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The Figurative Core™ Online


Creative Online Training for Serious Artists of Any Level of Experience

A complete online program, designed to make you a better artist.
If you think you have something to say with your art, we can help you develop the skills to do so.

The Teaching Studios of Art® introduces the Figurative Core™ Online, an online program designed to train artists in the traditional techniques of drawing and painting, and also develop each artist’s original and creative vision.  It is taught by Rob Zeller, author of The Figurative Artist’s Handbook and the Director of the Teaching Studios of Art.

The program provides a firm foundation in traditional techniques, and encourages creativity on the part of each artist by assigning creative projects in the curriculum from the very beginning. Zeller will act as both mentor and consultant as students develop their original concepts.

Three Foundational Principles

1. Good drawing skills are the basis of all compelling art. An artist should be trained in solid academic drawing techniques in order to be able to express themselves effectively.

2. Good painting skills are built on good drawing skills. An artist who wants to work in a 2D medium, be it oil paint, watercolor, or some other wet or dry media, on paper or on canvas, should then be able to convey their vision in a convincing manner. This takes training.

3. Creativity and originality are just as important to develop as technique. Making original work that expresses one’s own unique, personal voice is challenging. Creativity needs to be worked on from the very beginning to effectively be integrated into an artist’s training. If it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying well.



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The Figurative Core™ Program – The Curriculum

The program is sold monthly. It requires students to work on a specific project, and a course of study that is tailor-made specifically for them. The program will be taught by Teaching Studios Founder/Director Rob Zeller. As each artist’s needs will vary by the individual, we will not list the specifics of the curriculum here, but rather provide a general outline.

Homework and Creative Assignments

This program is tailored to the individual needs of the artist.

Technical Skills-  If desired, a portion of the homework can focus on improving technical skills. One great way is the precision training of both hand and eye. Students can copy Bargue plates, Old Master Drawings and work from plaster casts of Classical statues. Students could then move on to painting casts in grisaille (monochrome) oil paint. As they progress, students learn still life painting and the fundamentals of composition, working in both indirect and alla prima  painting methods.

Old Master Copies are a good, time-honored  path to learning traditional techniques. Students will choose an Old Master painting or drawing to copy. The instructor will discuss the proper use of brushes, mediums, solvents and varnishes, historical palettes and color schemes. Zeller will use the foundational basics he teaches in his book, The Figurative Artist’s Handbook, which will be the main  textbook, in addition to a few others. These assignments will be sent via email, and critiqued during a private Skype session.

Art is not simply an imitation of nature, it transcends mere observation. It expresses something more.

Creative Assignments – This will be the main focus of the program, fostering creativity and personal vision. Zeller will act as both Mentor and Consultant in helping to develop a student’s original creative work. Specific steps of the process will vary by the artist, but generally they will begin working out thumbnail sketches of ideas for a composition. They will then do some color studies, and, finally a finished, original creative project.

Students may pursue any subject matter they wish, either working in a very traditional vein, or a more modern conception, as they see fit. The use of photography, collage or other mixed media in this class is permissible to make artwork. The goal is to put traditional training into practice, in one’s own creative work. How that manifests itself is up to the individual.

Zeller will consult with each student on a weekly basis, via email and by Skype. Each student will receive a 30 minute Skype session per week, at the end of the student’s week. The content and focus of this 30 minutes will vary by the individual needs of the artist. It is important that students develop independent voices as they learn to put their training to use.

September 2019 at a special rate of $175 for two weeks, Sept 16 - 30.

Creative Student Work in this program

Rebecca began her painting “Nemesis” in this program and got it curated into an exhibition at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, NY. She worked with our instructors brought the piece from conception to 3/4, and then completed the painting on her own. That’s the goal with all of our students. One of the brightest young artists we’ve seen in a while. Congratulations again, Rebecca!

Chaya began her project as a study of the relationship of some close friends, but the work evolved into something much more meaningful on a personal level. The image was published in Nook Magazine in their April 2019 issue. Congratulations, Chaya!

Kristy has a son who suffers from a debilitating disease. She wanted to use her creative art to depict her own struggles with his care. Extremely personal work, but effectively universal.