Russian Drawing Course Part 5: Light & Shadow

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    New Masters AcademyNew Masters Academy
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    Join Ukrainian-born artist Iliya Mirochnik as he passes on a 250-year-old academic method preserved at the Repin Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia and seldom taught outside of the Academy and never before on camera.

    The Russian Academic drawing and painting approaches were uninterrupted by the modern art movements that transformed representational art in the West, and as a result, they provide a unique and clear lineage to the greater art traditions of the past. As a powerful approach that is both constructive and depictive, it combines the two methods that prevail in contemporary representational art.

    In these three drawing Courses, we have set out to condense the entire program, spanning over eight years into a logical, step-by-step procedure. We have made improvements and added resources and exercises to explicitly drive home the concepts that are required to work in this approach.

    We have also structured the course so that it is not only useful for professional and experienced artists but also artists with no drawing experience whatsoever.

    The first course: the Fundamentals is our most comprehensive beginner-level course to date, including everything you need to get started.

    In this lesson, you will learn the essential elements of light and shadow. You will learn the components of light theory including light, shadow, halftone, the terminator line, cast shadow, and highlight. You will learn how to group your values correctly and how to turn your forms with tone. You will also learn how to describe curved and planed surfaced, and you will also practice rendering techniques to describe structure clearly and efficiently.

    The New Masters Academy Coaching Program directly supports this Course. If you enroll in the coaching program, you can request an artist trained in the Russian Academic Method including Iliya Mirochnik himself. Click here to enroll in the Coaching Program.


    • Graphite pencils
    • Kneaded and Hard Erasers
    • Sanding Block
    • Utility Knife
    • Roll of Paper, Smooth Sketchbook paper
    • Staples
    • Staple gun
    • Easel
    • Light source
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    Where can I obtain the matt geometric objects that he draws from?

    Thank you,

    Lynette House

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    So far great! Great explanation of Light and Shadow in a way that is easy to remember all the distinctions.

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    The objects are attached right under the video in a tab titled: References. Same tab has: Lessons-Discussion-Transcript -(References)

    Uber PassatelliUber Passatelli
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    Great lessons and instructor, but :

    1. For the propose to understand the process the “still life”in the small windows while instructor drawing, is in a different environment and so light. So it is difficult to follow correctly the process because “we” are looking different lights on objects (especially lesson 9  for the relationship with the “soccer ball”)
    2. A pdf with a resume with the principle of light & shadows could be useful, as a little bibliography for get a little deep in the matter (but this is maybe a suggestion , that i could appreciate)
    Daniel DaigleDaniel Daigle
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    Hi Uber, The refence in the top corner is exactly what Iliya was drawing from. It looks different in the video because of the angle of the camera was capturing light reflecting off of the felt and there was some post processing done to lighten up the drawing paper. But the reference image was taken from Iliya’s viewing angle. but the image under the reference tab is easier to see.
    If you want to change the lighting, I recreated the scene for the 3d viewer, which is also under the reference tab.

    You may find this lesson helpful in regards to light and shadow

    Also, we are currently working on HW pdfs for all videos
    I hope this helps 🙂

    Daniel Cairns
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    Russian Approach to Light and Shadows
    Chapter 2 @1:57

    How is that point, on the unobservable side of the cylinder, determined?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Daniel Cairns.
    Daniel DaigleDaniel Daigle
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    Hi Daniel, are you talking about the backside of the cylinder? Iliya is simply completing the ellipse of the base. He already drew one side of the ellipse from observation. The non-visible side is an exact mirror. The nonvisible point is simply the tangent point of the line projected from the light source. You can also think of the light source as a vanishing point in this way. Does that help?

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