Nancy Tankersley

Nancy Tankersley: Painting Figures From Photographs


Video Length: 3 Hours 43 Minutes
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One of the world’s top figure painters, Nancy Tankersley, spent the day at our studios.

She recorded a very detailed training for you where she guides you through the exact step-by-step processes of…

Painting a single figure painting

Painting multiple figures paintings

The outcome?

Over two-and-a-half hours’ worth of captivating training that concludes with Nancy producing two marvelous paintings.

The training is called “Painting Figures From Photographs”

For the record, it would cost you a HEFTY amount of money (usually over $1000) for a single hour-long private lesson with a world-class artist like Nancy.

Yes, you read that right – ONE single session.

That’s how widely respected and in demand she is in the figure painting community.

Yet when you get your hands on this training, you’re not going to have to pay anything close to that.

To be more exact, your investment is going to be so small that even a college student could afford it.

And in case you’re worried a small investment means it’s going to be low-quality training, think again.

You’re about to be pleasantly shocked.

You see, the quality of this training is fantastic.

(It’s like Nancy is in the room helping you through the process the whole time…)

We mentioned earlier she guides you through the step-by-step-processes of producing two figure paintings.

What we mean is this:

Nancy doesn’t just teach “at” you…

She teaches with you.

Everything you paint, she paints too.

All you have to do is follow her brush strokes and you’ll amaze yourself with what you’ll create!

It really is like having her as your personal tutor…

Only you don’t need to spend a dime on flights, hotels and private lessons.

Now you might be wondering:

What Makes Nancy Tankersley the Ideal Painter to Learn From?

After starting her artistic career as a portrait painter, Nancy ventured into the world of figure paintings in 1997.

After producing figurative beach paintings, which have since gained recognition in galleries across the US, she now focuses more on “contemporary life” paintings.

While she enjoys plein air work, she also loves painting in the studio, where she works from a photograph.

When you do this yourself, you’ll save an enormous amount of time because instead of having to stay outdoors to finish your painting, all you do is take a photo…

Bring your camera back home (or to your studio)…

Then simply start painting based on the photo!

It’s extremely convenient and there are many advantages painting this way as opposed to plein air.

As you might have guessed, it’s this type of painting you’ll be learning.

Though before you think this is just a “follow along” sort of training, think again.

It’s much more than that.


Because Nancy talks you through everything she does and explains why she does it.


Here’s a Small Taste of What You’ll Discover:

  • The specific part of the canvas where Nancy does not like placing figures
  • How to prevent any figures you paint from looking as though they’ve been cut out and pasted onto the background. (This could be the difference between turning an “amateur” painting into a professional-looking one)
  • Say goodbye to your viewers focusing on the wrong part of your painting with this weird “sky hole” trick
  • The truth about adding detail to a face in your painting when you can’t see any on the original photograph
  • The incredible technique Nancy uses that makes a tiny object such as a cell phone become an important part of the painting
  • Why NOT “painting what you see” often works best. (Yes, this probably goes against everything you’ve been taught. But here’s why this is the case … as well as what you should do instead)
  • Most artists recommend using a particular type of brush. Nancy doesn’t. Here’s why… (It makes a ton of sense when you hear her explain it)
  • When it’s OK to change the size of a figure
  • The ideal “aid” for drawing commissioned portraits. (Even if you have no desire to become a commissioned painter, it’s still essential you know this technique)
  • The best time to plan your painting. (If you like doing thumbnail sketches, this is a wonderful time to do them)
  • When (and why) you should use a “non-subtle” approach to painting clothing
  • Nancy explains the compelling reason why Anders Zorn “manipulated” this certain photo (and why you might want to do the same…)
  • Why it’s essential you take your time “setting up” the figure
  • The “box technique” Nancy uses to paint two figures right next to each other
  • Nancy believes in using a limited palette … BUT with an alluring twist
  • The single most important measurement you need to make on a photographed figure (You then discover EXACTLY how to do this)
  • How to eliminate the isolation of one single color to a specific part of the canvas
  • You have to precisely copy the photograph you’re painting, right? Wrong! Here’s what to do instead
  • 3 colors you should mix with green paint to create a more “natural” green
  • The specific tool Nancy uses toward the end of her painting that adds more texture
  • How to create the illusion of space and distance
  • Nancy’s advanced method of making ONE painting from two separate photos (Even though we’ve called it “advanced,” Nancy demonstrates it so incredibly clearly that you’ll still be able to do it even if you’re a “rank beginner” painter)
  • Your paintings will become more successful as soon as you learn this concept regarding color chroma
  • QUESTION: Plan on painting female figures? If so, you need to see how Nancy uses two tiny “specks” of green to make the whole painting more pleasing on the eye
  • Why you should stick to using an odd number of figures in your painting
  • Nancy tells you the shocking way renowned painter Edgar Degas managed to capture his models “mid-flight” (In fact a lot of his figurative work couldn’t have been done without doing this)
  • What to do if you don’t like certain colors on the original photograph. (You get to see what Nancy does to the brown boots the subject of her photo is wearing)
  • How to paint the sky in just 19 seconds (Don’t worry, it won’t look “rushed” or anything. In fact, if you follow what Nancy does, it will look entirely realistic)
  • The one thing you have to keep in mind if you change the orientation of a figure
  • Why work from a black and white photo instead of color?

Plus a whole lot more


Customer Reviews

Based on 15 reviews
Nancy Tankersley’s video is truly excellent.

Nancy Tankersley's video is truly excellent. She takes you step-by-step on how she builds her paintings and has a very hands on approach. Her demonstrations are thorough. She shows you how she measures, lays in her shapes, pays attention to values, adds color, importance of edges, plus, shows us how she changes the photograph so that her composition/design works for her. Even in her interview she doesn't just talk about her own journey or toot her own horn she talks to us about how to build your painting and the component parts that make a successful painting. She truly hits the mark 100% with her instruction, demonstration and interview. Nancy is very personable, and it is a joy to watch her paint. This video is top notch!

Painting Figures From Photographs

I did enjoy the DVD by Nancy Tankersley: Painting Figures from Photographs and I did learn a number of new techniques.

Judy Kane
Painting from Photos but Having a Painterly Product

I was thrilled to watch Nancy Tankersley's video on painting the figure in the landscape from photographs. It was chock- full of wonderfully helpful hints ( like the box grid that is such a timesaver) and placing more than one figure in a landscape using different photos, and painting from the black and white photo to not be dominated by the photo's colors, and many confidence-building tips as well. The day after watching this, my painting improved tremendously! Also , Nancy's paint mixing is helpful to watch and her voice and presentation style are just so pleasant. The section on her paintings and reference sources and how she took commandof the photo Is just so encouraging to be creative and courageous! I can't wait to watch it again!

Louise Woodcox
Nancy Tankersley's painting figures from photos

Her appraoch is most helpful for sizing the figure to scale and her simplified painting technique.

Stephen Burke
Great Method for Painting Figures from Photos

This was my first attempt at painting a figure in a landscape. After viewing Nancy's video, I learned the graphing method she introduced for transferring the figure from the photograph to the canvas. This was excellent for insuring the proper size and proportions. Also, establishing the values during the blocking in process was very helpful for determining the color values for both the figure and the rest of the painting. Great video!