How to Add Power to Your Paintings With Notan Sketches

Malcolm Dewey, Artist and Author

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10 Videos (26m)
    • Introduction

      1:58
    • Why Simplification Adds Power

      1:27
    • It Begins With Selecting a Scene

      3:37
    • Notan Demonstration

      2:59
    • Step 1: Squinting Technique

      1:56
    • Step 2: What Are Values?

      2:07
    • Step 3: Identify Mass Shapes

      2:09
    • Step 4: Draw the Notan

      5:13
    • How Not to Draw a Notan

      2:43
    • Conclusion

      1:21

About This Class

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A major problem for artists is how to simplify a scene for a landscape painting. Nature is chaotic and you cannot include everything you see into a painting. So how do you select what is important? Then how do you simplify that object so that you do not get stuck on little details?

The answer is the notan sketch. A powerful technique that takes only minutes to complete.

  1. The notan sketch will teach you how to find the powerful elements of a scene. 
  2. Decide what to leave in and what to leave out
  3. Establish the primary lights and dark shapes
  4. Make starting your painting much easier.
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3 of 3 students recommendSee All

This was very helpful! I have always wondered what notan was and this has completely shown me what I have been missing! thanks for sharing
As soon as I try a Notan like Me. Dewey shares, I will post it! I have used this method once before and it helped me create a good pastel painting! I need to practice this again

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Malcolm Dewey

Artist and Author

Professional artist and author. I work in oils painting in a contemporary impressionist style. Mostly landscapes and figure studies. I have a number of painting courses both online and workshops for beginners through to intermediate artists. 

My publications include books on outdoor painting, how to paint loose and content marketing tips for creative people.

My goal is to help people start painting and encourage them with excellent lessons that they can use for years to come.