This is part 2 of our interview with Cindy Wider, co-founder of DrawPJ.com, the Complete Drawing and Painting Certificate Course.
Part 1 can be found here:
DrawPJ Cindy Wider Interview – Part 1
Canyon Falls Blessing, Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, World Champion – Second Prize, Tannis Trydal
What do you have to offer for aspiring artists wanting to learn how to draw or paint?
Draw even while you think you can’t and smile so that you relax your entire upper torso. Learning to draw requires a very delicate mental shift, it’s not a huge shift like many people think. We are all born with the ability to learn how to draw and all you have to do is include the logical, reasoning logical part of your brain in the process. Whenever you sit down to draw ask yourself questions about the image or object you are using as a reference source.
These should be comparison questions first of all directed at the actual object or photograph in front of you. Questions such as ‘what angle is this line compared to an imaginary perpendicular line?’ then you can say ‘what angle is this compared to the side of my page?’ other good questions to ask are; ‘how big is this section of the image compared to a half way? Is it more or less than half of the area?’ and you can continue on like this to keep your logical brain happily participating. The most valuable thing this process does is it prevents your brain from telling you to give up or that you can’t draw. You just need to reassure your logical brain and say to yourself ‘I can draw and I will! But I will be back in the real world again soon.’ There are many helpful little mantras you can write or paint in pretty colours and paste up in front of your drawing area that will help you to stay on track.
The Shoe, Unit 3 Final Project, Community Spirit Award, Gudveig Auestad Westrum
Little mantras like this will help you to draw; ‘I feel very safe to draw and paint. I am developing valuable brain pathways to keep my mind active. I can learn to draw no matter what my age. I love to draw and paint and I will. Drawing is a great thing to do because it improves my health and well-being. I feel happy and balanced when I draw. Drawing and painting brings me great joy. As a result my whole family benefits because I am a better person. It is okay to give to myself through drawing. I deserve to take time out for myself to draw. I am good enough to learn to draw. I am an artist and I am going to claim that for me right now.’
Just remember that nobody else is going to give you permission to have time to draw, you must claim it for yourself and as a result your whole life will be filled with wonder and happiness. Claim your gift of drawing and you can fit it in to your life, just plan ahead and organise your life so that your responsibilities are also met.
Can you explain the Draw PJ art competition?
The DrawPj.com annual online art competition was a natural progression from the annual art competition that we held in the real world for many years. Every year we held a huge event where a professional judge was invited into judge the exhibition of our students. Trophies and prizes were awarded. This year we held our very first art competition online judged by Chris Postle of Queensland Australia and it was a huge success. Trophies and certificates were awarded and posted to winners around the world along with prizes sponsored by Chroma Australia and Wacom. [Some of these winners are featured on this page - Editor] You can see more artworks by the students who entered by pressing on the ‘gallery’ button.
How long does the DrawPJ course take to complete?
If you commit to the recommended study path of completing one week of the course per week (takes between 2 to 4 hours a week and sometimes a little more in later weeks of the course) you will complete the full course in 42 weeks. However, many times life events prevent you from studying and so we give you longer to allow for that. You can take up to 2 years to complete the 42 week course if you choose, or longer if needed.
Urban Décor, Graphite on Stonehenge, 9 x 12 inches, Best Major Project Award, Angela Deck
What do participants receive for completing the DrawPJ art course?
An excellent set of skills and comprehensive knowledge base in the course notes to refer back to time and again (there are 890 pages with 560 illustrations in the full six unit course notes.) Providing a ‘c’ grade or higher was achieved, course participants are awarded a professionally printed ‘Certificate of Completion’ once the course has been fully completed and all six grades have been awarded.
This certificate is optional and if the course participant doesn’t wish to have their work graded they must tell their instructor and instead they can receive the usual commenting system on their final term projects. Upon request we can also provide a break-down of all exercises studied and suggested credits (for a university to consider awarding if the student wishes to go on to further study at a university.) Its very important to note however, that every university is different and we do not guarantee there will be any credits awarded. The certificate will be posted to the course participant free of charge anywhere in the world.
I have always wanted to draw but didn’t know where to start. The website is easy to navigate and look at each others works and join in discussions. The introduction, excellent notes and weekly exercises in this course have slowly guided me into learning to draw and shade. Brigitte is always there to answer questions and guide me. She is encouraging all the time and checks my work thoroughly so I can see my mistakes and learn by them.
Francis Green- Victoria, Australia
This course has been a revelation to me. Week by week I am discovering tips and techniques which enable me to use my natural talents to produce results I’d previously thought impossible. Everything is self explanatory, but if you get stuck you can browse the forums, questions which are promptly answered.
Ivor Doherty- UK
As a graphic designer I have worked with a number of people during my 20 year career who have attended art school and have advanced degrees in fine art, but the drawings I have produced in your class exceed any of the illustrations I have seen them do in quality, despite the years of training my colleagues have received.
Amy Bryan- Brooklyn, NY
To learn more about DrawPJ and how you can receive free access to the first 2 weeks of each course unit, and the full course outline, please visit DrawPJ here: DrawPJ.com
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