I haven't been blogging in a while, but I'm back and intend to blog more regularly. Well, we'll see how it goes. I heard about this old school Drawing Manual/Course, something a bit different from the Bargue plates of The Drawing Course (Charles Bargue) though they spawn form the same idea: to teach people how to draw. It is a series of lessons called Famous Artist Course, where animators and illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Robert Fawcett, Fred Ludekens...click here for the complete roster...created a correspondence course so that children could follow along with exercises, receive critiques from famous artists/illustrators/animators. It's a pretty neat concept.
Bargue and Jerome set-up these plates in the 19th Century when ateliers and the Academy training reached it's peak so that others could train themselves how to draw Academically. One was supposed to follow basic concepts and approaches to train their eye and learn how to simplify with the goal that one day they will go on to become a fine artist/commercial artist. I say both since they may have considered themselves strictly as fine artists, but the commissions they competed for were political in nature, if not meant for the State (ie France). So be painting battle scenes, historical paintings, portraits of government officials, etc artists of the day weren't necessarily free to make artistic decisions (though some certainly had this freedom or were able exercise this freedom despite their Academic training. But that's another story for another post). In the same vein, FAC lessons teach others how to practically learn and improve their drawing skills as a commercial artist. The correspondence element is pretty fascinating.
Imagine sending a painting study or exercise to be critiqued via letter, email or blog by realist/representational painters today like Odd Nerdrum or Jeremy Lipking, or even those with a more Classical bent/training/background who are already legendary teachers and artists in their own right such as Michael Grimaldi or Jacob Collins. Juliette Aristedes' books on the Classical Atelier training could provide the lessons as the painting book already covers different exercises covered in an atelier setting. One could train themselves until they were able to attend an atelier system themselves. It wouldn't be such a bad thing. The roster of instructors could be quite expansive, the critiques fulfilling and worthwhile. Check out one of the lessons by visiting the blog, Temple of the Seven Golden Camels. He did a great job posting these up on his blog and if you click of the Famous Artist Course label, you'll find three additional lessons from the series that he has posted to this date. They're pretty basic and simple, but still worth a glance.