Classes at SSCA are unique in their structure, they differ for every student and consist of a series of designed studies. The key for us is to foster passion, support creativity in your artwork and inform it with a high standard of skill development. Because of this, we encourage the student to choose their own academic projects during classes, your passion in what you choose will drive you to push your study to a high quality. You can begin your study anywhere you like, be it drawing or painting, portrait or figure, landscape or still life.

Here it is important to note that although these study avenues are presented as part of the program, the student is in no way limited to studying just these options. 



In the tradition of the great drawing and painting schools of the 19th century, students can choose to begin their journey in classical study here.


Drawing is the foundation of technique in realistic artwork, students can commence their study, if they so choose, with a series of two-dimensional master copies. Working their way through the Bargue Lithograph course, these studies are long-form, highly stylised graphite renderings. These can range from relatively simple to very complex.



Students can choose to develop an academic study from a master, honing their skills in interpreting three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface.


Through mastercopy of a figurative drawing or painting from an artist of the students choosing, students progress from shorter, gestural studies to longer studies which become highly finished, full value drawings and/or paintings.

Having mastered the fundamentals, students progressively move to more complex studies concerning the figure. Your tutor will add more of a diverse range of materials and approaches. For instance in painting, your palette will expand, your hues become more diverse and the master copies which we develop will become more dense in information. Students are introduced to working with colour as soon as possible: the palette at SSCA starts with seven pigments, and is built upon until you are working with the full “Zen’ palette. (Not to be confused with Zorn) With this palette you will develop a heightened sensitivity to hue variation.



Instruction in the grand tradition of classical portraiture begins with a simple understanding of the larger forms of the head.

Works from John Singer Sargent are a popular choice of study. In some of his particular styles, he leaves the larger, three dimensional surfaces of the head underdeveloped and we can see his working. Through creating a mastercopies his work, we can understand how to crudely develop these surfaces or “planes" and refine them to a high standard in later stages. Accompanying this study avenue are a range of supporting materials which will expand your methods for constructing your portraits, such as Loomis Method, Riley Method and in depth feature modelling by John Vanderpoel.


As with figure, we begin with less complex studies and progressively add more information-dense works. These will help you learn how to refine and polish your rendering of forms of the portrait, your studies will be supported with in-depth tutorials about each feature.



In this study avenue, students will learn the practice and technique of creating highly finished landscape works, using references of the students choosing.

Your instructor will guide you and be on hand at every stage, from structuring your palette to suit your composition, to how to approach the process. You can choose the process based on the academic method of landscape painting, which is a similar method used by the great landscape painters, like Thomas Gainsborough. You can learn to use the comparative measurement technique, analyse the landscape, emphasising the use of value relationships as a correction method and learn how to effectively use a limited range of pigments.



Learn how to interpret the poetry and beauty of nature.

Students can choose to study wildlife painting drawing, this can be through mastercopy or their own personal reference images. They will benefit from an in-depth analysis of their chosen subject and learn the intricacies of rendering fur and feathers. Texture and value arrangement are key concepts to wildlife painting, through your work you’ll gain a thorough understanding of both.



Students, in this study avenue, scholarly analyse and develop intricate compositions, through the arrangement of hue, light and spatiality.

Students can choose to incorporate direct and indirect painting methods to achieve highly realistic textures and forms through still life. You will learn a wide variety of essential painting techniques and materials all derived from age-old methods used by the masters. This is the one of the most effective exercises in which to study colour, texture and the illusion of three dimension.



Made for the aspiring illustrator, concept artist and hobbyist alike, this study avenue is designed to hep you build your technical skillset by studying the all time greats of fantasy art.

By studying the greats of illustration such as Frank Frazetta, with your instructor on hand, you can improve your ability to fully realise concepts in your mind.
You can learn a limited palette, the extended simplification of complex anatomy and landscape, effectively describe to the viewer just how expansive your imagination is. Every study we choose will have an accompanying palette and ever-more complex and diverse tutorials detailing how the artist has approached his work.

Painting Class


How to break down three-dimensional objects into two-dimensional abstract shapes

How to design forms in perspective through line

How to accurately measure proportion through both sight-size and comparative measure techniques

Expressing balance, weight and gesture in a pose

Artistic anatomy


The light and shadow families

Grouping values and arranging

How to design shapes to communicate form and structure

How to design shapes to describe character

How to establish focus using edge quality

Consideration of cropping/positioning the subject in the picture plane

Basics in oil painting: materials and methods

Grisaille painting technique: monochromatic painting

How to make observations from nature using sight-size technique

Break down a complex scene into a simple series of colour-values

How to create a successful, dynamic composition

How to blow a smaller study up into a larger, finished oil painting

Basics of paint application

Use of temperature shifts to express form

Limited palette technique: the Zorn palette

Translation of colour over direct copyingAdvanced oil painting

Full Zen palette and its application