I Took Udemy’s “Art Fundamentals – Building Blocks of Digital Painting” Course, But Was It Any Good?

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This beginners course is on digital art and painting using Photoshop and focuses on teaching the basic foundations of digital brushes, color theory, using layers and more.
4.4Overall Score

I completed a free course from Udemy called "Art Fundamentals - Building Blocks of Digital Painting" which took about an hour to complete. This beginners course is on digital art and painting ...

  • Quality of Presentation
  • How Effectively the Course Teaches the Subject
  • Value Proposition (Was This Course Worth It?)
  • My Review of the Website Overall

I completed a free course from Udemy called Art Fundamentals – Building Blocks of Digital Painting [ udemy.com] which took about an hour to complete. This beginners course is on digital art and painting using Photoshop and focuses on teaching the basic foundations of digital brushes, color theory, using layers and more. The course is presented by the Hardy Fowler [ udemy.com].

If you already have basic digital painting with Photoshop experience, then there is no need for this course. For everyone else, expect to learn the following after completing this course:

  • You will be acquainted with the basics of digital brushes.
  • You will understand the basics of color theory and how opposite colors are complimentary.
  • You will understand basic design principles.
  • You will put what you have learned to the test by making a digital painting of an apple to conclude the lesson.

Who Should Take This Course?

While I believe almost anyone could take this course, there were a couple of times I felt like you needed to have some previous knowledge.

In particular, you should already have the following skills before taking this course:

  • You should know the basics of Photoshop. You can take this free Udemy course on Photoshop [ udemy.com] from the same course creator if you don’t have basic Photoshop skills.
  • Wacom or other digital pen or tablet drawing interface is preferred, but not required.
  • Basic familiarity with a keyboard and mouse.
  • An understanding of basic computing such as files, folders, and data.

This is an entry level 1 hour course that focuses on teaching you the fundamentals of digital painting using Photoshop.

The course has eight short videos, a digital painting assignment at the end, and a small number of useful resources to download such as infographic cheatsheets on color theory, values and basic design principles.

Since this is a free Udemy course, there is no certificate to earn for completing it, but this is about skill building, not resume padding.

What Is Actually Covered In The Course?

The course is divided into five sections.

Here is my breakdown of the course.

  • Orientation and introduction
  • Some basic habits that will help you as an artist
  • The basics of art, design, color, value and contrast
  • Digital painting assignment
  • A recap of the course

Again, since this is a free course there is no Certificate of Completion to earn.

You create the digital painting yourself and you get to judge how well you did since there isn’t a live teacher to turn the work in to.

Completing the Assignment & the Course

The course is already short, but I found that playing the videos at 2x playback speed was still easy to understand. I don’t recommend that for everyone, but it’s particular easy with this course because the narrator has a slow and consistent cadence to his voice overs.

Since the concepts are basic, explained well, visually represented in each video and accompanied by downloadable infographics which recap all the key points, this is everything you could want from a beginners course in digital painting.

Learning About the the Basics of Art

After a very quick introduction video, and a second video about forming good habits as an artist, the third video entitled “Basics of Sketching” finally begins the teaching about digital painting in Photoshop. While the course does briefly cover Wacom tablets (which are ideal for digital painting) I was still able to complete the course with just a mouse and keyboard.

The course instructor does a good job of explaining everything that he is doing in Photoshop and he takes the time to show you how to do it the long way or by using a keyboard shortcut. He uses a Macintosh, so while most of the keyboard commands also directly apply to the Windows version, a few of them don’t.

According to the course, the 6 basics design principles are balance, contrast, movement, proportion, repetition, and unity. These concepts are each explained with a few examples, but are not covered in depth since this is a foundational/entry level course.

The next video is about using values of white and black and painting these two colors to make a 2d drawing look three dimensional. He illustrates this by making a circle look like a 3d sphere and by making a hexagon look like a 3d box.

The final video in the basics of art section is all about color theory. It’s a very quick video that doesn’t go in-depth but instead focuses on the most basic color concepts, such as the appeal of opposite colors on the color wheel.

Art Project: Still Life Study Value Painting

After finishing the last section of the course, it’s time for the 7th video which includes instructions on creating a digital painting.

In this case, the goal is to make a digital painting of an apple using value painting and the brush techniques taught in the course.

On the left you can see the reference image and on the right you can see my attempt at digital value painting:

Quality of Presentation

4.5 out of 5. The videos were well produced, quick, yet detailed and informative.

Most of the videos show the instructors screen as he does stuff in Photoshop. The instructor always explains what he is doing, how to do it, and why you would want to do it.

My only compliant in terms of presentation was that he talked a bit slow. Thankfully with Udemy you’re able to play videos at double speed, which solved this issue for me.

How Effectively the Course Teaches the Subject

3.5 out of 5. How can you really teach digital painting in Photoshop in just an hour? The answer is that you can’t.

However, this really is a great start. But that’s all it is: a good starting point.

I was hoping that there would be a longer focus on some of the fundamentals such as balance, contrast, movement, proportion, repetition, and unity. In addition, a deeper look into color theory would have been appreciated.

Still, I absolutely learned a few new tricks from this course, so it did teach me something. And to be fair, it does what it says it will do on the tin, which is to teach the art fundamentals of the building blocks of digital painting. That’s exactly what you get with this course, the building blocks and nothing more.

Value Proposition (Was This Course Worth It?)

4.9 out of 5. At the time of writing this course is currently available for free, which offers an incredible value for anyone who wants to learn the basics of digital painting and foundational art theory.

At some point, this course may cost money, but it would still be worth it if you’re a complete beginner to digital art. This is a great course for free and will still be a great course if it costs a little bit.

Our Review of the Website Overall

4.5 out of 5. I love Udemy and recommend it for a lot of learners. Here is my condensed review of the website itself:

Number of Courses 130,000+
Available Ways to PurchasePer Course
Ability to Purchase Courses Individually YES!
Lowest Priced Courses $0.00
Ability to Purchase a Subscription to Multiple Courses as an Individual
Subscription DetailsBusiness Only * (4000+ courses included)
Business Plans that can be Purchased Online (Without Contacting a Sales Rep) YES!
Starting Prices for Business Plans$360 per user per year
Free Trial Offer 14 days (Team plan only)
Moneyback Guarantee 30 days
Only Allows Accredited Teachers to Create Courses
Learning Using Videos YES!
Interactive Tasks YES!
Testing & Exams YES!
Earn Certificates YES!
Earn Accredited Degrees
Information Technology Courses YES!
Programming & Coding Courses YES!
Creativity & Design Courses YES!
Business Courses YES!
Marketing Courses YES!
Media Courses YES!
Music & Audio Courses YES!
Data Science Courses YES!
Personal Development Courses YES!
Course Quality Review 8.0
Course Selection Review 9.9
MOOC Platform Review 8.0
MOOC User Experience Review 9.0
Value Proposition Review 9.9
Overall Review 9.0
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Concluding Thoughts on the “Art Fundamentals – Building Blocks of Digital Painting” Course

I’ve never really considered myself much of an artist, which is why I wanted to take this course. Since I didn’t have a strong foundation in design or art fundamentals, I actually learned several new things.

Now I do have a lot of Photoshop experience, but was pleasantly surprised to actually learn a few new handy keyboard shortcuts that are now part of my daily workflow thanks to this course.

I was excited to see that color theory was covered but then was later disappointed at how shallow the subject was covered.

However, my final verdict on this course was that it was great. It left me wanting more, but it did a great job of equipping me with the foundational knowledge I lacked.

Take This Free Course Now

If this free course matches your needs then we definitely recommend taking it while it remains free:

Art Fundamentals - Building Blocks of Digital Painting


Quality of Presentation


How Effectively the Course Teaches The Subject


Value Proposition


My Review of the Website Overall


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