawspace blog!

As the owner, administrator, and resident artist of, I look forward to sharing information about my site, upcoming lessons, new books in progress, and my favorite artworks - new and old.

My version (2008) of the famous Mona Lisa is rendered with various grades of graphite on Arches hot pressed smooth watercolor paper. Shading is rendered with hatching.

Today I completed a new lesson for my site: J06 Intermediate: How to Use a Value Map. Three days before my (self imposed) deadline!