How to Add Power to Your Paintings With Notan Sketches

Malcolm Dewey, Artist and Author

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10 Videos (28m)
    • Introduction

    • Why Simplification Adds Power

    • It Begins With Selecting a Scene

    • Notan Demonstration

    • Step 1: Squinting Technique

    • Step 2: What Are Values?

    • Step 3: Identify Mass Shapes

    • Step 4: Draw the Notan

    • How Not to Draw a Notan

    • Conclusion


About This Class


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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18 of 18 students recommendSee All

Thank you for this course, the idea is very helpfull. But the presentation is kind of distracting. It's very slow (with a speed of 1.5, the speech had the right flow), and please leave out the "handwriting".. it looks very wrong and distracts a lot from the content. Also, there are several designs used for the titles, which makes you wonder if everything belongs together. Last, there are some repetitions about the type of black pen to use, whereas the analysis of master pieces in the beginning is very short and cut for every aspect. It would be nice to see the transformation from the Notan to an actual painting Thanks a lot! Best regards.
Clear and simple
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





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.

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