This is the seventh 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.


For this post, we’re going all the way back to 2007, when I took my first ever online art course. I had been interested in caricature since I was a teenager, but had only had a handful of pretty mediocre books to learn from, so I never really improved much, and I felt like I really needed some expert instruction. So when I heard that one of my main caricature inspirations, Jason Seiler, was releasing an online course via Schoolism, I jumped at the chance!

Who is Jason Seiler?

Jason is an artist and illustrator, best know for his amazing caricature work. He has painted covers for TIME, Rolling Stone, and MAD Magazine, among countless others. Most of his commercial work is painted digitally, but he’s also an awesome oil painter. His work has been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators, and has won several awards. He is also a teacher, a podcast host, and an aspiring stand-up comedian!

Read more on his website bio.

Learning from Jason

Back in 2007, there wasn’t that much online art instruction available, at least not that I was aware of, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jason’s course. I wanted to get the most I could from the course, so I signed up for the critiqued version (in fact there may only have been a critiqued version at that point), so in addition to Jason’s demo videos, I also got weekly homework, and personal critique videos where he would paint over my work in Photoshop to show me what I needed to work on.

The course was fantastic, and as a result of it, my work improved faster than ever before. Although the course was about caricature, it also covered subjects that apply to all of drawing/painting. This was the first time I’d really heard of things like value and looked in depth at how to draw facial features. To give an idea of how valuable it was for me, here’s a comparison of a caricature of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke I did before the course, and one from after:

Admittedly that first one was done a few years earlier, but I honestly hadn’t improved much from that point until I took Jason’s course.

The real benefit came from the critiques. Although I think I’m reasonably good at critiquing my own work (perhaps even overly critical), nothing beats having a professional artist giving you constructive feedback and helping you see what you may have missed. Not only that, but you also get to watch the critique videos for all the other students taking the course, and there’s always something to learn from a critique, even if it’s not yours.

Since taking the caricature course, I also bought Jason’s sketching DVD (now available on Gumroad), and I recently took the self-study version of his Schoolism course on realistic portraiture.


Thank you, Jason, for being my first online art instructor, and helping me finally start learning how to draw decent faces.

Here’s my portrait of Jason Seiler Oils on 9×12″ panel:

Jason Seiler by Dan Johnson – 2020

Learn from Jason

Jason has two courses on Schoolism.com – the same caricature course I took back in 2007, and a course on realistic portraiture.

He also has several demo videos available on Gumroad.

Learning

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