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I have become gradually aware that there is a quietly burgeoning interest in the fantasy art field for Old Master instruction/apprenticeships and training of the ilk that used to be found in the 19th Century European Academies and Ateliers. They do exist... but the two streams (Fantasy and schools based on old methods of instruction), don't often meet for some reason [to the detriment of both].
To give you an idea of the quality of training that existed over a 100yrs ago... and back many hundreds of years prior to that...
These (below) are from a couple of catalogs from a show of works... imaginative
narrative and such, by 19th century french academy/atelier students.
It's student work... and these kids are in their early
20's... some of them were still in their teens(!) but
due to early training, some have been at it since they
were mere kids. This is student work... not yet even
journeyman work and it
ain't yet master work. But some of it is quite good... considering the age of the painters! It is a testament to the strength of their training.
(Remember... this is schoolwork... the ideas were
chosen by the instructors (everyone had to do the same
theme) and done by kids in their early 20's and some
in their teens... not mature artists):
I thought that this website might be of use to you. It peddles photocopies of 100-300 year old books on drawing/painting/compositional/aesthetic methods and techniques.[If you click on the line near the bottom, it'll lead to the complete booklist]:
I study here:
This is an article about the school:
My instructor, John Angel, studied with Pietro Annigoni:
[note that once you click on each link, and an image appears... if you cursor up and down the page, you will come to more images]:
(They may or may not work... I've not tried them in a while. Nonetheless...)
This site has a great museum section with thousands of images [old paintings] that might be of use to you, and it also gives a list of suggested schools/ateliers that dispense classical instruction in drawing and painting:
The site above also houses a list of current academies that aim to provide this sort of training. If interested, there might be one in your city, town, province, state, country.
Here is a fellow who's work might also interest you:
I hope that all this is of some use to you. Thanks so very much.
May the best winds grace your steps
thanks for posting the links..you made some great points. The answers to the problems that occur in picture making can almost all be found in the works of the masters. That includes 20th century ideas as well
artrenewal has great works...a bit too blindly militant in their ideas at times I suppose....but what they are doing for the internet by hosting those images is fantastic...a true gem of a site. There is simply no better art site on the web...the only site that is as useful as that on a masterworks sense is www.artcyclopedia.com IMHO
it is too bad that art training like that is difficult to come by in todays society...those artists often started very very young and had a very regimented traditional training...nowadays the artists getting that training are often much older...well into their early 30s even before they start at step 1 black and white cast drawing or drawing from prints. when i visited the different ateliers It seemed to me that many of the artists there had already been trained at the private college level but did not get the information they truly needed...this in part due to an over focus on the idea and the expressive and less of a focus on drawing and painting from life...representationally. For those of you who have an atelier local to you I think it would be absolutely worth the trip and the money.
PS...please post some of your works...we would love to see your cast drawings and such
Thanks very kindly for the response! Yes, I tend to visit that site for the gallery
Back in the old days (prior centuries), one would combine poetic abstract concepts / principles of construction and the representation of "stuff that looked like stuff" (representational painting)... and they'd illustrate fanciful imaginative works and narratives. With the sharding that took place by the end of the 19th century (at which point access to information about this kind of instruction quickly atrophied... and schools disappeared... and tastes changed for whatever reason)... there was a split that divided things. What used to be a singular, cohesive movement... now split into several separate movements; the abstract movement, the realist painters (I fondly call 'the painting of naked people sitting on stumps'), the illustration movement.
I began to revisit my love of Frazetta and John Buscema's works many months ago, and the above notion dawned on me. It was then that I found out from interviews of both, that the former was being groomed to be sent to an academy in Italy... but the plans fell through when his instructor died. And the latter had always wanted to be a painter. The notion crystalized for me even more when I read that Howard Pyle, after having received academic training, made sure in his schools that students would strongly exercise their imagination in creating narratives out of their heads... as well as getting sound training in drawing and painting. That's another good thing about John Angel's school here in Canada. The first part of it is an academic curriculum. Then there's a Graduate Studies course that he's devising which delves more heavily into the specific needs of the imaginative narrative painter, and the painter of portraits. Also, like the old Botega (apprenticeship) situations like the old masters used to have, advanced students can work with him on his murals. To add a contingent of those with interests in the illustration field would be tremendous to all concerned! (The students, the instructors, the school, and the various fields of work in which advanced students would invest their efforts and aims).
Should anyone wish to get a great bang-for-their US buck, I'd suggest studying here in Canada with John Angel. The exchange rate would strongly favor American students... and I can't recommend John more highly... he's fantastic. Also, it's neat that he recommends that along with the trad methods for studying composition / design / etc, he strongly suggests that his students study from comic books. I know (from a recent discussion with him) that he'd absolutely love to have a contingent of students who have an interest in pursuing work in the Fantasy illustration field. An infusion of such students into an academy would in many ways be as useful to the school as the school would be for them. (Due to their inclination) those wishing to pursue fantasy art interests are in some ways more aligned with the imaginative works of the Baroque eras and back, than some who attend these academies who don't have this kind of interest. The training that they'd receive (from John... he's the best afterall... heh heh) along with their personal bent would do worlds to further their aims... plus they'd be in the company of a man who is not only a GREAT teacher, and a GREAT painter, but they'd find a teacher who was sympathetic to their aims as Fantasy artists. John's assistant also has love of illustration, and may have even done this kind of work before studying with John. There is a film that can be bought online called, "Road to Castagno". It is a short documentary on John, and shows several(!) drawn and painted studies... portraits and the like... that John created some years ago while working on a mural. This is one of the quick head-studies that he is shown painting. (His full-fledged portraits are more comprehensively painted):
I'll try to post a piece or two in time.
One more thing...
Should anyone decide to join such a school, it is really important to keep doing whatever it is you do outside of school that nurtures your abilities as Fantasy illustrators! And continue to develop your sketchbooks. One pitfall to avoid is ignoring the need to exercise your imaginative muscle. Learning to work well from the model (drawn or painted) is great... but creating imaginative narratives and works demands other stuff. So incorporate the academic instruction with your own studies outside of school. In John's school, you get to that stuff in time (Graduate Studies course... I'm not there yet)... and along the way, prior to reaching the Graduate Studies end of things, you are introduced to a zillion concepts that involve poeticizing nature, but don't neglect doing this kinda stuff on your own just because you're not 'there' yet in the school's curriculum. Do it at the same time. There is a lot of dynamic work taking place in great fantasy and comic book illustration... academic students would do well to learn tons from you too. Storm the castle from all sides
well, since we're on the topic of modern painters. here's one of my favorite links
or for bad scans
Thanks very kindly for the links! Yup... (to reiterate), if one chooses to attend a current academy of quality, find one that is not only great at building skills, but also one that is encouraging to your own interests in illustration. Don't fall prey to stodginess, and don't be fearfully swayed by discussions of "lineage" and such. There is some very very fine work being accomplished by many in the illustration field who didn't have access to academic instruction. Some work is far better in certain respects than a sizable portion of the current acacemically-trained who have fallen under the spell of the reputation of what such schools are aiming to do. The point is, there are pitfalls and benefits in both storehouses of information. Rather than pit one against the other, the better route would be to merge the good of each... avoiding the weakpoints of each... choose your own bottom line at the end of the day... and throw in a strong ingredient of the pioneering spirit for good measure
Thanks for the posts... You make some great points.. and have some nice links..This is deffinitly a thread to keep going... It brings up great thoughts.. I was thinking of going down to Watts Atelier in San Diego within the next few years or so. www.wattsatelier.com
I deffinitly agree that you need to do your own thing outside of schooling..
"Live each day like you will die tommorow, and dream like you will live forever..."
Ok, So if I was to go into the fine arts at an atelier and went through their program, what would I do after that. Meaning how would I live/survive/exist, after all no matter how much I love it I can't really do it if I'm starving.
Consider me as someone who knows nothing, zero, zilch, nada, about living as a fine artist rather than a commercial artist/designer etc. I got a tiny little bit more information about why most of the fine art programs in usa suck. It's because they don't really teach classic drawing/painting mor ethan they do talk about emotion etc. Obviously at the atelier they do teach classic drawing/painting. What would I have to do to make money to pay the rent and water/eletric/gas bills, food?
WHAT do you do to make money after goign through an atelier program?
I know Jason went through an atelier but he also attended art college so he got some commercial art training.
Now is the best time for me to go through art college moneywise, but if an atelier is worth it, it would be much cheaper than art college. ....I really do hate talking about money, but if I can't make any after going through an academy, I don't want to have gone through it for nothing.
What is the buisness of a "graduated" ateliar student? What do you do, I hope this is clear what I'm asking I know in commercial art i will at least be able to support myself, I don't want to sound pretentious, I'm just worried about what would happen to me if I went through an atelier. I go through all this wonderful training and become a master at what I learned from it but end up making a few hundred a month.
this is as clear as I can make myslef about what I don't know right now and if after being answered here Im still confused about something Ill post again
thanks for any information you guys provide
As a mans power and knowledge grows so the paths he may choose lessen more and more until he can choose only and whole what he must do.
time to follow the trend: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...14#post1052814
oh and heres a college buddy of mine:
There's really no need to separate academic/atelier training from illustration. (In fact, they used to be cut from the same cloth... look at the old masters. There's a whole lot of illustrating going on. And surely their knowledge can be adapted to suit today's settings in the world of illustration. Ask many top Fantasy Artists if they'd not like to merge the skills of those great old painters with their own work of today. I'm not speaking of manner of execution, I'm speaking of skill level and harvesting from a wellspring of info that has been nurtured for a thousand years). Forget the labels that force wedge between things that once used to be part of one cohesive whole (a. Illustration / b. painting). Granted, one of the failings of some of the studios in the 19th century was that some forgot to put the exercises to the service of telling a tale... and spent their lives just making pretty arrangements and painting from the model... but as long as you remember to put the stuff you are learning, towards the act of telling a tale, you will be fine. More than fine in fact. You will be doing better than many. If you read up on Howard Pyle, you'll see what I mean. The training he provided was based on how the prior academies taught, as well as the needs of the then current budding illustrator. Study both in tandem. There are many ways of doing this. Now, our school addresses this concern. Their are lectures given about the business of making a living as a painter. There is the option of the advanced students working with teacher on commissions garnered by the school. There is the opportunity to even peddle your studies once you've reached late 2nd year and 3rd year (according to the curriculum requirements. You get there faster as a full time student of course). If you follow our teacher's instruction, the work WILL turn out well. Good work sells well privately... often by people of very good to wealthy means. Now if your intent is to put this training towards illustration work, all the better! I say this because the sense of urgency that can be part and parcel of the illustration world will probably help you speed through the program more rapidly. It will also help you keep foremost in mind that you should not settle just for creating works that are merely a pretty arrangement of form, tone and colour. It forces you to question how you can put this stuff towards telling a tale. (Such things can be forgotten by those who are satisfied to be lured into strictly mimickry... which is hard enough by itself... and if they like doing that, that's fine... but telling imaginative, inventive tales through the vehicle of solid technique is what tickles me). You can study part time in our school (I do). So if you wish, you can freelance too... or you can freelance as a full time student.. (we have students who are lawyers and also full time students). Their is not limit to what you can do. Don't let the school determine your aims. Choose your own aims, and use the info you garner to service the directions in which your whims and muses lead you. The world of the current academies would benefit greatly from a contingent of those who wish to pursue illustration... as it would remind them of what the great old apprenticeships provided. Illustrators would benefit greatly from this kind of training... for a zillion reasons. These things are not separate entities... as much as proponents of one or the other my falsely claim. They are of the same kin... and work well together. I'd suggest you email the various ateliers and ask them to broach your questions. I'd STRONGLY suggest that you email my school at: email@example.com and pose the question to them. In closing... let your heart cast your aim... let your head plan efficient step to its accomplishing them. Fine schoolin' does a body good.
I wrote my last note long after I should have been in bed. I apologize, for it is rife with spelling errors and the like
Attending an atelier definitely does not mean you're groomed to pursue a career in fine art. Most of the instructors at Watts Atelier work in the entertainment industry doing concepting work for video games, movies, comics, etc.
I've found that because the ateliers have such an exhausting emphasis on drawing from the figure, students that had a thorough training at these schools just completely dominate whatever fields they go into whether it's commercial, traditional fine art, or digital.
Can anyone suggest ways that a current academy (of top-notch quality) might efficiently peddle their wares towards those inclined towards the Fantasy Arts world... so as to curry-up interest in a contingent of such students? Which venues might such a school advertise their skills so that a vast number of people will become aware of what they have to offer? A mutual benefit would surely come of such a merging. Imagine if a Fantasy Artist had the same thorough training in drawing, painting, composition, (even aesthetics) of a skilled 19th century painter (Bouguereau, Cabanel, Gerome, etc), or had followed the apprenticeship systems of the earlier artists from the Renaissance up to the 19th century... and if they cross-trained that info with all that inspires them to express their skills in the Fantasy Art genre.
There is the possibility that this might come to pass. If you have anything to suggest on this notion (as to how such a school might bridge the gap between the two worlds... which used to be one back in the Baroque mural painting days... ooo, I digress...) as I was saying, I'll pass on good ideas to the school in which I study. I can't speak for them, I can only pose hypotheticals to them to mull over.
I can tell you though that the hunger often inherent in the Fantasy Art inclined would serve well as far as squeezing more of the juice out of all the info that this school provides. It's a marriage tailor-made.
Actually, no. The idea was mine (I'm a student there and have nothing to do with the administration of the school. The school has not pursued this notion, only I have. Early on, I loved illustration as much as I loved the old masters. Once I found the school, and after a few years of study there (where I noticed how each field could benefit the other) I thought to bring such a notion to a forum of discussion amongst people in the illustration field. I know of a few top(!) illustrators who will bare me out on the benefits of hooking-up with this kind of info. There are not hidden motives for my making such suggestions in this esteemed place of discussion. I purely and simply wanted to imply a bridge between two storehouses of information, each that would benefit the other. This is NOT a one-sided affair. Imagine if the skills garnered by the greatest 19th century, Barouque and Renaissance artists were added to the contemporary storehouse of info and approach to illustration?
Forgive the typos... words like "Baroque" and such. I'm at work and can't think straight.
Journeyman, i really appreciate your words on this matter it's something I'm trying to come to grips with and might ultimately pursue. If you have a moment take a look at this thread..
I might have some more questions for ya in the near future he he
Listen to Iffy... but with a grain of salt. Some of what he said is fine, but (respectfully) some things are a bit askew. He seems to be on point with his warnings about possible dangers IF one isn't paying attention, but how he "frames" the aims or the works shown on the Angel Studios site is off. The school here in Toronto is only a few short years old. Much of the work you see was done by people who never before had ever drawn or painted. None of the work represents anyone who has even come close to completing the program. The stuff shown is accuracy training. The verve-full and poetic and dynamic stuff doesn't come till later on. (The program btw is 4 years if full time. That's an approximation because while the project outline is strictly ordered, each person's ability to absorb the info differs from one to the other. After the main body of the curriculum is attended to, there is a Graduate Studies program tacked on at the end that gets into the nitty-gritty of what one would need attend to in the creation of dynamic imaginative work (including the quick and sketchy imaginative stuff that isn't displayed on the school's site, since no one has yet reached that stage in the life of this young school). The old image that Iffy showed of Angel's work (the acrobat) was probably painted when he was in his 20's... hardly the work of a mature painter. He's now almost 60. He has all the tools in his kitbag for making grand, dynamic murals... but who in the world has been commissioning that sort of thing over the last 30years... nobody... so portraiture has been his thing for that period. Creating those kinds of murals was a team effort in the old days. The names of "Rubens" and "Rembrandt" and the like were not only the names of the painters who headed their own studios... it was the trademark name of the studio itself, complete with sometimes a couple hundred assistant painters, because it took TONS of money and guargantuan time and effort to build these murals. That kind of patronage-interest doesn't exist anymore for the interest in, or funding of such projects... plus you'd need to find well-trained folk who would be willing to work in that way. (Good luck). If the average person interested in simply painting stuff-that-looks-like-stuff is not also interested in the field of dynamic illustration, they will spend more time just copying what they see, and not rush headlong towards the info provided by John Angel that will allow them to create dynamic narratives.
That's why I believe that if a contingent of fantasy-illustration-minded folk were in the school, expressing the needs of their field, they would be a catalyst that would allow the program to evolve in such a way that old info could be made use of in new means, and not let these old methods simply stagnate and atrophy in the hands of folk who don't have an interest in doing other than painting stuff-that-looks-like-stuff. (Metaphorically, many houses own pianos... very few people put in the time and study to become an Oscar Peterson or a Horowitz on the piano. In other words, there is info that exists under the tutelage of John Angel that can only be absorbed by the student who is hungry for THAT info. I believe that fantasy etc illustrator folk are the ones better suited to take advantage of this stuff).
At the very least, they would work quickly through the accuracy part of the program, and get to the stuff that deals with dynamism. If they were part-time in an illustration program elsewhere, and part-time in an atelier, they could feed the dynamism need earlier, and in the end, potentially produce work that straddles both worlds in a solid way.
There will be fetishists on both sides... those painters who have upward noses turned against "illustrators"... and conversely, those illustrators who have a snobbish disregard of painters. Don't be in either group. If the work is good, speaks to you, helps you more clearly see your vision... then take tips from it, regardless of how the world labels it. If the work sucks (regardless of which field)... let it slide and move on. Don't get into the cliqueish thang. It doesn't serve you well. That's why I'm suggestion a bridge between viable sources. Don't let the possibilities of what you can do, be limited by prejudice. There will be things that a school of illustration can teach you that you can only get there. There will be things that an atelier will teach you that you can only get there. (That's why you don't go to a Thai restaurant if you want pizza. If you wan't both needs filled, take a little from here and a little from there. No one source will fulfill all your needs).
John Angel is no snob. He has always emphatically told people that along with studying the old formal systems of composition and design, that they should also dig deeply into the study of great comicbook artists for the info they provide in design and composition. John also has begun working with the computer for the early pre-study phases of developing paintings.
Other folk on this forum have made some very valid points too. In a nutshell, I'd suggest being a bit of a scavenger. Take from here, take from there. Great schools or apprenticeships that teach you about illustration should be taken advantage of. Great schools or apprenticeships that teach you about old methods of painting (if that's your bag) should be taken advantage of. Your instinct as to what YOU want should be given free reign as far as choosing your own bottom-line, and that it is only the degree of your initiative that will allow you to squeeze of the juice that an avenue provides. If it's a toss-up between Sheridan and Angel Studios, why not go part-time in both places? Also, seek out people active in your field of choice, and hook-up with them as mentors if at all possible.
3rd to last sentence should be: "...squeeze [all] of the juice..." ~ typos galore in me today.
thank you so much for takin the time to spell out this delema of mine, it's not an easy decision and one which will obviously need more time. Right now i can't think of what to ask since you've bridged so many aspects of this discussion. No doubt more thoughts will come to mind down the road, and i'll be sure to seek you out for the answer! :thumb:
As to the thing about working from life vs working from photos... John does both. Not too many people are willing to sit for portraits these days. The thing is that photos lack a ton of what working from life can give you... and working from life is not as convenient as having photo reference. But if one has worked from life for years, and if one has adopted the old mentorship system of deeply studying and COPYING old paintings (a common practice in the olde days, and one of which John has done a ton), and if one has looked to the old texts written by these painters, describing their manner of working, and the formal systems they used to create their work, then you can read past the weakpoints of the photo ref (taking from it what it can give you, and leaving off the stuff where it suffers) and rely on your knowledge of working from life, and your knowledge of what elements have gone into making great paintings, and in cross-referencing all these sources of info, you can conjur up a better work than simply strictly apeing a photo would provide. All that requires the harnessing of your best instincts... AND... if at all possible, great training under a great instructor.
John once said that what it took him 25yrs to learn, he could teach a willing student in 5 years.
Here are some examples of simple studies of the model. Some were painted by John Angel, some by a student of his in Italy.. (who was probably in his mid-20's when he painted these things) :
Drawing and painting from casts has been an old staple of the training of the old painters for centuries. Here is a demo John did to help students get a handle on methodology:
Perhaps some of the budding fantasy (etc) artists could benefit from having these skills in their kitbag of tools, admixed with things they learn from other avenues?
Again, all this stuff is accuracy training. But if one can't be (reasonably) accurate first to a thing that is set in front of you, it is terribly difficult to expect yourself to be accurate to a grand and fanciful, complex, dynamic, imaginative, dreamlike narrative that exists in your head. So the first training of these old painters is a naturalistic one. In stages, one is brought to a point where the heights of your imagination can be competently expressed through the conduit of solid training, increasing exercise of imagination, and reliance on instinct.
As to the thing of speed. One learns slowwwwly at first, because slow work (of an appropriate kind) builds thoroughness of understanding. Thoroughness of understanding is the platform on which good work at a fast pace is built. Once a student becomes familiar with the doing of a thing, John then emphasizes the importance of speed (due to the needs of making a living). So he can paint in one day what it would take the early students many weeks to paint.
Those links don't seem to be working consistently. (Hrumph)
i totally agree (links still don't seem to work btw)
What's i like getting to MJAS? I most likely would have to drive to the city each day either from Oakville or Caledon (depending if we move)
When your taught, is it stricktly standing/stool work from a virtical plane, or is there some table work involved too?
I know life drawing is extremely important to studying at MJAS but how far in does it get implamented, might take me awhile to get used to it.
have you known anyone to take a one day a week program from john and make it through on a 5 year plan ? Needless to say the school has yet to have one graduate, but is it even possible to keep pace and still complete in 5?
Life drawing begins right at the start. The work you do there involves standing at easels and sitting at "horses" (using drawing boards). The school is located just a little left-of-center of the downtown core of Toronto. (About 10-12 mins drive away from Yonge and Bloor). While the curriculum is ordered in a centuries-old, tried and true specific manner (each project ramps up your knowledge in anticipation of what you need to get a handle on before starting the next one), the pace is set by you. It all depends on your ability to absorb the info... your willingness to apply it... and it depends on your access to funds. The 4 year full time thing is just an estimation. I can only afford to go once per week, but I've been there forever... but if you take good notes, you can do a ton of stuff at home on your own. Some folk are deep-pocketed enough to go full-time. My personal belief is that someone who aims to enter the Fantasy/Sci-fi illustration market, and who understands the pressure of time... if they had the bread to attend full time, might well make it through the program much faster than the 4 year estimation.
As to the links, maybe this will work...
This is the work by John and one of his 20-sumpin' year old students. I think 2 pieces are by John, the rest are by Jared:
This is the painting that John did as a demonstration of how to paint from sculpture:
(Dammit... the links still don't work). Just go to the www.artrenewal.org site, go to the articles section, and look for an article about Michael John Angel's school/s (Angel Academy) written somewhere around 2001 by Peter Bougie.
As to the life drawing thing. I believe that the school has just completed a life drawing step-by-step demo video. I don't know if they're peddling it online yet, but contact them through their site ( www.angelartacademy.com ) and let them know of your interest. You might also impress upon them that you'd be interested in other kinds of instructional videos, should they decide to make others. This way, you can get some of the benefit of their instruction long distance.
Sounds good, don't worry about this links, tracked down the article you mentioned for the pics, thanks.
(The links might work if you just focus on the adress field and press enter. They did here (simple refresh didn't work).)