light and shade banner

I’ve just finished creating a new drawing course that follows on from the Absolute Beginners Drawing Course.

In ‘How to Draw Light & Shadow for Beginners’ we look at new materials, techniques and work on some figurative drawings. A lot of students come to me who already have basic understanding of drawing and confidence with pencils but feel there is a gap in their knowledge when using different drawing mediums.

This course has been designed to help bridge the gap between graphite pencil drawings to charcoal, chalk and pens and subtlety introduce colour.

Are you stuck in a ‘pencil loop’ ?

Wanting to experiment with new mediums such as charcoal & chalk but unsure of where to start?

Moving onto a new medium with drawing can be a challenge, especially if you’re using the wrong materials.

I was trying to draw with charcoal for years and kept on ‘missing’ the vital ingredient. I thought it was my technique, my paper choice.

My problem?

I was using the wrong charcoal.

You wouldn’t think it would make much difference, a burnt stick! But choosing the right materials for the effects you’re trying to achieve – can be vital.
How can Charcoal improve your pencil drawings?

The secret to successful ‘Sfumato’ is easy with charcoal.

But it has to be the right charcoal.

So what is Sfumato?

A smoking of edges that can transform a flat, two-dimensional sketch into a lively three-dimensional drawing.

To create drawing studies that look three-dimensional you need to understand how to arrange your compositions to ‘draw themselves’ before we even start.

charcoal drawing
Think ‘Lights off’

Form is developed by light and shade, without these two everything appears flat.

The problem is, most of our drawing environments at home have far too many lights on at once, too many light sources & too many different colours of light.

It can be almost impossible to create form under these conditions, your drawings end up looking flat, childlike, as if they’ve been outlined.

It’s not your fault.

It’s your lighting.

Would you like to know a simple way to instantly improve your drawing?

It’s easy. Step 1.

Turn off the lights.

I’m serious.

Turn off the lights until you’ve got a dark room.

Then introduce one single table lamp. Voila, instant Rembrandt.

Drawing in the dark (o.k semi-dark) can be very enlightening!

A simple approach to three-dimensional drawing

how to draw portriat with chalk

This course shows you how to observe and draw light and shade. Beginning with the basics of drawing simple three-dimensional shapes and then moving onto shadows and cast shadows.

It will develop your observation skills and you’ll discover new materials and techniques, giving you valuable insights to effective drawing and sketching.

This course shows you, if you can draw simple geometric forms you can quickly and easily move on to figurative, portraiture, and animals. (With step-by-step video demos of all 3 in the lessons)

Giving you confidence of knowing ‘what to look for’ and then ‘how to draw it’.

A 3 step learning process

This course has been carefully designed to be simple, structured and easy to actually get drawing – not just information overload!

Each teaching layer is one on top of the other, so that you learn and move on – understanding both the context and art history of the technique. You can then implement what you’ve learnt in the practical demonstrations.

When you look back at your drawings you can see for yourself what you’ve got right, and if there are things that are slightly ‘out’ you know how to fix it.

Structure helps you learn progressively – your individual personal style and expression turns you into an artist.

1. The Theory

2. The History

3. The Practical

Simple explanations that give you an insight to the hidden techniques of the Old Masters and a context to base your drawings within. Looking at comparisons with painting (and how the Mona Lisa can help your drawings) to create strong, professional looking drawings.

If you want to learn more about the contents of the course click here

how to draw shading




Seems a little far-fetched doesn’t it?

That your white paint could be ruining your paintings.

It’s often the first tube of paint you buy and definitely the most used on your palette … yet can be the most overlooked paint in your collection.

You can become transfixed by the Quinacridones, save up for the expensive Cadmiums but little old Titanium white stays the same.

Choosing the ‘right’ white for the type of painting you’re creating is a critical step in mastering painting with acrylics.

So what is the right white to use? Click to continue



Sketch by Will Kemp, View from The Uffizi Gallery Window in Florence, Italy

New Updated step-by-step Online Drawing Course

I’ve been super busy updating and ‘polishing up’ my Absolute Beginners Drawing Class to help aspiring artists to fulfill their creative potential and I’m delighted with the results.

The Artists Eye

Having studied film and cinematography, I’ve tried to create a video course that will give you the best results, as if I’m in the studio with you.

For this new version of the Drawing Course, I’ve updated a few technical things to give you the highest quality possible.

High Quality Full HD Video Recording

This new version includes all the best demos from the first course but now includes 4 new step by step demos to create a really well rounded experience.

It focuses on making a logical progression with an added materials overview and was filmed in my new studio with fantastic quality audio (no more room echo or hiss!)

Want to experience the new Absolute Beginners Drawing Course for the first time?

Click here to find out more about the lessons.

What if you’ve already invested in the previous Absolute Beginners Drawing Course?

You get a FREE upgrade, yay!

If you are already a member of my online drawing school, your membership details remain exactly the same and you will still be able to access the previous drawing school website, just login as normal.

If you want the updated version just drop me an email titled ‘Drawing FREE Upgrade’ and I will happily send you download links to the new course.

Let’s get drawing!






painting an apple in acrylics

“Painting is drawing with the added complication of colour and tone”
Harold Speed – The Practice & Science of Drawing

In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges.

Part 1 we looked at the theory of light and shadow.

Part 2 we put pencil to paper and looked at practical drawing techniques with a simple pencil drawing of an apple.

This week we’re going back to the studio to start creating the illusion of form with acrylic paint. I wanted to develop our sketch into a finished painting, using the same principles of light logic but having a more contemporary feel by the choice of colours, composition and context.

For Part 3 I’ve created a free video tutorial so you can watch every step and follow along at home.

Acrylic light & shade painting-  Free video Course |Part 1

This video below shows the first steps I take to start the step-by-step acrylic light & shade painting.

Click to continue


finished apple drawing tutorial

In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges.

in Part 1 we looked at the theory of light and shadow.

This week we’re going to put pencil to paper and see how the theory works in a simple pencil drawing of an apple… Click to continue



Cezanne, Oil on Canvas, still life with seven apples, 1878

Ever felt frustrated having worked so hard on a drawing – only to find it still looks ‘flat’?

Is it the proportions? The perspective? Perhaps the composition?

Whilst these all play an integral part, the most effective method of making your drawings appear three dimensional, is understanding how light logic works.

If line drawing creates the proportions, handling of tone creates the form.

The theory seems simple and the changes in technique small, but applying the principles of how tone, light and shade work, will improve the illusion of form in every drawing you do – regardless of the subject.

And the exciting part about it is, once you ‘get’ lighting, the principles never change.

In Part 1 of this 3 Part series (Part 2 - Drawing shading demonstration) we look at the theory, the drawing and then paint a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges.

You might find it isn’t your drawing technique that’s wrong, but your lighting… Click to continue


7 Questions every Artist needs to ask before Varnishing an Oil Painting

by Will Kemp oil painting

An Introduction to Varnishing an Oil Painting As we’ve discussed in 3 Reasons why artists varnish their work (and why some artists don’t) varnishing is primarily an aesthetic choice on the final finish of your painting. Not only can it really bring up the vibrancy and richness in your realist paintings but it offers protection for […]

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New – Small Glass Acrylic Study is Live!

by Will Kemp acrylic painting

New Small Glass Study Acrylic Video Course Merry Christmas class! The new mini-course where I paint a coloured glass and festive oranges is now available! Whoo ho! ho! ho! It’s the perfect addition to the Masterclass Acrylics Course or a great little introduction to the more complex subject of reflections and glass. If you have […]

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3 Reasons why artists varnish their work (and why some artists don’t)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting

We’ve all done it. Spent hours, days, even weeks slaving away on a painting but when we finally apply a varnish…it all goes horribly wrong. The anxiousness builds. You’re now sure there’s mismatched sheens on the surface and it was perfect before you started varnishing! Or maybe you thought it was a good idea to […]

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A Thanksgiving Thanks!

by Will Kemp painting

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank all the comments, questions, students and well wishers that have helped the blog to grow over the last year. We now have over 100,000 visitors a month and we’ve gone from 500,000 views to just short of hitting nearly hit the 2,000,000 views on YouTube, Woohoo! […]

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