Teachers of a Self-Guided Artist: Stan Prokopenko

This is the fifth in a series of portraits called Teachers of a Self-Guided Artist. Check out the intro post The Self-Taught Myth to read more about it.

In early 2017 I decided I needed to get better at drawing. I was always ok at it, but I never practiced that much, and when I did go to the occasional figure drawing session, I would always leave slightly disappointed with what I had produced.

One day I was browsing some artist forums looking for recommendations, and I saw several people raving about these YouTube tutorials from ‘Proko’. I checked out one of the videos, on How to Draw the Head from Any Angle, and at first I thought the video was kind of cheesy, with the animation and comedy elements, but the content seemed promising, and piqued my interest. After a few more videos I was hooked, and even started to enjoy the cheesy elements, like Skelly, the animated skeleton. So I proceeded to make my way through all the free content on the site (there’s a lot!)

Who is Stan Prokopenko?

Stan is an artist and teacher. He studied at the Watts Atelier, and eventually became a teacher there before setting up Proko.com, a website dedicated to teaching people how to draw. He also hosts the Draftsmen podcast, with fellow art teacher, Marshall Vandruff.

Learning from Stan

As I mentioned, I initially went through all the free videos Stan has, on Portrait drawing, figure drawing, and anatomy. But for every free video, there is also an extended version you can access by purchasing the premium course, so I also picked up the premium versions of the portrait and figure drawing courses (anatomy wasn’t a huge priority for me, so I felt like the free anatomy videos were enough for me).

I learned SO much from watching these videos, and more importantly from practising tons of quick gesture sketches. If you scroll back to 2017 in my Instagram feed, you can see how much practise I was doing at that time, and I’d say that as a result, my drawing improved faster than ever before.

Thank you, Stan, for being so generous with the amount of instruction you make available for free, and for making art lessons fun again!

Here’s my portrait of Stan. Oils on 9×12″ panel:

Stan Prokopenko by Dan Johnson – 2020

Learn from Stan

You can check out all of Stan’s art lessons on Proko.com





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