In this video I discuss the fact that public schools didn’t prepare us to learn art (big surprise right?). The fact that there are rules in every creative field like writing, dance, music and yes – even sports… Why then do we often fail to apply the same rules to the visual arts? From public school through college many students report that they were never taught concrete rules to help them find the boundaries that focus their creative energy into successful drawings and paintings. In the video I give advice on what I think you should do, like copy your heroes to improve the quality of your own visual art.
No wonder so many students and artists are looking to and analyze their favorite artist’s or mentor’s  artwork for tips and help.


Watch the art lesson video below for iPad tips with Procreate

In the video below, artist Will Terry, shows you how he’s using the Procreate app to make drawings for his children’s books, iPad apps, personal and professional freelance work.
He loves the Procreate app! It allows him to make high resolution drawings that he can email to his desktop and paint in Photoshop. No more running out of paper. No more pens, not having a pen, running out of lead, no more pencils, no more books, no teachers dirty looks.
Will can take his work anywhere and he can go through the entire drawing refinement process without the use of a scanner or tracing paper.
“It has made me much more productive, I can do finish work anywhere”
Will has been known to work at the doctor’s office (not as a doctor), in meetings, waiting in the car (well he is married), on airplanes, at conferences and more. He just has to remember to take enough work with him when he leaves his studio.
Enjoy the video…
To learn more about illustrating or how to paint in Photoshop, or how to illustrate children’s books, or many other great art techniques, visit

Folio Academy has teamed up with Kwiksher for a limited time.

Get Four of Folio Academy’s video training courses FREE when you purchase Kwiksher. 

Bring your interactive stories to life, without code. Creating your own apps can be fun and fulfilling and now anyone can do it with Kwik 2 at

What is Kwiksher? The best way to create mobile apps from Photoshop!

click below to See Kwik in action.

Improving Your Work, Training with the Best

Alex Souza, the founder of Kwiksher says, “I am a believer that there is always space for improvement (in our lives, skills, and so on). Of course this applies to Kwik made apps.”

Picture of four bonus video courses: Beginning Photoshop for digital painting, Digital Painting in Photoshop part 1 & 2, and How to Design a Drawing

Quality is one of the top reasons for successful positions into store rankings.

Thinking about that, I partnered with Folio Academy and Will Terry, one of the top children’s book illustrators in the world, to provide quality instruction to anyone willing to improve illustration and painting skills with Photoshop.

Will’s life’s goal was to become a children’s book illustrator, and to date, he has illustrated over 25 children’s books with great publishers like Scholastic, Random House, Leap Frog, Houghton Mifflin, Dial, Albert Whitman, and Simon Schuster.

I am really a fan of what he is able to do and I believe everybody will get great insights from his blog

Every new Kwiksher customer (till end of April) will get the following four training videos for FREE.

Every Kwiksher customer can get a 50% discount (till end of April) on the following four training videos by Will at Folio Academy. But even better, all new customers who purchase Kwik 2 at will be given, all four of these wonderful lessons. ~Alex


  • How To Design A Drawing: explains what it means to design a drawing as well as an introduction to the design principles and elements. Honestly, I wish I had this information while in college;

Together, these tutorials cost US$100 so, don’t miss the opportunity to get them with the discounted price.


Photoshop is an amazing program!


When I’m not working on folio academy, I am teaching at UVU.
I painted this for my class at UVU for our next assignment. I don’t work in this style so I wanted to work up a little example of what I’m looking for. I can’t tell you how much fun I have playing with different brushes and settings in Photoshop – it truly is an amazing program!

Bead it Like You Mean It

How to sew beads on fabric video course

Beads on Quilt Top

Although bead work isn’t the most common form of expression in the art community  it certainly is artwork. And can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. My friend Lyric Kinard is an artist who is also a “BEAD-AHOLIC”. Well she is addicted to creating beautiful bead work and amazing quilt art. She loves fabric and art.

New Tutorial at folioAcademy.

Bead it LIke You Mean It, the new tutorial at

We are so happy to finally make available, the some of the wonderful teachings of Lyric Kinard. Bead it like you mean it is a tutorial video course offered at She is lively, spry, beautiful, enthusiastic and entertaining. She’s fun to learn from. If that don’t bead-all. (that was supposed to be funny)

Who is Lyric Kinard?

Picture of the artist Lyric KinardLyric Kinard is an artist with a serious addiction to fabric. Her award-winning wall quilts and wearable works of art are a product of her need and passion to create order and beauty while living a chaotic life as the mother of young children. She often says that her art is the only thing she does that is not undone by the end of the day.

Her second love is teaching, which she has been doing in various capacities for the past 12 years. She loves to share her joy in the process of transforming plain fabric into a work of art. Much of Lyric’s work begins with plain white cloth which she dyes and paints to create the palette from which her designs spring.

Her Abstracts. . .

pic of abstract,

Her abstracts begin with an emphasis on color and are created on the design wall while her pictorials begin with a specific message in mind and are often meticulously drafted on paper before cloth is cut. All of her artwork is quilted to a layer of batting to add texture and to emphasize line.

Her quilts are not just normal quilts. 

some of Lyric's beautiful work

While traditional quilts are then bound and done, Lyric often adds more embroidery or beads and even more paint if the design calls for it. This further emphasizes the dimensional and tactile quality of quilts as a medium for expression.

Close up

Lyric has studied with many well known textile artists around the country and continues to expand her skills in the area of surface design. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Utah and has also formally studied music and architecture. She currently lives in Cary, North Carolina with her husband and five children.

Check out Bead it Like You Mean It, a wonderful course on working with beads, at

Examples of three cool tricks.

My Art is For Babies ?

My 9 year old (my baby) said my art is for babies

I will admit that I am trying to appeal to a younger audience since I illustrate children’s books. Some times I have to hit the cute button a bunch of times before it looks right. (oh how i wish there was a “cute” button) So in response to my son’s accusation I wanted to see if I could still conjure something up from my junior high days of drawing sculls in the margins of my tests.

Yup – still got it.

I did this doodle out in the car while my wife did some shopping. I showed it to my youngest child, my 9 year old – he thought it was “totally bad” meaning good of course – score one for the old guy. Oh – and I fooled around with it in Photoshop to add some mood.

Use Your Strengths as an Artist

“Study your strengths; then decide how hard you want to work.”

~Martha Stewart on finding confidence to succeed

a colorful painting by Will Terry.

Artist Will Terry, founder of discovered early in his career that his strength was in applying beautiful color to his artwork. He has recently found that he has a knack for saving time by Illustrating electronically, like with Photoshop or even on an iPad.

Every artist has strengths as well as weaknesses.

So you want to figure out what your strength is (Drawing, Painting, Great Color, Figure Work, Humor, Value Patterning or what ever) and use that and strengthen your strength. Exorcise your strength to make it stronger. Make it even better, use your strength to make your art that much more excellent. By focusing on your strengths, your artwork’s quality will be better and you’ll have more fun creating it.

“You grow most in your areas of greatest strength.”

“You grow most in your areas of greatest strength. It sounds odd, but you will improve the most, be the most creative, be the most inquisitive, and bounce back the fastest in those areas where you have already shown some natural advantage over everyone else—your strengths.” – Marcus Buckingham

Believe it or not, I am no good at math. I hate math, I am horrible at the third R, it doesn’t even start with an R. YUCK!

I’m one of those dads that can only help his kids with their math homework through 1st grade. After that, they’re outta luck. No wonder I went into art. Thank goodness my wife is OK at math. But she doesn’t like it much, even though she is good at it. Therefor, math is not one of her strengths.

Your art should revolve around your strengths.

Obviously, it makes sense to hone in on our artistic strengths and avoid our weaknesses in order to create huge masterpieces, or at least, nice pieces of work.

So, what exactly is a “strength?”

Pic of a man flexing his muscles


Now that is the Million Dollar Question. It seems like an obviously simple question to answer. And for a long time I simply thought that a “strength” was anything that we are good at, and in most cases it is. BUT. . .

Marcus Buckingham,“ strength-specialist” says that:

A strength is “an activity that makes you feel strong.” It is an activity where the doing of it invigorates you. Before you do it, you find yourself instinctively looking forward to it. While you are doing it you don’t struggle to concentrate, but instead you become so immersed that time speeds up and you lose yourself in the present moment. And after you are finished doing it, you feel authentic, connected to the best parts of who you really are.”

Remember I said that my wife is good at math, but she doesn’t like it? Since she has no enthusiasm for math, it is not a strength. Have you ever had a job that you were good at, and maybe it even paid well, but you hated it? You were good at it sure, but it wasn’t a strength or you would have enjoyed it.

Focus on Your Strengths

When you focus on your strengths, you’re engaging in the work that invigorates you and fuels the energy to keep you going. Why not bring your strengths into your artwork as well?

I would also say that you should take some time occasionally to work on your weaknesses too. You may have a tough time drawing humans, but who knows, that may become a strength. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope. But don’t stress too much over it, no one can “do-it-all”. It’s impossible.

So, imagine, for a moment that you eliminated the areas that drag you down and only engaged in the areas that pump you up.

How would THAT change your art efforts?


I created this image using Procreate on my iPad – I love this app!

Link to Digital art tutorials

I just got back from the SCBWI Southern Breeze conference in Atlanta. I was being entertained by Dianne Hess (editor at Scholastic) as she gave her speech – an inside look at her company. I have to draw to listen so I was on  my iPad using “Procreate“. It’s my go to program for creating all of my sketches now – I love the screen rotation feature and the larger file sizes. Oh yeah – and I’m still only using my finger. I find it fascinating that it bothers people that I won’t go out and drop coin on a stylus. It bugs my students, friends, and strangers that I meet – like the guy who sat next to me on the plane. “You know you can buy all kinds of styluses for that device,” he informed me…I just agreed….by the way it strengthens my resolve to run sans stylus with each criticism.

A special shout out to Elizabeth Dulemba for inviting me to speak, being a great host, running an awesome conference, and being a great illustrator. I met so many cool people down there – too many to list but you know who you are! I hope to be able to get down there again sometime.