- 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 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, Iliya will break down one of the most vital skills in this method: measuring. Using a pair of knitting needles, you will learn how to take accurate angles from life and then apply it to your work. You will also learn how to use proportional measurement and how to work from flat photos.
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
- Staple gun
- Light source
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making marks on paper and your hatching, it's time to start working
from observation. But before this we're going to need to cover a few
techniques. So I'm going to be using my
knitting needles to establish an angle
and transfer it over to the piece of paper.
establishing what the angle of that edge of the cube
is. So in order to achieve this,
hold up one of the needles
as vertically as possible and then align
the other with the angle
and hold it there
for a while and make sure you get it in there.
Then, while keeping the angle,
hold it in front of your piece of paper and
make a point
on the paper.
And then make sure one of your needles is covering that point.
And then place
another point along that needle.
And you can see that you might have gotten it wrong. I have.
It's right there. The idea is that your needle is going to be
covering both of the points.
So that seems about right. And then as
we've already practiced, connect those two
points. So the important
thing here is to then go back to that edge,
find that angle again,
and move it over and see if you're off.
It seems alright.
So I'm going to do this again
with that edge.
So I hold -
so in order to make it easier - it's not
really important if your constant is held as a vertical or a
horizontal. So here, as an example, I'm
going to hold it as
a horizontal and align my other needle
with that edge.
Okay. And then we move it over,
get a point,
See and here I didn't even look for the
other point, I just made a line. And
it's at the angle that I have my needle.
And there it is. So there's a chance that
you have come across this approach at taking angles.
But usually it involves only holding up
a single either pencil or, as in my case,
knitting needle to an edge,
holding it there, and then moving it over to your paper. Now
that is okay but my only concern is that
when you move it over, chances are that the
angle will alter as you go. But if you keep the other one as a constant,
it's much easier to retain that angle.
Okay so, we have been working
on establishing angles that you can easily observe
where you can see an actual
edge. Now it's time to try to get the angle
between points that aren't connected.
So I'm going to get -
go from this corner to that corner.
And I'm going to do the exact same thing except this time
the needle does not align with
an edge but more so - but
with those two points. Hold it in order to
get that angle, move it over, see
where it is,
have it there, and then connect.
And then if you make a few lines that's alright, then just make sure to establish the one that's going to be
the accurate one. Use your eraser to
remove any excess that
is distracting you. And then, as we did before,
make sure to go and look at it again and move it over to what you have
and see if you were off or not. Move
back and forth a few times and
it seems as though I was slightly off. And then every time
you make a correction, make sure
to go back to
the object in front of you
and transfer - yes.
That would be the correct line and then you remove the one that's
off. And so
I would also, after having practiced -
after having practiced this for a while, now it's time
to try to get the angle entirely by eye.
So I'm going to
try this again with this angle, this edge
of the cube that we have here. And so
here all you have to do is observe
and estimate what the angle is
and put it on paper. And then go back
and see if you got it right.
Nope. But it's easier
after you have it.
That seems more like the angle.
Go back and see if you have it again
there it is.
at a vantage point where you can clearly see the furniture.
Now we get to use our knitting needles.
Line them up with a part of a table or couch in the way that I showed you
and, keeping the needles at a 90 degree angle
to your paper, transfer that angle to the sketchpad.
Practice taking an angle between two points.
Between chair legs for example. Transfer 15 angles
in this way.
an angle from an object that you're observing and transfer it onto a piece of paper,
I'd like to talk a little bit about
how to take angles from photographs.
easiest way I would imagine is
to simply do exactly as
we did with the object but to
put it right up against the photograph that you have and then move it over.
However, I think
that it's the best possible way to approach this would be to
think of your photograph as an object in front of you.
So all you need to do is step away from it
and do the exact -
and do exactly as we did in our
previous assignment. You find that angle
and you move it over.
You can -
you can go back and forth a few times in case you've lost it,
make a point,
and you get the angle. I was working on
that edge, now we have it there,
move it back over the photograph and then over your line,
it's right, and there you have it.
one of the provided images or an image of your choice
next to your big sketchpad. If you have the space, take three steps
back or lean as far back as possible and use your knitting needles to find
a line or two points on the reference. Then,
keeping the needles at a 90 degree angle to your paper, transfer them
onto your sketchpad. Transfer 15 angles in this way.
If you run out of lines, use another photo.
you're gonna need to practice before we
really start to work from objects that are in front of
us is measuring proportion.
So in order to do this
you need only one of your needles
or a pencil and I'm
simply going to explain what proportions are. So
as an example in
this photograph that we have here. So
the - if I were to
make a line that is
completely horizontal and cutting across
our object from one edge to the other
I am interested in the
part of the line that we have
from this edge to the corner that's closest to us
and the amount of times that
can be put into
the other -
the remaining part of that line segment.
And so in this case I'm taking
proportions across. You can do the exact -
you can do this also by taking
proportions not along the horizontal line but along
a vertical line. So for example,
here you're interested in the amount of times
that this part will fit into
a part underneath it.
And finally you don't have to take proportions along a
vertical or horizontal line at all. You can -
you might be interested in seeing the amount of times that
the segment that we have here will fit into
here or anywhere else at any other angle.
And so if I were
to do this on paper I would
establish where that is so
the point of my needle
one end of the segment that I'm interested in capturing
and my hand locks in the other point. And then
I move it over, I mark
and then you have it here.
that point all you need to do is keep moving it
as you go.
Okay so now we're going to
practice this same principle but using
the actual cube in front of us. So I line up
the point of the needle with the outer edge of the cube and my
thumb locks in the
edge closest to us and then I take it across the horizontal
and line up the point of the needle with
where my hand was and then I do the same thing again
here. And it fits one and a half times.
So now I'm going to do the same thing with the vertical proportions.
I'm going to place the point of the needle to
the uppermost part of the cube going off of
the line of the closest edge, lock it in with my
hand and then begin to count down. One,
two, three, and
slightly under four. And
now I'm going to take the proportions of a segment that is not along
on the same line and so I line up the point with
the corner and I lock in the end of
that line segment with my hand and then I transfer it
over to here, line up the point of
the needle with that corner and begin to count down. That's one and a half
or knitting needle to calculate proportional ratios
on objects you have at home. Start by placing some
bottles, bowls, and glasses on a countertop
or flat surface and compare the ratio of each item's
width to its height. Always start
with the shorter measurement and see how many times it fits into
the longer one. Write down the ratios. For
example, a glass might be two times taller than it is wide.
The ratio of width to height in this case would be one to two.
Next, draw a line segment representing
your initial measurement and draw another line that is proportionally
larger according to the established ratio. If
the measurement of your object is slightly off from a clear measuring point, estimate
the difference by eye. Practice dividing your initial segment
to get more precise measurements. I'm sorry to make you work with fractions
but I assure you this will greatly improve your accuracy.
Continue this assignment by comparing measurements between objects.
For example, you could compare the width of a bottle to
the width of a bowl or the height of a glass. Continue
this assignment until you feel comfortable taking
proportional measurements and you are able to achieve reasonable
Free to try
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
6m 48s2. Transferring Angles with the Knitting Needles Instructor Demonstration
39s3. Transferring Angles with the Knitting Needles Assignment Instructions
1m 47s4. Measuring from Photos Instructor Demonstration
37s5. Measuring from Photos Assignment Instructions
5m 2s6. Measuring Proportion Instructor Demonstration
1m 37s7. Measuring Proportion Assignment Instructions