Is this course suitable for me?
This is an extremely rewarding subject. I have also found that painting the human form has given me so much more confidence painting figures at any scale, as well as immediately improving my overall painting, whatever the subject!
It really is a wonderful pursuit, and all though this is an online course working from photos, I have designed the course that you can take all of this knowledge into a live setting if you wish.
At the same time though, this is not simply a course for people who wish to life draw.
This is a course to help improve all aspects of your painting. Observing and painting light and form on the human figure is simply the vehicle to do this.
This is will be a fun and exciting course.
Designed to be informative and in-depth, yes, but not in a heavy going and overly complex way.
The course will be concise and useable to get you improving and gaining confidence as fast as possible with simple processes and frameworks.
What materials do I need?
You do not need any specific materials, other than your usual painting gear e.g., a small selection of brushes, standard colour set, your normal paper, and any sundries like palette, water pot, kitchen roll, etc.
Because of the nature of the course a sketchpad, pencil and rubber will be required if you wish to sketch and draw-along with the theory sections.
I will be recommending at least two pigments to work monotone with. One blackish i.e. any black, neutral tint or Paynes grey, or similar etc. Plus a warm transparent colour, e.g. burnt sienna, quinacridone gold and so on. I will send out a list at the beginning of October with full recommendations.
I will release the Introductory videos and a list of materials that I like to use, with other suggestions and alternatives, well before the start date of the first course.
Do the live sessions include working from a live model over Zoom?
No. All sessions are done from photos. However, this course has been designed specifically to allow students to take all this knowledge into a life drawing session with a live model if that is something that interests them.
One of the introductory videos goes into more detail about considerations around working from life and life drawing, as well as considerations working form photos.
Will the reference photos all be unclothed / nudes?
The photos have been taken to resemble a studio life modelling session as much as possible. Models in the reference photos will be unclothed (possibly light coloured underwear in some cases). The lighting on the models will be purposely created to accentuate light and shadow on the contours and forms of the body.
Is it just female models?
No. There will be 4 models, lots of poses. I will do my best to include a variety of body types and skin colour.
I consider myself an intermediate painter with many years of experience. Will I gain much from this course?
Absolutely. Whilst suitable for beginners as well, there will be plenty fo depth to tis course. I tend to go back to basics and foundations and build up from there. Providing a lot of detail and depth on individual concepts.
I am a complete beginner, is this series suitable?
It depends on what your expectations are and what you want to achieve. Whilst these are paint-along style demos, and as time has gone on I feel I have really improved my own approach to making these as "followable" as possible (plus you have the re-watch option to work at your own pace); this is not a course designed to simply paint-along by numbers and get a nice result at the end (this will happen too of course!)
This course is designed for those who wish to learn to paint. Meaning, I want to equip you with all of the core, most critical areas of knowledge that you can go off by your own and paint. Hopefully giving you the confidence and know how to to tackle any subject. Then taking this in whatever direction or style you wish to.
This would be a fantastic place to start as beginner if the above is in alignment with what you would like from a course.
However if you have literally never picked up a brush I would recommend you do some painting in advance; but I would still say that this series would be the perfect platform to start learning watercolour.
I don't have a Zoom account, is this ok?
You do NOT need a Zoom account. You will be emailed a Zoom link which you will click on. You will be asked to either watch in a browser on your device or asked if you would like to download the app.
I do send out a PDF with full instructions on how to use Zoom
What folder system do you use for the courses?
We currently use a Private Google Drive system. It is a very simple and user friendly system. It is also easily compatible across a large range of devices and operating systems. You do not need a Google account as you will be granted access to the folder via your email address and a link.
We have found this to be a simple and easy to use system so far. We may look for alternatives.
Are the reference photos copyright free? What if I want to show any of the paintings online (or even in person)?
All model photos are exclusive to this course. Out of respect for the models and their privacy it is of upmost importance that these images are not shared. Any violation of this will be taken very seriously.
However, if you wish to share your paintings done from the course, either online, orin person, this is fine! If it is possible to credit myself and the course, this is great.
I can't make the sessions live because I live in a different time zone. Can I catch up another time?
Yes, the Zoom replay link will be uploaded to the drive system immediately after the session (there may be an hour delay as the sessions do need to render). The Full HD version of the life system will be edited and uploaded to the drive system within 3 days.
Do I own the courses and videos once purchased?
Yes. You have a life time of streaming the content, and/or you can download it at anytime for life.
This is for a life time. Noting of course that we cannot guarantee that Vimeo, Google, the internet will still exist in 80 years time. You still have ownership of the course and we can cross bridges like that if we ever need to.
Many students do opt for the USB stick service to have all the videos loaded on to a USB drive or external hard rive and physically shipped out to them. This is arranged after the course finishes for those who want it. It is done at the cost of teh drive, postage and a small fee for the tie involved.
I've been an oil painter for years, but have never even tried watercolours. Would this series be ok for me?
Yes, absolutely! I would be the perfect course for you.
Some previous knowledge of painting in any medium would be a really great help, and you will find this series perfect for translating your existing knowledge into the medium of watercolour, and getting to grips with it fast!
Can I paint-along?
Yes, please do. The demo sections will be done in away that allows for painting-along i.e thoroughly explained as best as possible. I will say that paint-along with someone else is great fun, but there is an element of letting go involved and having to work at someone else's pace.
Many students paint-along live, they then go back and do it a second time via the re-watch link and they can then pause and work at their own pace.
Others simply watch live, then paint-along when re-watching.
"Thanks so much for such a fantastic course!
I have loved every minute of it and have been amazed at how much content you put into it. It really felt like doing a proper college course and was a lot of fun!
I painted alongside you and created some vibrant, quirky, eye catching animals!
It certainly was speed painting but it was good to be able to rewatch it and try again at a more sedate pace!. ( sometimes I preferred the quick ones! )
Thanks, I have had a blast!" - Alison
"Tom’s beautiful work has been the entire reason I wanted to dip my toe into trying watercolours in the first place! I owe all my knowledge and technique learned so far from him! Tom is an extremely articulate teacher and his demos are informative, fun and utterly inspiring. I look forward to participating in future workshops to develop my skills further."
"Just to say that I really enjoyed Tom Shepherd’s watercolour demos. His knowledge of colour blending and application is extensive. I learnt a lot."
"I have been painting birds in watercolours for many years and reached a plateau where I felt stuck! Your tutorials showed me a new approach and took my painting skills to the next level."
"Your zoom classes are just fantastic. They take away the fear of not being good enough to paint. Your style of teaching is just the best and so encouraging and the notes and explanations help along the journey. I only dip into painting now and again but things may change. I have always admired Tom’s style. It is so fresh and has a magic light."
"This demo was so encouraging - easy to follow and packed full of little tips along the way. His bold expressive early washes and later attention to detail has really helped me progress. A natural teacher!"
"Tom is a brilliant artist and a very generous teacher. He packs a lot of good info in two hours and is happy to take questions plus you get to see him in action! Very inspiring."
"Tom combines being a brilliant watercolour artist with being a very down to earth teacher. He explains his methods very clearly in his demonstrations, and his enthusiasm for the medium encourages pupils every step of the way.
Personally I feel I have benefited enormously from his guidance and can't wait to carry on improving my watercolour work employing all I have learnt."
"These zoom demos are amazing value and I’ve taken away so many tips and tricks from them. Tom’s approachability and relaxed manner combined with his clear and concise teaching methods make him a great teacher and I always eagerly await his next demonstrations. They are a joy to take part in!"
"I took part in the portrait zoom class. I was quite nervous before the start even though no one could see me. I took notice of the preparation notes and had my table set up in front of the PC. Tom works quite quickly but I was soon fully immersed in the painting and really enjoying myself. I have never tackled a portrait before but thought the out come was surprisingly good. I know some people preferred to watch and then use the video, but I would recommend going for it live. I also appreciated the drawing tips from the class."
"The zoom demonstrations are the best demonstrations that I have ever attended. I have learned more from you than any other artist. You are a truly gifted teacher and your enthusiasm is infectious. Thank you so much."
"A few words about Tom's zoom demos. I found them very interesting not only from the painting point of view but also all the preliminary information and diagrams. Tom is very helpful to all taking part and ready to answer any questions. Wonderful experience and certainly well worth time and money. Thank you Tom."
"Tom’s Zoom demos are amazing! I find it fascinating to watch him create live with so much enthusiasm and energy. I appreciate that he shares his passion and knowledge with such generosity. I like the fact that I can re watch the videos later and pause them as many times as I need when I try to paint my versions."
"Having just taken part in Tom's 'Watercolour Wildlife' zoom course I have to say what a great teacher Tom is.
He explains everything clearly and simply, with a friendly and gentle manner, and certainly inspires you to go out of your 'comfort zone'!
In particular his critiques have been spot on, and I have learnt a huge amount. I can't wait to see if I can carry on the good work, and, of course, join another course again soon. Many thanks Tom!" - Janet