Becoming a Better Artist – Critical knowledge and techniques for today’s artists


The estimated reading/video time sound within the ballpark, though each week is different, with some being longer and some shorter.

As far as I know, CGSociety does hand out some form of certificate. You can ask about the details of that by contacting Kirsty Parkin <> (she’s the workshop manager).

Congrats on getting your company to foot the bill–that’s awesome. Everyone should try to do that. I have recommended this approach to people in the past, and you’re the first one to pull it off I think. :smiley:


Ya, I’ve got mad Jedi mind trick skills :smiley:


Enrollment for the 10th run of the workshop has begun.

The workshop will begin on Feb 13, 2012.


Just wondering what software will be used, needed, provided, etc. As well I have been a traditional artist with a day job and family all my life. Now I find myself with more time in an empty nest and have been trying out digital painting. Is 50 to old to be a student trying to break into this business?


Any of today’s professional quality 2D art programs will work, although majority of the demonstrations are done with Photoshop, as it’s the industry standard world-wide. A bit of Painter and SAI are also covered. 3D is also allowed in the workshop, although to get the most out of the workshop, it’s best to be prepared to buckle down and learn the critical foundations via classic 2D techniques, because it is the foundation of all visual art, including 3D art.

You can find out more about common 2D software being used today here:

And a much more comprehensive list (some listed are image editors, not for drawing/painting):

Age may be a bit of a concern in some industries, such as high-tech ones, simply because they’re used to seeing older folks in senior positions–guys who’s worked their way up the food-chain for decades. If you are a complete newbie and aiming for junior/entry positions, it may seem a bit odd in industries like video game development or film/animation. They are so used to hiring 20~30 yr-old candidates for entry/junior level positions, and some companies do exploit their youth/passion by working them long hours. Also, it’s harder for these “hip” industries to associate older artists with fresh and trendy styles that’s the backbone of these industries (unless you already have a reputation), but of course, you can always prove them wrong with your work.

If it’s something like freelance work, then I don’t think it matters. Your clients won’t know your age unless you tell them.

In the end it’s all about the portfolio and personality. If your portfolio kicks ass and you’re a pleasure to work with, reliable, and have great work ethic, I don’t see why it would be a problem.


I was thinking about joining a future course. Does this course help 3D artist as well?
I’m not proficient in 2D, ‘yet’, but I have a tablet and I’m willing and eager to learn. How is this course to a begginer in 2D.


Hi there, this course covers fundamental knowledge essential to thrive as an artist. One of the misconceptions I’ve eared alot is that you don’t need fundamentals if you are a 3d artist because the 3d package deals for example with perspective, lighting, etc itself. Wrong. Having that knowledge will help you make better 3d images the same way it will help a 2d artist or even a traditional painter. Its all about the fundamentals.

Anyways, Robert can give you a better anwser, im just saying this because i also came from a 3d background.



I would say that about half of all my students were 3D artists.

I think it’ll really help if you read this post about why 3D artists should learn to draw and paint:

But besides drawing and painting, the workshop teaches a lot of essential visual foundation knowledge that applies to all visual art, as well as advanced creative concepts and approaches that usually takes an artist many years to pick up on their own through trial and error and accumulating insights. If you read the course description on the course detail page, the week-by-week outline describes in detail exactly what you’ll learn, and I think it’s easy to see that it covers just about everything all visual artists must learn in order to become proficient artists, regardless of their chosen medium, style, or industry.


Wow. I didn’t know Corel Paint Shop Pro was still alive. I loved that until I was introduced to Photoshop :cool:

Rob, your course was highly recommended to me so I look forward to enrolling this Monday.

Just a question, though, at what “artistic level” would you recommend your students be at to think about enrolling in the course? I mean, are you assuming any talent/skill/knowledge prior to the course? If so, what are they?


I have had students of all types–from advanced artists already working as art directors and concept artists, all the way to total beginners drawing stick figures. This course will challenge artists of all types, regardless of what level they’re at, or what their goals are (be it personal growth or career development).


Hey TheSkorax,

I enrolled last year and your artisitic level really isn’t a factor you should worry about. I was a complete noob and learned an immense amount. In my opinion the most important thing is to actively participate in the workshop and just do everything as good as you can. You will never regret it!!!


Thank you, both.
Looking forward to it.



I have been recommended this website by a friend last week and I must admit I am a little overwhelmed bu everything related to art right now. I am not a “complete newbie” but I have never use PhotoShop and the like either, nor have I had serious training with art, as this is simply a hobby I wish to pursue. I do not even know how to coluor (yet). I have only played with Manga Studio for a few months, and the very basic options at that, like a pencil or ink pen brush.

I feel I am completely stalled with everything I am doing since September. I am taking beginner classes once a week with traditional pencil and charcoal since January, and I am only starting to get into basic shading (we haven’t touched anatomy yet).

Is this course the right thing for me? I have been reading this thread carefully, and it seems like a powerful motivator. Motivation is something I am in desperate need of right now. I do not know where to start, what to work on, I feel I need direction with how to tackle all my problems (which are numerous, indeed).

I was wondering if it would be a handicap that I do not have any decent ability with a software (but willing to learn!) and/or if I should go spend some time on that first before taking this class.

I have never followed an online course either… So, many, many questions. Any advice is welcome! You can be honest about it, I do not want to give up my effort, but I do seek guidance from more expert people who have walked this path before!

I was also considering doing the Absolute Beginners course here, but I cannot do both at once! Anyone has a recommendation which one I should do first?



What I understand and have come to realize is that a lot of tutorials and courses out there will not make you into an artist. You can take a hundred different courses and learn from the best of the best, but if you’re only depending on that then, sadly, you won’t get anywhere.

Courses and Tutorials are a good source of information and knowledge and understand of art. The upper hand that courses have over tutorials is that they demand assignments and provide feedback. What that forces on you is practice.

That’s the key, I think. Practice. If you’re willing to put in all the effort and time to practice and practice then your skills will improve. I have enrolled in this course because it was highly recommended to me. I’m not expecting to wake up the next morning as though I’m the new Michelangelo of our days but I do expect to learn so much more and extend my appreciation and understanding for and of art.

I am considering doing the “Absolute Beginners” course but as I’m already enrolled in two classes, as well as study Civil Engineering AND work on the days I’m not at uni, I don’t think it’ll be wise enrolling in a third course [or will it be a fourth? =P]

I only enrolled in these classes because I know that I like to draw and sketch things during my week and will definitely focus on putting time for this. I already spend hours watching other tutorials and other materials as I draw. So, why not? =P


I had plenty of students just like you–feeling lost, frustrated, and helpless. If you read the student testimonials in the course details/enrollment page, you’ll see how for many of them, the workshop was a critical turning point in their artistic development, and some even said it changed their lives.

You have plenty of time before the next run of the workshop starts. It doesn’t take long to attain a working grasp of something like Photoshop or Painter. Hell, for my very first game job, I was told to learn Photoshop in one week and start producing professional quality textures for Prince of Persia 3D, or I won’t get the job. I didn’t even know how to use computers let alone any art software at the time, and I didn’t have a tablet either. Yet, I managed to learn to paint professional quality game textures with a mouse in Photoshop, in one week, and I got the job.

So, with more than a month to get ready and with tablets easily attainable these days, as well as tons of free tutorials online for Photoshop tips, there’s no reason why you couldn’t be ready to take the workshop at the end of April.


The 11th run of Becoming A Better Artist workshop will start on April 30th, and is now open for enrollment!

Act fast because the previous run was sold out.



I know exactly what you mean when you say that tutorials do not make the artists by themselves, and that practice is required. I have been practicing a lot since September (when I got back into drawing) and although still very enthusiastic about it, I just feel… stuck now.

Enrolling in a paid course with homework is a feeling I had regarding the “duty” of doing homework, which is something I also believe in strongly. Right now I am still free to draw what I want, and I am sort of stuck on what to challenge myself with right now.

I have also wondered about enrolling in 2 classes (I have just now registered to CGS! one step done!) and will think this through a little more. What commitment and effort I am ready to put forward for the 8 weeks.

Thank you very much for your insight!


Ah! I see what you did there! Motivation! :slight_smile: I do have a tablet and I did “doodle” with a software using it (my gosh, a mouse, I cannot imagine sketching with one!). I guess I will have to spend some time with converting what little knowledge I gathered and apply it to another software.

Has any website with free tutorials struck you as particularly beneficial for a beginner? I have already googled for beginner Ps guides, and found that many are tweaked for photo manipulation, whereas I am looking for basic sketching/drawing ones. I think I am mostly puzzled by brushes and their settings, and how they can emulate real life tools such as pencils.

I appreciate the time you took to answer me. I shall make a decision fast (I see the notice that this course fills in quickly)!

Thank you!


Sounds awesome, but how many students can join at a time?


Each workshop has a 35-student limit (more than that, the instructor would be too overwhelmed). I spend about 8+ hours a day answering questions and writing critiques on busy days during the workshop, so it’s definitely very time-consuming–pretty much a full-time job. Later weeks are more relaxed, so I get more free time to myself. :slight_smile:


There are actually too many to mention. My suggestion is for you to look at the sticky threads in this Art T&T forum, as well as all the recent threads for painting tutorials in the last few months–there were a few of them posted.