Master Interlocking Shapes: Paint Your Own Stunning Art
4.3 (37 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,317 students enrolled

Master Interlocking Shapes: Paint Your Own Stunning Art

Smart Design Concepts For Fine Artists
4.3 (37 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,317 students enrolled
Created by Robert Joyner
Last updated 8/2018
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $129.99 Original price: $199.99 Discount: 35% off
17 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 7 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • When you are finished with this class you will have a deep understanding of how to begin a painting using interlocking shapes. This design technique will help make your compositions and shapes more cohesive. And as the saying goes a well designed painting is half way done.
  • If you take this class you need good drawing skills and the ability to work diligently to implement methods taught in these lessons.

Do You Struggle With Starting A Painting? I know I do!

Beautiful paintings have to start somewhere. And there are many ways one can approach it from a series of sketches to a spontaneous idea. Nonetheless you need as many methods as possible to embark on a creative journey and this course delivers a perfect solution.

What Interlocking Shapes Will Do For You

With good design techniques you have the power to make any image your next masterpiece. It's easily learned and can be applied to any medium from oils to pastels. With a little knowledge and feedback you can achieve quality art. With good design the sky's the limit.

  • create unity

  • simplify your subjects

  • force you to stop copying what you see

  • use your imagination - what a novel idea!

  • create cohesive art

  • make light & shadow work for you

Who is this class for?

You! The lessons in this class will open you up to a brand new approach to interpreting your subjects with intelligent design ideas. If your art has become stagnant and you don't know why it's probably the lack of design skills.


  • 8 detailed lesson

  • 2 video critiques for correcting common issues

Supply List

  • #2 pencil, or marker and standard print paper.

  • The final project can be completed with any medium.

Recent Feedback

The tutorials and workshops are helping immensely. My work started drifting and your lessons are reminding me to concentrate and plan properly.  - G. France

The critiques really help a lot as I can see the big difference it makes when you apply your suggestions. I am really grateful to have found you. - J. Garcia

Who this course is for:
  • Beginner and advanced artists are welcome. All mediums from Digital artists to oil painters.
Course content
Expand all 12 lectures 02:11:41
+ Introduction
5 lectures 32:12
Materials Needed

In this lesson you will learn the two main shapes you can make and how they can become more complex geometric type shapes. Then we will look at combining shapes using three methods. Finally you will have a quick look at combing two shapes to create an interlocking shape.

What are the two shapes you can make?

Dot- apply your mark making medium to a surface and lift it.
Line- apply your mark making medium to paper, or canvas, and drag it along the surface.

How can line be used to create more complex shapes?

By adding, or joining, one line to another you can create infinite shape possibilities such as square, rectangle, hexagon and so on.

What are the three combined shapes we will use in this lesson?

Overlap- this happens when one shape is stacked over another
Passage- this happens when two shapes are fused, or joined to create one shape
Cut-out- this is when a shape intersects with another and reshapes the original edge.

What are interlocking shapes?

Interlocking shapes are created when two, or more shapes interweave, one with the another.

See Attached Demo Image

Preview 05:45

In this tutorial you will learn more about how you can rearrange shapes to create an interlocking shapes. This is where you will start to understand how any object, or subject, should be viewed as a shape only. So, always avoid the trap of looking at your subjects literally. Instead look at them as shapes. This is a completely different approach that will begin to develop the all important quest which is to see like an artist.

To help you with this idea you will see two different compositions. One design is disjointed because all shapes are isolated. In the second example the same shapes are used but this time they're rearranged to interlock. So, one shape flows to the next one, and that connects with another, and so on.

Bonus Tip - Shape and value are connected. You cannot have one without the other. The three ways you can create a shape are to add value to the edge of a shape, add value in, or fill, a shape and lastly you can add value around the shape, or negative space.

See Attached Demo Image

Preview 06:48

Now that you understand how using basic outlines and rearranging shapes can create interlocking shape opportunities we can dive a little deeper. 

The next layer is all about adding value to the design. You will see in the short demo how lighting is used to create shadows and a variety of values for the shapes. Those shadow values are easily manipulated to interlock different shapes thus making the composition more cohesive. The goal is to blend shapes as much as possible so that no shapes seem isolated.

Your suggested assignment

  • Recreate a similar design (so use a house, tree, fence, etc) and add value to it. 

  • Feel free to alter the shapes and lighting in any way to make the design more interesting. 

  • Please use pencil, or graphite only. 

  • Keep size small; 5x7" will do.

See Attached Demo Image

Using Value To Interlock Shapes

About critique video! This class was once an online workshop where students were asked to recreate a similar study using the same basic shapes and value as in the video. Their work was critiqued which is what you are viewing in this lecture. It's a fantastic learning tool to see how other artists completed the suggested assignment and then have some constructive criticism.

Critiques For Lecture Four Assignment
+ Three Examples Of Interlocking Shapes Using Images
3 lectures 27:56

In this lesson you will discover some tips on how to create interlocking shapes using images. The key is to simplify the image into three to four blocks of value. This will give you a good idea as to how the shapes interlock without getting lost in details.

Example One

In this lesson you will discover some tips on how to create interlocking shapes using a simple still life.

Example Two

In this lesson you will see how important it is to simplify complex scenes in order to understand the major shapes. By eliminating the details you can better understand how shapes interlock and add others shapes if necessary.

Example Three
+ Final Project With Finished Painting Demo
4 lectures 01:11:33

The main point I want you to take away from this lesson is to never copy an image! Even if you are confident that everything is absolutely perfect you should always make changes. This instills good habits and always reminds you of how to use your artistic vision to enhance a subject. Plus, as you work with design you begin to envision the final piece and it can really make the experience much more exciting.

Here are a few points I covered in the tutorial;

  1. Always evaluate image and edit by rearranging shapes, adding shapes and/or adjust values to create more interesting interlocking elements.

  2. Work small with pencil & paper. No need to go big as this will only consume more time.

  3. Continue adjusting and adding interlocking shapes until you reach a point where you're excited to paint, or it just simply isn't working.

See Attached Demo & Inspiration Images

Stage One - Design Mock Up With Graphite
Student Critique On Stage One
Final Demo Part One

In this lesson a finished painting will be created using acrylics on paper. Because time was invested in the design the painting is half way finished before paint hits the paper!

My approach and style are very loose so I try not to be dogmatic about every single detail that was in the mockup design. The main task is to get the big shapes and values placed correctly and the rest of the design will take care of itself.

See Attached Demo Images

Note: I added one additional study based on an earlier example. (lobsterdocks.JPG)

Final Demo Part Two