First Annual Master Skill Building Challenge, with guest juror James Gurney


We are pleased to announce our first Annual Master Skill Building Challenge, with Guest Juror James Gurney


Our primary goal at the Watts Atelier is to help our students become better, more skilled and more proficient artists.  It’s with this goal in mind that we have reached out to award winning artists and illustrators, and created a very special, 6-month event for our students:  The Annual Master Skill Building Challenge.


The Master Skill Building Challenge is designed to be incorporated with our standard Skill Building Challenges (which you can learn more about through our blog, or if you are an enrolled online student, in our Skill Building Challenges forum).  This six-month long, portfolio-building contest aims to help our students bring their work to a higher level of finish, and create an academic portfolio of their best and finest works, while utilizing the lessons, reference, and feedback from our Online Program.  Students will participate in six individual, month-long challenges, at the end of which they will compose their finished works in a comprehensive portfolio.  Students must be enrolled for 6 consecutive months (and must be enrolled by the challenge start date of January 1st, 2016) in order to participate in the back-to-back, monthly challenges, which will be divided into two sections: One for our Drawing Program students, and one for our Full Access students.

While we will delve into the specifics for each individual challenge piece once the competition starts in-earnest on January 1st, we’d like to give you a sneak peak at what you will be completing durring your six month portfolio-building journey..

Drawing Program Participants:

1 skull drawing
1 long head drawing
1 long figure drawing
1 page of quicksketch portrait drawings
1 page of quicksketch figure drawings
1 “student choice” work

Full Access Program Participants:

1 cast study
1 portrait painting
1 figure painting
1 landscape
1 still life
1 “student choice” work

Once all six individual challenges are completed, students will compile their work in a digital portfolio.  Our jury, composed of the instructors from our Atelier, will narrow down our finalists.  To ensure an “even playing field,” and to put an emphasis on skill building, finalists will be selected based on their overall skill growth throughout the 6 month period.    A special guest Juror, which will be a new award-wining Illustrator or fine artist each year, will then select the Challenge Winners from our group of finalists. .  We are very pleased to announce that our first guest juror for the Annual Master Skill Building Competition will be award-wining illustrator and Dinotopia creator James Gurney.  We are thrilled and grateful to have James, a respected artist and friend of the Atelier, participate in the selection process and help drive our students to push themselves to new heights.

We at the Atelier also appreciate the dedication our students show to their own learning.  Because of this, we would like to acknowledge the participants of our Annual Master Skill Building Challenge in a special way.  From all Master Skill Building Challenge submissions, there will be a total of three winners chosen, and two honorable mentions.  Prizes will include..

1st Place:

 1 Year free full access membership in our online program, Jeff’s Figure Drawing Book, An instructional painting dvd, An original drawing by Jeffrey Watts, blog post feature of the winning artist, and a 1-hour live video coaching session with Jeff Watts

2nd Place

 6 Months free full access membership in our online program, Jeff’s Figure Drawing Book, Instructional dvd, and a half-hour live video coaching session with Jeff Watts

3rd Place

3 Months free full access membership, Jeff’s Figure Drawing Book, and an instructional painting dvd

Two “Honorable Mentions” (one from the drawing membership, one from the full access membership)

Jeff’s Figure Drawing Book and an instructional painting dvd

All of us at the Atelier are very excited to begin the new year with this special event.  We hope to see many familiar faces from the online program participate, and we look forward to welcoming new students into the learning community.  With the first Annual Master Skill Building Challenge on the horizon, there is no better time than now to begin your learning journey.  Click here to enroll now

   We’re sure there will be some questions regarding the Master Skill Building Challenge event, and please feel free to ask them in the comments below, or through our “contact” page.

All the best, and we look forward to watching everyone’s skills grow with this amazing new competition!

Happy Studies,

-The Watts Atelier Team