Art Instruction · Link Roundup · Oh the places I've been...

Free Art Instruction: A Few Good Links


Phil McAndrew! > Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach In Art School by Phil McAndrew — what are the ten habits of highly effective illustrators and cartoonists? Phil knows, and if you take a moment to read his advice, you will too.

@random > From Idea Sketch to Final Painting: Kent Williams, Mother and Daughter (2009), oil on linen, 42 x 50 in. — not art instruction per se, but much can be gleaned from step-by-step process photos, and the finished work is a knockout!


comic tools > April 11, 2009: Ball, hoop, cone, vase | April 18, 2009: Basic Bones | April 26, 2009: Torso Muscles | May 3, 2009: Upper Arms (and Kirby Dots) | May 10, 2009: The Forearm | May 17, 2009: Leg Muscles | May 24, 2009: Neck Muscles.

Ragged Claws Network > Anatomical Reference Sheets — seven plates from an old anatomy book for art students.

Ragged Claws Network > Download Here: “Constructive Anatomy” by George B. Bridgman > Rey’s Anatomy by Rey Bustos – a display of images that use Flash technology to interactively cross fade from photos of real and sculpted human figures to drawings of those same figures with the skin removed to display the underlying musculature.


Some of these links are repeated in other categories.

AlexHays . Portolio > Save Loomis! — download PDFs of Fun with a Pencil, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth, Drawing the Head & Hands, Successful Drawing, Creative Illustration, and Eye of the Painter, all for free. The books are also available via Illustration Age and the Internet Archive.

ComiCrazys > ComiCrazys Archive for the Famous Artists Cartoon Course Category — 18 free lessons and counting; available in both PDF and JPEG formats.

Lulu > The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed — download a free PDF of the classic book courtesy of

Ragged Claws Network > Download Here: “Constructive Anatomy” by George B. Bridgman


Animation Resources > Preston Blair’s Advanced Animation — a classic! The whole book is online, but you have to download it page by page.

The Art of Jake Parker > Agent 44: Fixing It Old School — learn how cartoonists make art corrections in the real world.

arglebargle! > Ken Hultgren on Cartooning

ComiCrazys > ComiCrazys Archive for the Famous Artists Cartoon Course Category — 18 free lessons and counting; available in both PDF and JPEG formats.

comic tools > Comic Tools: Tutorials — learn about basic anatomy, balloon shapes, Kirby energy dots, perfect white-out consistency, ruling pens, cutting techniques, art corrections, scanning, and lots more.

Karmatoons Inc. > Drawing for Classical Animation — learn how to construct characters out of basic three-dimensional shapes, how to animate your characters according to time-tested principles, and how to create naturalistic movement through the use of live-action reference.

Richmond Illustration Inc! > Tom Richmond’s MAD Blog Cartooning/Caricature Tutorials — noses, hands, crowd scenes, cross hatching, and more.

The Tools Artists Use — find out what tools your fellow artists keep in their toolboxes that you might add to yours.


ProkoTV > includes two playlists — “How to Draw Facial Features” (eight videos, two each on eyes, nose, lips, and ears) and “How to Draw the Head from Any Angle” (four videos). Also includes videos on shading, how to draw hair, how to draw Jack Skellington, and how to draw Santa Claus.


Character Designs > Photosets by Hong Ly — free figure reference for artists, licensed under a Creative Commons license, the very reasonable terms of which can be found on the Character Designs site; the 39 photosets include both nude and costumed models.

Figure & Gesture Drawing > Figure Drawing Practice — a customizable, timed slide-show of nude and clothed models designed to help you to practice gesture drawing; please note, however, that the images are copyrighted and as such cannot be used to create derivative works. They’re offered for private practice only.

Reference! Reference! — clips of animals and people in motion. The site is intended as a “free database for animation,” but any artist with an interest in drawing from life will find the clips a useful resource resource for home study.


Figure & Gesture Drawing > Animal Drawing Practice — a customizable, timed slide-show of animals designed to help you to practice gesture drawing; please note, however, that the images are copyrighted and as such cannot be used to create derivative works. They’re offered for private practice only.


Art Instruction Blog > A Direct Approach to Acrylic Painting by Greg Biolchini — watch as Biolchini maps out a painting, in detail, with charcoal on canvas and then elaborates and finishes the image with layers of transparent and opaque acrylic paint. Don’t worry about whether or not you like Biolchini’s style; it’s the order of operations that’s important.

John Singer Sargent’s Painting Process (PDF) — compiled from various sources by Craig “Goodbrush” Mullins. Here’s a snippet that will surprise many who’ve been taught to do the exact opposite: “If you see a thing [such as a shadow] transparent, paint it transparent; don’t get the effect by a thin strain showing the canvas through. That’s a mere trick. The more delicate the transition, the more you must study it for the exact tone.”

The Pictorial Arts > Russell Flint’s Technique — if you think of watercolour as inflexible and unforgiving, you need to read this account of Russell Flint at work. Here, in a nutshell, is the secret: “it is an essential characteristic of Flint’s method that, though the successive washes are put on with all the freshness, sparkle and purity of which he is capable, they must be absolutely dry, stage by stage, before the drawing is proceeded with.” Choose overly absorbent paper, use mostly staining colours, overwork the washes, don’t let them dry thoroughly between applications, and lifting/corrections will be impossible. > Scott Burdick: Demonstrations – nine in oil, one in watercolour. Even if the subject matter is not to your taste, you can learn something here about the traditional alla prima method of working out a painting in oil from the initial block in to the final flourishes.

Sovek: The Art of Charles Sovek > Lessons from the Easel – The Basics by Charles Sovek

UNBORED > Gary Panter’s drawing tips by Josh – ten simple ideas to free your mind and your hand.

OTHER “HOW TO” INFORMATION: > Build Your Own Easel! – Free Easel Plans by Benjamin Grosser.

lines and colors > Pochade Boxes by Charley Parker — includes a lot of interesting and useful information as well as links to both commercial and do-it-yourself options.

WetCanvas > Making a Canvas Board! by Larry Seiler


Blender — a free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

GIMP — the GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

IrfanView — a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.

Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) — Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, ICE creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. The panorama can be saved in a wide variety of image formats, from common formats like JPEG and TIFF to the multiresolution tiled format used by Silverlight’s Deep Zoom and by the HD View and HD View SL panorama viewers.

Photoscape — a free and easy photo-editing program that enables you to fix and enhance digital images.

Art Instruction · Artistic Anatomy · Download Here

Download Here: “Constructive Anatomy” by George B. Bridgman

Here’s a classic art instruction book by George B. Bridgman (1864-1943), first published in May 1920 and now in the public domain (see Wikipedia: “According to s. 6 of the [Canadian Copyright] Act the copyright of a work lasts the life of the author plus 50 years from the end of the calendar year of death“; “In the United States, all books and other works published before 1923 have expired copyrights and are in the public domain“), available from Ragged Claws Network as a free download (click the cover image):


Here are some teaser images: