A Personal Review Of The Proko Figure Drawing Fundamentals Course

In Art, Review, Tutorials by Eseandre

Oftentimes, newbies to the world of drawing are overwhelmed by the enormity of lessons they have to learn and are confused about where to start from. Professionals in the art world who are experienced know that it is a journey that lasts for a lifetime and at every stage of the journey, there are new things to learn. You can never really stop learning new things. However, your foundation does really matter a lot. This is why I recommend the Proko Figure Fundamental Course as the best option for newbies to the art world who are confused about where to start from.

In real life situations, you must have heard the advice to first have a grasp of the fundamentals before going on with a project in any aspect of life. Same thing applies to drawing.

There are a number of ways to learn the fundamentals of drawing, but I personally recommend the Proko Figure Courses, because I have had the opportunity to take one of the courses and I am totally satisfied that the courses will carter to a majority, if not all of a beginner’s needs in the course of learning how to draw.

The course teaches a fine blend of the ‘Draw A Box’ and ‘Figure Drawing’ approaches to drawing. Meaning that beyond learning the approach to drawing from life or reference by delicately breaking down shapes into fine forms, you will also get to learn how to achieve accurate marks on the page by measuring proportions.

There is just about so much you could learn from this figure course. I learned a basketful too, with a lot of new and easier perspectives to drawing techniques I knew before and I will recommend it as the best premium course to help beginners in the world of art have a good footing as they start.

But Then, Who Or What Is Proko?

Here is Stan Prokopenko in one of his lectures

I am sure that you are eager to know who or what this Proko is now. Let me quickly tell you;

Formerly a staff at the Watts Atelier, and owner of the Proko’s Academy, Stan Prokopenko is a realist artist who is based in San Diego, CA. Stan has a strong belief that learning should be fun. Because, if you have fun while learning, you are very likely to be more focused and learn better.

His aim for his video courses and lessons is to make them as entertaining as possible while still keeping them highly educational. As this will definitely leave his students better inspired and highly motivated to start practicing.

Before recommending a person as a teacher to other people, especially as it relates to drawing and general arts, one thing I pay close attention to is the teacher’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. Seeing that one can only give out what he has. Fortunately enough, Stan is the perfect bundle of experience and knowledge you could ever wish to have in a teacher.

He has a long stretch of experience in the art world and has been practicing since when he was a young teenager. Evidently, his works tell much about his experience and expertise as an artist.

There is quite a lot to learn about Stan and his art. You can visit his website now to know more things about him and the figure drawing courses he offers. You can also check out his Portrait Drawing Courses and for a more advanced level, his Anatomy of The Human Body Drawing Courses. Or…

If you are interested in viewing quality artworks and the process behind them, there are about hundreds of free videos available for you on the Proko YouTube channel. These videos actually are abridged versions of Stan’s course lessons posted on YouTube for his freemium followers and are available for everyone to view. So, you can always have a real preview of what you are going for before you subscribe.

More, in case you are not too sure of your works, Stan can help to critique them for every chapter of the course. However, I can not guarantee you a quick reply, considering that he most probably gets tons of email everyday. At the Proko FAQ page however, it is stated that priority will be giving to premium subscribers while critiquing student’s works.

OK. That Sounds Nice. But Why Should I Believe You Anyway?

This is a sample of my portfolio

Well, drawing has been part of my life from the very beginning. And for almost 10 years now, I have been drawing professionally. I have a true passion for art and want to see other people succeed in it too. This is why I do not hesitate to share useful information that could help you better your art anytime I come across them. This is not to bore you with my resume, but you can check out the “About the author “ section and I am sure you will be convinced of my credibility.

The thing is that, through my many years of experience, I have participated in many courses and I know when I come across a good course or teacher. Of course, not all great artists are good teachers; experience has taught me that. But Stan Prokopenko and his courses have proven to be different. He is one among the very few teachers who have blended talented artistry with top-notch communication skills and ability to teach so well that you can barely pass through him and not learn at least the important fundamentals of drawing.

Stan is the type of teacher you will want to learn from as a beginner artist who wants a solid foundation in proper figure drawing and other types of drawing.

So, What Is The Structure Of The Course?

The video course is divided into 13 different sections, carefully showing you a step by step guide to learning figure drawing. Starting with simple gestures to life-like mannequins and more. Here is a complete breakdown of the different stages in the course and my experience going through them.

  1. Gesture Stage
  2. Bean Stage
  3. Structure Stage
  4. Landmarks Stage
  5. Robo Bean Stage
  6. Mannequin Stage
  7. Critiques (amongst students of the Proko course)
  8. Balance Stage
  9. Exaggeration Stage
  10. Proportions Stage
  11. Measuring Stage
  12. Prerequisites Stage
  13. Shading Stage

The first 3-5 stages of this course deals with introductory information about the course and basic figure drawing techniques every artist should know to get fully grounded for the full launch into the art. It should be taken as seriously as the other parts of the course.

At the gesture stage of the course, I was taught how to capture gestures in a quick time, and accurately too; with 30 seconds and 2 minutes long gesture poses video to allow learning different angles of gesture drawing. The video is one you can return to time and again.

It is however, important to note that learning to draw gestures might take some time, depending on how fast a learner you are. You might practice it for months and still not perfect it. But then, you can move on to the next stage after you have gotten the basic idea, but always come back to practice gesture drawing anytime you can. In my case, I still do go back occasionally to refresh my gesture drawing skills.

Proko gesture pose drawing example

Moving on to the bean, robot bean and mannequinization stage, you will encounter exercises that will force you to take your perspective beyond the pose to more closely examine the forms. In this stage, you will learn the art of separating aspects of the anatomy to form individual parts and be able to achieve life-like posses with proportions that are realistic, using this technique.

Most realistic artists make use of this technique to perfect their drawings, as it contributes in bringing the element of reality to their art. Stan breaks this technique down to the simplest form to allow beginners learn and master it quickly in this stage.

I also got to see what other Proko students have done through the shared critique videos which will definitely help you to learn from the mistakes of other people.


Proko mannequinization example

The videos from the next stage teach you how to make intricate finishes to realistic renderings. The aim of these videos is to make you properly-rounded in measuring, proportions, and shading which are all about accuracy in figure drawing. A number of fundamental artistic skills are discussed and taught in these videos, although subtly through exercises on figure drawing.

At the end of this course, it is projected that you will perfect the skill of capturing gestures and rendering detailed realistic drawings.

This course, however, does not provide sufficient information about anatomy drawing which is quite understandable as it is a figure drawing course. But then, from time to time during the course, Stan will mention the names of bones, joints, and muscles as he tries to explain line choices and shapes.

If you want an advanced lesson on Anatomy Drawing, you can click on the link provided earlier in this review. You sure will like the lessons too.

Teaching Style

From my experience with the course, I noticed that Stan has a unique and phenomenal style of teaching that helps his students to understand what he teaches very easily.

Stan has this unique ability that makes it possible for him to pick a complex topic and deconstruct it to make it look much more simple for his students to understand and learn in a quicker time. He takes his time always to explain to you in detail; what you are learning, why you should learn it and how to apply the knowledge. Better still, he follows a step by step process of teaching that helps to simplify complex subjects and introduce new perspectives.

In this video course, you will actually get to see Stan as he draws different figure examples from start to finish in a video screen that splits the view into two different frames; with one displaying a model photo and the other one displaying his drawing paper. Plus, you get to hear him explain the processes involved as he draws different angles of figures.

In my case, I was able to learn various new perspectives to things I knew before and the new knowledge I got has been really helpful.

But Are There Not Any Downsides At All?

Well concerning having downsides, it is very difficult to fish out problems with the Proko Figure Drawing Fundamental Course. It is pretty much one of the best online drawing courses I have come across.

But for the sake of this review, I had to try extra hard. In my opinion, the biggest challenge that beginners might run into during the course is the jump in quality with each video. However, it is understandable and is to be anticipated. Plus, I think that Stan puts in much effort to keep the flow of the course progressively steady in complexity and not jumping ahead too much with each video.

As the course continues however, you might find yourself not really following any longer. This does not necessarily mean that the video is moving too fast though. You might want to take some more time to revisit and practice the earlier lessons and start coming from the beginning again when this happens.

Apart from this, I do not think there is any other serious thing to worry about with this course.

My Final Thoughts On The Proko Figure Drawing Fundamentals Course

Finally, just as I have mentioned earlier, I think that the Proko Figure Drawing Fundamentals course is the best online drawing course for every newbie in the art world. Stan has proven overtime to be a competent teacher and I am sure you will love and enjoy his methods.

I also think it quite important to mention that this course isn’t an all inclusive guide to drawing. In fact, there is no all inclusive guide to drawing. The key is just to get a good start and then continue to improve your art. There is no better start than the Proko Figure Drawing courses.