Schoolism - Introduction to Digital Painting with Andrew Hou - Lesson 1

So I've been wondering for a while whether or not to try out the schoolism online courses. I was hesitant because they seemed a little expensive and no matter where I looked on the internet, I couldn't find any decent consumer reviews on the "Introduction to Digital Painting" class.

I was also hesitant because I am not sure how advanced this class gets... I wanted to take the advanced lighting class with Sam Nielson, but I wasn't positive that my lack of Photoshop skills would not impede my learning.

SO! I took the intro to digital painting class with Andrew Hou and I watched the first lesson, completed the first assignment and watched some of the video feedback. I did the "self-taught" one, so I don't get feedback on my own work.

One thing you might like to know is that with the self-taught class you have access to like... 60 different critiques of people with all different types of art styles. So if you are like me and are not willing to spend the extra money, it's okay. Just take some time and look through the many critiques available.

So I started the first class today, and I handed in my first assignment (The ballerina at the end of this post). I started drawing with Mr. Hou while he was talking (I drew a very similar silhouette) and my first character ended up looking a whole lot like his!!!

mine ->

Mr. Andrew Hou's ->

I feel like I already knew this method of sketching (using many layers, multiplying the layers and building up the shapes). BUT! I do think that actually sitting down and doing this with another person talking you through it changes the subtle ways you approach photoshop sketching, and it is for this reason, I feel like the first class has helped me a lot.

I also feel a little more motivated to sketch directly into photoshop. I always used to do the scan/trace method. This is really unnecessary.... if anything, taking a pencil drawing and re-drawing it into photoshop from scratch (no tracing) is actually a nice way to refine characters. You can look at your original pencil sketch, draw the silhouette in photoshop and refine the silhouette to be more readable, more exaggerated, and tweak the drawing to be exactly the way you want. By not tracing the original sketch, you are looser and you may come up with something completely different than what you started with!

This first lesson only covered sketching. I think we are going over tone in the next one.

So far so good. I think I'm getting my money's worth!!!!

Here's my assignment I handed in... a simple sketch in photoshop (no tone except for the original silhouette, simple shadow and white to clean up the edges and add a bit of detail).


  1. Nicole these sketches are looking great! This is awesome that you are so driven to keep developing your illustration skills, I will have to look into this Schoolism. You might also be interested in CG Society, they offer online courses as well, I've got my eyes set on an upcoming Maya course but they cover all kinds of stuff. I can't wait to see more of what you produce for this class!!

    1. Hey Paul! Thanks for the good thoughts! I'll check out CG Society! I've never heard of it before.

      Don't forget about how cool Toronto is!!!!

  2. hi nicole - nice sketches! thanks for the info about this course. I'm looking for digital paint classes to sign up too. glad to hear you think you are getting your money's worth. just curious how much background you have coming into this?