Update – January 11th, 2009
The FAC Course PDFs have been removed from my servers at the request of the Famous Artist School. I have been informed that a new digital version of the course is in the works and is almost ready. After asking for more information on this new course so that I could promote it, I received this statement from the Famous Artist School:
The new Famous Artists Creative Art Course will incorporate the classic instructional materials from earlier editions of the FA Course, with additional demonstrations and examples from master artists, lots of color, and updated references. This reorganized version will consist of ten Foundations chapters and Assignments, which all students will take; followed by a choice of three electives: Painting, Illustration, and Design. These electives, with fourteen Assignments each, allow students to follow their own special art interest after having received a solid grounding in the basic foundations of art.The Creative Art Course will be available for download and on DVDs. We will continue to handle the Assignments in physical rather than virtual form, however. That is to say, students will complete the Assignments and mail them to FAS. Their individual artist/instructor will give hands-on personal attention to each lesson, creating overlays showing changes and improvements, and writing a comprehensive letter of explanation, all of which will be returned to the student along with the Assignment. Digital images of the original Assignment and the corrections are made by FAS and kept in a portfolio which can be requested by the student at any time.
The following is the original post
The Famous Artist Course I am sharing with you today is the Commercial Art & Illustration course from 1960. The Famous Artist School, founded in 1948 by Al Dorne and Normal Rockwell, released updated editions of this course and other courses (Painting, Cartooning, etc) over the years. There are three other versions of this course that I’m aware of: a 1955, 1964, and 1967 edition, though I am sure there are many more than that. Over the years they changed the order of the lessons, added and removed lessons, and changed the format of the course from 3-4 binders. Serious enthusiasts should think about getting as many editions as you can, but for the struggling artist, they share most of the same information from course to course. And for that matter, a lot of the material from this Illustration course was used in the Painting course. Which makes this a tremendous resource to artists around the world that I am happy to share. Thank you to my friends in Brazil for convincing me to do this.
The Famous Artist Courses can be tough to track down, with eBay being your best bet. Walt Reed’s book, The Figure, contains a lot of the same material from the Figure Drawing sections of the Famous Artist Course. It is still in print today, and can be found on Amazon for less than $15.
Here’s some interesting information from Wikipedia:
For the founding faculty, Dorne recruited John Atherton, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Robert Fawcett, Peter Helck, Fred Ludekens, Ben Stahl, Al Parker, Norman Rockwell, Harold von Schmidt and Jon Whitcomb. All were making more than US$50,000 a year at the time, roughly equivalent to US$425,000 in 2006. Later faculty included cartoonists Al Capp, Milt Caniff and Rube Goldberg. Advisory faculty for the school later included Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, Fletcher Martin, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee.
I took the liberty of tracking down some art from the instructors that wrote this 1960 edition because it’s good to get a feel for who your teachers are.
So without further adieu, here are the PDFs. I have uploaded them as individual chapters for convenient downloading. It’s not one PDF like I said before, but it’s all here! Please note that there is a good number of pages with a small warping effect in the top half -inch. This is a result of the ADF feature of my scanner, and varies depending on the resolution the documents were scanned in at. I’m a busy guy, and this is the best I could do for you. It won’t affect your ability to use the course, so please be understanding. You wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, would you?
Thank you all for your patience. Now enjoy the course!
[Download links no longer available]