- Lesson Details
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 provides 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.
This first lesson covers materials you will need for the duration of the course including pencils, erasers, papers, and other utensils and tools. Iliya will also go over your home set-up trying to provide a range of possibilities wherever possible.
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
- Sharpening Stone
- Utility Knife
- Roll of Paper, Smooth Sketchbook paper
- Staple gun
- Light source
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
The Fundamentals. In this section we're going to begin as if you have never
had any drawing experience whatsoever,
let alone training. If you have, I still
recommend taking the time and going through this part of the program as there are
important techniques and procedures covered here that you might not have been
exposed to and that will most definitely age you in working through the more advanced
assignments in the next part of the program. As repetition is the mother of learning
it never hurts to go back to the fundamentals.
With that, let's begin.
I'm gonna tell you a little bit about the pencils, erasers,
some of the other things you'll need. So
if you've been to an art store you've probably seen an incredible number of pencils.
So for this course I'm gonna ask you to get a 3B pencil.
Now, the reason that
I'm asking you to get this particular
graphite pencil is because I think for our purposes in this fundamentals
course, it will give you the largest amount of
control when you want to make a light mark,
when you want to make a darker mark, if we
work with a pencil that's too hard, like this 5H that I have here,
in order to make a
darker mark on the paper, you're gonna have to apply a certain amount
of pressure that might actually
damage the paper. Now as much as I like
working with a softer pencil, like the 6B that I have
here, I think that for
our purposes it might just be a little too hard to control
and get a lighter line. So
let's move on to erasers. Now
the only thing that I'm gonna ask you to do is to get
a hard eraser. Now, you might ask, what other kind
is there? Now there's also a kneaded eraser. Now
a kneaded eraser is a soft eraser that you can mold into the shape that you need.
if you could pick one up that's great and
we will be using it sometimes, but for the most part
all you have to do is get a hard eraser like the one that I have here. It doesn't
have to be this exact company, it could be anything that
you're able to find. I also have two other kinds
of erasers here that I would just pick up if you
find them. They're not easy
find them. They're not easy
to obtain anywhere I think,
even at a professional art store. But if they do have
them and you ask, these are the kinds of erasers
that are made for erasing ink. And we're definitely going to
use them when we begin to work with softer
media and we explore
different techniques when we
prepare our paper. So here I
have two important tools that we're going to learn to use
and then be using consistently throughout this course. These
are two knitting needles. Now
if you can't find them, that's alright,
you can just replace them with something that is
long, straight, and
thin. Here I have
a sandpaper block
attached to a paddle. Now you might not
be able to find this and all that I'm gonna ask you
to look for is
just a piece of sandpaper that you can get in a hardware store.
Now here I have
a utility knife that we also will be using
quite often to sharpen our pencils and to cut our erasers
or you can just get a
box cutter like the one that I have here,
you can get an X-Acto blade, or even an individual
razor blade. All will do just fine.
Now let's move on to the paper that you'll be using.
For a couple of the assignments I'm gonna ask you to get
a ruled notebook that has
clear lines and margins.
You can see it here. The one that I have
happens to be half ruled notebook, half sketchbook where the top
of the page is left without the lines and the bottom has the
lines. All you're going to need is one
with lines. You can get this at a supermarket, you can
get this at a pharmacy, an art store,
you can find them in a lot of places. And finally,
for these supplies
here I have blending stumps. Now
these you can find at your art store, you can get them in
a pack, you just need a few, maybe a
small one, a medium one, and maybe a larger one. For the most
part I tend to use my hands,
but that could - but sometimes
the oils in your hands can get into the paper and
you might want to switch to a blending stump. If you can't find a blending stump
then actually a roll of paper towels or even
toilet paper will do just fine.
I will also ask you to buy a large
pad of sketch paper like the one that I have here.
Now I would like for the size to be
approximately what we have here. This is 18 inches by 24 inches, or
45 by 61 centimeters. It doesn't have to be that exact
size but something close to it. It doesn't have to be this exact
company. All that I'm asking you to get
when you purchase this
sketchpad is that you open it up and see that
the paper is relatively smooth. We don't want too much of a texture.
Now let's move on to the supplies that you'll need for stretching
paper. For stretching paper, you're
going to need a staple gun and some staples.
Now you can purchase a staple gun at a hardware store
or maybe you already have one, or you can just ask
a neighbor. The
next thing that I'm going to ask you to get is a roll of paper
a lot like the one that I have here. And what I have here is
400th to 36 inch roll of paper. Now you don't have to
get this exact - once again - company.
But I do ask you to try to get it
as large as the one that I have here
because once we get started
working larger you will definitely
need this. And the final thing that I
will ask you to purchase is a
an artist panel like the one that I
have here. Now you can find these in your local art
supply store. I can show you the back. This is what's known as a
cradled panel, with
wood along the sides so that the wood surface in front
doesn't warp. If you aren't able to find this
at your local art supply store
or online, you can actually
go to a hardware store near you, ask them to cut
a panel the side that you will need and then
assemble it yourself with small nails along the
perimeter of the panel from the front. Also
make sure that the panel is unprimed. So that's it
for the supplies that you will need for this course.
If you have any questions concerning the supplies
you can speak to your program coach. But if you're not enrolled in the
coaching program, it's not a problem, just do the best
with what you have available. There aren't any supplies here that have to be
exactly the ones that I showed you for you to get the most out of this course.
So let me tell you a little bit about how
you'll be working at home. Now for all of the exercises that I will be
showing you, I will be working on a standing, upright
artist studio easel like the one that you see behind me here. If you have
one, that's awesome. If not, let me show you some alternatives.
Now here I have an artist's plein air easel
used primarily for working outdoors.
Now of course you can use this inside as well.
And what this will allow you to do is to work
standing up, which I would prefer. But if for whatever reason you can't, that's not a
problem. And you can still keep using this easel because you can
adjust the legs to a comfortable height.
Now these easels come in a wide range of options.
Some are more complex, some are simpler, some
are more expensive, some are quite affordable.
And I would recommend that you go to an art store,
try them out, and perhaps consider
purchasing one as an investment. Now if for whatever reason you can't
obtain one, then let me show you another option. So here I have
and all you're going to need to do
is take your pad of paper and place it
on the chair across from you.
And the most important thing when
working on either a standing easel or a plein air easel or on a
chair is that you keep
your pad of paper at a 90 degree angle to your line of sight.
and get your hands on the materials I showed you. You can speak to your program
coach about gathering the materials or if you aren't enrolled in the coaching program
do the best with what you have available. Remember, if you can't find the
exact brand or type of pencil, paper, eraser, or utility knife,
it will not affect your ability to get the most out of this course.
Also, go ahead and set up your workplace so that your sketchpad is
vertical or in a position where the sketchpad is at a 90 degree angle to your
line of sight. I wish you the best of luck.
stretch the paper, let me tell you a little bit about it. So in the Academy
of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg all the paper for all the assignments
is stretched onto panels a lot like the one that I asked you to buy.
Now, the reason for this is when you're
working larger, you require a sturdier
surface. It also allows
for a tone to be placed, either with ink, coffee,
watercolor, onto the paper
before you begin. So now let's
get to the actual process of stretching paper. So now I'm going to
show you how to stretch paper onto a
the panel. What you need is our 18
by 24 inch panel, a piece of paper that's cut to about an inch
longer on each side than the panel that we have, so
for example our panel is 18 by 24 inches,
then our paper is 20 by 26.
You also need a cup of water.
if you're wearing a long sleeve shirt like I am, I recommend you roll up
your sleeves and
usually if your paper comes in a roll than it
probably, as you cut it, it rolls back up. This isn't a problem.
So all you need to do is stretch the paper out
slightly and hold it
over your panel and hold it in place. And then
just pour a little bit of water onto the panel -
onto the paper. And then begin to move the water
around the paper with your hands which,
as the water hydrates the paper, will
flatten it out. So
see, it's already happening.
And just keep adding a little bit of water as you go.
So here we go.
and go all the way to the edges
but do be careful not to maybe over hydrate.
It's just enough to
get a wet piece of paper. Now what's happening is that the paper actually is -
becomes slightly enlarged
as it hydrates. See? Now it's completely flat over the panel.
Now what I would do is turn the paper around
and do a little bit - and do the exact same thing on the other side. You don't need as
much water on the other side, just add
a little bit.
You can also pour a little bit of water on your hands
instead of on the paper. Take
your time. There isn't
a rush. Okay so now the paper
hydrated from both sides. I would flip it
back over to the original side.
So what you need to do now is just -
you place the paper on top, don't try to stretch the paper onto it.
It's okay if you see the paper buckling up. In reality
it's actually preferable because if you stretch the paper too tightly in the state that it's in right
now then as the water evaporates it can actually -
it can tear the paper as
it shrinks. So here it is. It's
over the - over our panel.
Here. And so
all you have to do is lay it on
there and then you
essentially just crease the edge. You're not really
pulling too hard. You're pulling a little bit but you're
creasing the edge on all sides.
once the edge is creased
I recommend - it depends on the table that you have. I will
pick this paper up. So you can pull the creases in
and turn the paper upright.
Now if you have any experience in
stretching a canvas, a lot of times
you would staple it on
one side, then the other side, and then sort of go all around.
Here there isn't the need. You will just be stapling one side
at a time. So
you pull the
slightest amount in order to keep the crease and you
staple it down.
Now here, I would say you don't need
a very large amount of
staples. I think about -
about two off of the one
in the middle on each side - on the long side.
And that's it. So then we turn it around
and do the same on the other side.
I added an extra one here.
It just happened. It's not a big deal.
Alright so now we have these two opposite sides.
And now we start on the shorter side. So all you do
is turn that under
and do the same on top. I'll do
it from the back.
And here I hardly need any.
So now you have the corners. For the
corners I simply
tucked them into this sort of ear and then
I folded over. And I stapled.
along the ear to keep it in place. I'll do the same
on the other side.
And turn that over.
And now we do the same
on the other side.
It's time for the ears again.
And that's it. I - in
order - because the paper's hydrated and can potentially
would staple, if you have any
excess paper, onto the back.
I'm just flattening it up.
And we're done.
Now it doesn't look like this paper
is evenly stretched across this
panel but I assure you that as the water evaporates, it'll become
can now go and do it yourself. For this assignment,
go and stretch paper. Remember, it might not come out perfectly the first time.
And if you get into trouble, all you have to do is try again
by removing the paper and reusing the panel. If you have any
questions concerning stretching paper, talk to your program coach and they will be able
to troubleshoot the process. Good luck.
Now if you buy a pencil at an art supply store, it usually
comes already sharpened. But this is not enough for our
purposes. Even if you use a sharpener
this will usually give you a tip like the one
that you see here. So I will
show you how to sharpen your pencil using
the utility knife that you got
as part of your first assignment. I happen to be
left handed which means that I'm holding the pencil
in my right hand and the utility knife in my left.
So all you need to do is to
hold the utility knife in one hand, put it
against the pencil, but push with
the hand that's holding the pencil
in that way.
I would recommend doing this over
a garbage can or something of that kind or otherwise you will get pencil
shavings everywhere. And so as -
and so you keep slightly turning
the pencil as you cut away at it.
So what I am recommending
is that you cut about an inch of the wood
into a cone of
sorts and then begin to carve closer
to the graphite itself and leave about -
and leave about
around a quarter inch or a centimeter of lead.
Of graphite. They don't make lead
pencils available anymore.
And then you can go the other way to clean it up
And there it is. So for our purposes this is
as sharp as it needs to be. It's actually even a little sharper. However
in the future, when we are -
when we're working on
smaller details and things that are maybe a little more complex,
you can use the sandpaper that - you can use
the sandpaper that you acquired as part of your first assignment
and just slightly move your pencil,
move the graphite of the pencil around a bit in order to establish
an even sharper point.
So now that you've sharpened your pencil it's now time to
prepare the eraser. Now this might sound a little unusual but
all you have to do is take
either the paper mate pink pearl or any other
hard eraser that you got and
cut at an angle.
you've essentially cut it approximately in half.
And then I would cut it into
And this is the only part of the eraser that you will need to use.
So the reason for cutting it is that it can give
you an edge here but it can also -
it can give you a whole area with which you
erase or it gives you a sharp edge for smaller details.
And also it preserves the other parts of the
erasers - of the eraser once this runs out.
by sharpening them and cut your erasers into little
triangles like I showed you. Take your five pencils and practice
sharpening them. Start slowly, it's very possible you will break the
graphite on your first few tries but just keep at it.
Remember, it's the amount of graphite that's important, not the
Free to try
1. Materials & Studio Set-Up Overview46sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Supplies Overview10m 39s
3. Materials & Set-Up Assignment Overview40s
4. Stretching Paper Instructor Demonstration9m 55s
5. Stretching Paper Assignment Overview34s
6. Sharpening Your Pencil Instructor Overview4m 12s
7. Sharpening Your Pencil Assignment Instructions30s