‘Art Prof’ YouTube Review

Have you ever known an art teacher to demonstrate a drawing in full before setting you the same assignment? Me neither.  Until now.

When Art Prof Clara Lieu launched the September 2016 Art Dare (a charcoal self-portrait) the team also released 20 (yes, 20!) short video ‘highlights’ of Clara setting up and drawing a charcoal portrait, from start to finish. Filmed on three iPhones, without a professional cameraman or script, Clara teaches you the fundamentals so you can successfully complete your own charcoal drawing.  In her own words: “I ad-libbed the entire demo the way that I teach my classes.”

And for me, it is Clara’s warmth and relaxed approach to teaching drawing that helped me step straight into my discomfort zone and spend several hours looking in a mirror while trying to capture my apprehensiveness for a long drawing and ultimately, for becoming an artist.


Each video is under six minutes in length (some are barely over a minute), and capture three different views: the model Marianna, Clara talking to camera, and the drawing itself. They cover the following stages of Clara’s drawing:

  1. Intro
  2. Lighting
  3. Composition
  4. Thumbnails: Line
  5. Thumbnails: Tone
  6. Toning the paper
  7. Sketch to drawing
  8. Pressure
  9. Cross-hatching intro
  10. Charcoal pencil
  11. Cross-hatching lines
  12. Eraser stick
  13. Jump around
  14. Background
  15. Stepping back
  16. Details
  17. Refinements
  18. Style
  19. Contrast
  20. Finishing

I watched the first eight videos before getting stuck in, and chose to watch on only when I reached a point where I was stuck. I kept reminding myself that there was a virtual teacher for me every step of the way, so I didn’t feel as nervous as I normally would.

I loved the three-camera set-up as this helped me understand the full drawing process, and I felt I could complete a beautifully finished piece rather than my default incomplete sketches. Other pluses include the occasional pop-ups which complemented the narrative perfectly, and the conciseness of each video, so you can dip into the drawing process wherever you need some additional guidance.

My only negative comment is that the videos are not individually titled (yet), so I had to watch the beginning of each one to write my own content list (see above).

This month’s Art Prof Art Dare is Your Future Self: a drawing on black paper, and faces are not allowed!  The team have released a further eight YouTube videos to demonstrate how to approach a conceptual piece such as this, beginning with brainstorming ideas.  I haven’t watched them yet, but judging by the quality of their charcoal drawing videos, these will be invaluable in guiding me forward, and I can’t wait to get started!

The post ‘Art Prof’ YouTube Review first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.


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