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


Actually, I think CGWorkshop does have some forms of scholarship and financing plan, as well as competitions with free workshop as the prize. You should contact CGWorkshop and ask the manager about it. The contact is:

Kirsty Parkin <>


I apologize for my english.
I m in the course right now, we re in the last week. I just want to remark in this forum how good is this workshop. I m a sort of beginner-intermediate artist, and I m not even english-speaker, nor do I have a lot of money to spend carelessly. I didn’t know how to work with the tablet before the workshop. But if you do want to improve as an artist, then please DON’T HESITATE. I don’t know if there’s other workshop as good as this one, I just think that is hard to imagine the case. Why? Two main points (IMO)

  1. Rob’s feedback and attitude: amazing
  2. Contents: amazing
    But don’t do it if you don’t want to take seriously your artistical development. Because when you enter in this game, you’re aiming to become a pro.


I was in the May - July 2011 run of this course and I am still applying/developing the knowledge I learned from it (and still learning new things going back through the coursework). It is, quite literally, something that will stay with you the rest of your life.


Hi, I registered with CG a long time ago and never actually did anything with it. Since I’ve never taken a lesson from this site before I want to know how easy is it to take this course while working a job?

Is the hours to do this course flexible or is it a set time you need to be on? How does this work?



I’m from the January to March 2013 run (14th run) which is coming to an end but with the alumni forums ahead, it’s a new beginning for life-long learning! :smiley:
I consider myself a newbie and this is a very, very, very intense boot camp to “become a better artist” because if you wanted to do everything and absorb everything within the 8 week time-frame it is definitely a full time load but fortunately you can do it at your own pace even after the workshop ends, out of Rob’s generosity and admirable mission to make you a better artist.

Rob is a treasure to us and he doesn’t sugar coat any of his passionate and thorough feedback. Make sure you read thoroughly the weekly outline in the workshop description as it is very accurate. And although lots of brilliant knowledge is contained within each lecture portion (note there is a lot of wonderful reading due to how much knowledge involved!) with the videos as a supplement for beginners like myself, the wealth is actually in participating and bringing the concepts home via practice, encouragement, critique and feedback as well as making heaps of mistakes. Make those mistakes and learn from them! (:

No regrets taking this course as it has saved me from many insecure thoughts and self doubts I have of myself while the remaining ones are a normal part of being a learning artist. This is a workshop you’d need to review again and again. I feel like my aspirations and goals as an artist are clearer as I realise what things I don’t want to do even more and where I fit in terms of skill level. And to think that I used to believe I will never be able to do his course! Took the leap of faith, don’t regret it now! Now I’m figuring out the hike ahead together with Rob’s mentoring and fellow classmates’ support.


It’s forum based, so you can do the assignments at your own pace. Also, there are no deadlines for the assignments. Even if you turn the assignments in months later (or even years later), I’ll still help you with critiques and answer your questions.

I have written a lot about what the workshop involves in this thread, and while it’s becoming a long thread, you can find out a lot from just reading my posts answering this exact question from others on this current page.

Many of my students are full-time professionals already working in the CG industry–art directors, technical directors, art department leads, concept artists, illustrators, etc. I also have students who are going to university or trade-school full-time too. And many of these very busy students also have families and children and so on. Some of my hardest working and most passionate students were the ones who were the most busy.

You’d be surprised by how much you can really do in your life if you managed your time wisely. This is one of the many subjects taught in the first week of the workshop.


Hey there Robert,

I’m completely new here, having just discovered the existence of your workshop only a few hours ago.
I’ve been searching for an on-line tuition course for several months now, but haven’t really found one I felt confident enough to get involved with, until now. I’ve done quite a bit of research and self-assessment and quickly came to the conclusion that why I’ve never progressed with art is the complete lack of knowledge in the fundamentals; perspective, lighting, anatomy, composition etc. I realise the fundamentals are quite a monumental task to learn competently and well, but I am very eager to try.
But, there are a few things holding me back and I was hoping you may be able to alleviate my concerns and fears, or if not then give it to me straight…
They say honesty is the best policy so here I go.
I haven’t done any drawing since I was in my twenties, I’m 45 years old, I’m quite badly dyslexic, I’m partially colour blind and my previous drawings were all reproductions of the work of others (strictly for pleasure) a habit I desperately want to break!
My goals are not career driven, this is mainly for personal achievement. However, a significant driving force behind my finally wanting to learn art in the proper manner is the fact that my wife is now a published author, her third book is due out this year, and I would dearly love to be able to render scenes from the world she has created in her books.

Well, that’s my spiel, do you think you might be able to help me through your course, or am I a lost cause? If you think you can help me progress in my dream then give me the thumbs up and I’ll be first in line to sign up for your next workshop.

All the best, Rob.

P.S. Please don’t hold the fact that I’m a Brit against me.


Hey there Robert,

I’ve been looking for an on-line tuition course for several months now, without finding anything that I thought might work well for me, until I found your course just recently. I’m very interested in the possibility of joining the ‘Becoming a better artist’ workshop but am dubious about how right, or wrong, I’d be for it. I have several shortcomings that I fear may make the course a waste of time for me and also you. Here comes the embarrassing truth…
I haven’t drawn anything since I was in my twenties, I’m now 45! I’m partially colour blind and I’m quite severely dyslexic. Am I the lost cause I think I might be? Or do you think I could still develop with your guidance? The one thing I have in my favour is a willingness and desire to learn and achieve, even though those things do come slower to me than most.
Obviously at my age I have no desire to make art into a career, this is all strictly for personal gain and self gratification. Having said that I do have a strong driving force and goal in mind pushing me to develop my art. My wife is a published novelist, her third book is due out this August and I would dearly love to be able to render scenes of the world she has imagined in her writing.
I’ve been investigating why my art never progressed past a certain point and have discovered that the answer is actually a very simple one, I haven’t been taught the fundamentals! Perspective, colour, value, anatomy, composition etc. So this is what I’m looking to focus on and relearn from the point of a complete novice.
Is this possible? Can you help me? Is your ‘Becoming a better artist’ workshop right for me?

All the best,

P.S. I previously wrote a similar post to this one which didn’t appear in the thread. If it does appear in the future please ignore it and accept my apologies.


Arcanum, I would love to be able to help you, and I will do whatever I can, but I need to know whether your dyslexia will prevent you from having to do a lot of reading. This is extremely important because the lecture notes are very in-depth, and do not overlap with the video contents at all (and in fact, the lecture notes are much more important than the videos in general, since the most critical things are much better learned through lecture notes than video, while video is better at demonstrating the more technical aspects like workflow, drawing/painting approaches, digital manipulation tools, etc). If reading isn’t a big problem and you can get through it (only slower than most people), then you wouldn’t have problems with the workshop.

As for being partially color-blind, I had students who were also partially color-blind, and they did just fine. The week on color would be a bit different for you than for others, but depending on exactly what type of color-blindness you have, I think you can still do okay. The worst cast scenario is that you focus more on lighting and values, and that alone is very powerful, and with the lessons from the week on colors, you’ll be able to at least “fake” a coherent and logical color palette purely based on the logical world, and it’ll look pretty damn good. Mother Nature is the most amazing art director ever, and all you have to do is follow her rules and you’d get stunning results (I’ll explain more about this in the workshop–it’s one of the secrets that very few beginner/intermediate artists understand).


Hey there Lunatique,

Thank you very much for getting back to me, I really appreciate it. And my apologies for taking so long to reply but I’m in England and the time difference can be a real pain.

My dyslexia doesn’t actually stop me from reading, I actually like to read a lot, I love novels, I’ve even tried writing a few, my real problem is processing. When it comes to reading technical stuff, how-tos and the like, I do struggle a lot as I have a hard time actually processing the information and even absorbing it at all, I’m much more of a visual person when it comes to taking things in. But it does seem to depend on the language used, just how technical it is and how much interest in it I can muster. Give me a fifty page essay to learn the ins and outs of a major astronomical event then expect me to write a thesis about it and I’d more than likely fail, it’s a pain but that’s just the way it is. But, a few paragraphs to read, maybe a little extra research of my own in between, an assignment to drive the theory home, then back to more paragraphs and on and on. That I’m sure I could do, especially since I’m very interested in digital art and very much want to learn and see gradual improvements. I guess it’s really hard to know just how I’d handle the written portions of the course until I actually try, but if I have time enough to reread and fully absorb it all by breaking it down into manageable segments then I think I could make it work. I hope that all makes sense.
One thing with my dyslexia, if I have to submit much written work there will likely be quite a lot of spelling mistakes, which will make for a bit of embarrassment on my part when it comes to interacting on the forum.

I thought it best to mention my colour blindness more so you knew what you were letting yourself in for rather than for myself. I’m actually a picture framer by trade and so have to deal with colour all the time, I handle it by being very organised and by making sure everything has a name and specific place, making my problems quite minimal. I’m sure it won’t be that easy with art but I would hope that sticking to those practices will help. Anything I get a little wrong I can blame on artistic expression.
I’m not sure my colour blindness is classed as a type, at least not that I’m aware of. Basically it’s slight tones of certain colours that I can have trouble with. Basic green is no problem but a shade of olive may look more brown to me. A shade of purple may look blue. That kind of thing. I’ve lived with it for so long now I can’t really see it being anything I can’t work around. I just really want to paint, digitally that is.

Could I ask another question? And I don’t want this to sound derogatory in any way, it’s certainly not meant to. But can I really expect to learn much in just eight weeks? Considering the sheer scope of all the fundamentals involved in art?

Again thanks for your time.
All the best,


I’ll let the student testimonials answer that one (there are a bunch of them on the page linked below, as well as in the “What you’ll learn” expandable section when you click on it:

Generally speaking, when you look at how students talk about other online art workshops, they don’t get all gushy and breathless and say that their lives were profoundly changed, that their minds were blown, and that they learned far more in eight weeks than they did in all their years in art school.


Thanks again for the reply.

I’ve already read through a lot of the testimonials about your course, they really are very impressive and inspiring, but I do get a sense that most come to you already having previous experience. As you mentioned they’ve been to art school, are already professionals or have tried other on-line tuition. But I’m coming to you as a complete novice, wanting to start right from the beginning, I really want to make this course work for me, which is why I’m pestering with all these questions I guess, and don’t want to fall by the wayside after just a few weeks because I’m having to accomplish a little more than the rest of the class. I would also hate to think I was holding others back. In your honest opinion will this course work for complete beginners?

By the way, I’ve just bought Digital Painting from Ballistic, amongst a few others, I have to say your portrait of Elena is exquisite.

All the best,

P.S. I’ve just noticed two places have opened up in the course! Got to make a decision soon!



Actually, I have plenty of total beginner students, and some of those testimonials are from them. One of the most unique things about my workshop is that it can help artists of all levels–from working professional artists to total beginners. Whether you have technical drawing/painting skills isn’t important to the most important lessons in the workshop, and you’re going to be picking up a lot of those skills in the workshop anyway–from easy stuff all the way to highly sophisticated/advanced stuff.

And don’t forget, the workshop doesn’t ever end. The mentoring continues in the private alumni students lounge, where all alumni students continue to receive help from me, for as long as they need it. It’s a long-term relationship we’re building here, and the 8 weeks of the workshop is just the beginning.


Hi Arcanum,

I just recently graduated from this workshop, and I have never been to art school or had learned anything deep related to the foundations of art. I had barely started scratching the surface in the ~1 past year I decided to learn to draw.

I believe, for having been there, that a student cannot “fall by the wayside” or that anyone can “hold people back” by being slower to absorb knowledge and apply it. You work at your own pace, and hand in the assignments when you can. It can be demanding at times depending on the other things happening in your life, but it’s only 8 weeks in your lifetime (those flew right by omg), an amazing packed-with-knowledge 8 weeks – and don’t forget the almuni forum is there for support in your learning journey after it is over.

All these words to say, if you are a beginner, you can consider this as the “hey I won’t get any bad habits and have misconceptions” workshop taken at the right moment. As Rob said, it’s only the beginning, and what a great way to begin it!

If you walk in with the dedication and focus and discipline, I am certain you can do it. I found my classmates supportive (and funny!) when I was struggling with certain things and the atmosphere in the class forums was another great aspect of this workshop. :smiley:


Hey there Lunatique

Can you believe it! Two places left in the course yesterday and when I finally decide to take the plunge and join up those places are gone. Well I guess I can only blame myself for hesitating too long. But I’m now determined to take your course. Could you give me an idea as to when the next course will be open for applicants? I’ll make sure I don’t miss out next time.

In the mean time I feel I have to start putting pencil to paper, or stylus to tablet, as it were, and to that end I was planning on buying a set of lectures on perspective from Gnomon to get things moving. That wouldn’t interfere with things when I finally come to join the course would it?

Thanks again for all you time, hopefully you’ll be seeing me in the future.

All the best,


Hey there minnyfae,

Thanks for pitching in, I really appreciate it. It’s great to hear from someone who’s been through the course first hand. I think it was your comments that finally persuaded me to stop hesitating and just jump in. Unfortunately I just missed out on the last couple of places left in the upcoming run of the course, so I’m going to have to wait until next time. But I will be there in the future, and maybe I’ll see you in the alumni forum when the course is over.

All the best,


You could try contacting the workshop manager (Kirsty Parkin <>) and ask her to alert you if a space does open up (someone cancels enrollment due to unforeseen circumstances).

Generally, I run the workshops almost back-to-back, so the next one would be late May, and the enrollment would start probably mid-April.

What ever learning you do on your own before the workshop shouldn’t create conflicts, unless what you’re learning is a lot of really bad habits and misinformation, which then you’d have to unlearn during the workshop. I think the most important thing someone can do to prepare for the workshop is to catch up on their basic drawing skills, and I usually recommend they pick up one of the Andrew Loomis books.


Hey there Lunatique,

I’ve sent off an e-mail to Kirsty, asking her if she could let me know of any last minute cancellations. Thanks for the suggestion.

The kind of tuition dvds I was thinking of looking at were Fundamentals of Perspective series with Gary Meyer and Basic Perspective with Scott Robertson (love some if this guys stuff). There are a few other things I was hoping to move on to also, Light and Colour Theory with Jeremy Vickery, Anatomy Structure and Proportion with Charles Hu and a few others along the same lines. They all seam to be carried out by long term professionals so I have to believe there wouldn’t be any misinformation given.

I’ve looked into Andrew Loomis’ books and they seam to be quite thin on the ground, due to the date of the originals I assume. There is one named Successful Drawing which looks like it covers a number of different asspects, rather than focusing on specifics like the others. Imight see if I can get hold of a copy.

All the best,


Successful Drawing is one of the best books ever written in the history of art education, and Loomis’s books are considered legendary and highly sought after. When they were out of print, people paid hundreds of dollars for a used copy of his books. His books have stood the test of time and are a no-brainer for any aspiring artist. Creative Illustration and Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth are other legendary books from him. The rest are not as prominent among the books he’s written. Eye of the Painter is more for artists who are more experienced looking to advance their creative sensibility.

As for the videos you mentioned–I haven’t seen them, but I would assume they’re quality material. I know the Gnomon guys and had been invited to visit them and had dinner with a couple of the guys in the past, and they’re nice guys who are industry pros and experienced instructors.

One very important thing to do is that you must actually draw/paint instead of just watching videos or readings books. Too many people think they will magically assimilate the necessary skills just by watching other people do it or reading about it. The only way to develop muscle memory and eye-to-hand coordination, as well as observational and analytical skills, is to actually do the work and allow the synapses in your brain to form new connections.

Another thing I always stress, is to not be a hoarder, and be a doer instead. Too many people hoard and collect a bunch of tutorials, videos, books, or take one workshop after another, but they end up not really improving much because they don’t focus their time and energy on the actual doing. They don’t push themselves to fully utilize what the learning resources are trying to teach them–they just gloss over the lessons and jump to the next thing, deluding themselves into thinking that the more learning material they hoard, the higher their chances are for improving. The guy who focuses on learning from just one book or video or workshop, will improve far faster then the guy who glosses over a dozen books, videos, and workshops.

Time is precious, and so is the energy we put into our learning. Make sure you pick your battles wisely and dedicate your time and energy to the most effective resources that are the most critical and essential, and put your time into areas that are universally important to all visual artists instead of diving into esoteric aspects too soon.


Hey there Lunatique,

Wise words indeed, and to be honest I already subscribe to all of those ideals, or try to I guess. Thank you very much for another great reply, but I’m afraid I’ve waisted your time as I’m not going to be needing to fill in time before starting your course, since I’ve just found out from the brilliant Kirsty that I’ve been given a place on the course starting on Monday! Fantastic news!

I’m suddenly incredibly nervous about the whole thing but I’m up for it.

All the best,