Proko 2.0 launches

Before I begin, here's the most important link of all. The Proko art website.

Who's Proko?

For those who don't know, Proko, aka Stan Prokopenko is one of the internet's most beloved art teachers. He's been putting out incredible content via his YouTube channel for close to a decade now. I still remember the video that shot him to fame. It was titled "How to draw the head from any angle". For many people at the time, it was easily one of the finest videos produced on the topic that was on YouTube for free. Most videos at the time either covered the method of drawing the head in far less precise terms. Or if they were geared towards fine art, it was far too tedious. In his video, Proko took the principles defined by Andrew Loomis, and made a super easy to understand video which was edited and produced in a way that you never felt like there was anything being hidden.

Up to today, that video is one of YouTube's most viewed instructional videos on how to draw a head. The only one that is in a similar category and has more views is a 3 hour long one by Steve Huston. It's worth mentioning though that Stan then went on to produce videos on how to draw the head from front, side, and extreme angles followed by videos on how to draw each feature of the face. Between all of those videos, there's at least 14 million views.

And Proko's been making these videos for a long time now. He's also been producing what I believe is one of the best art podcasts out there as well. Even if you aren't into art, it's 100% worth having a listen to some of the episodes if just to listen to the wisdom of Marshall Vandruff.

What's Proko 2.0?

Stan runs a website alongside his incredible YouTube channel. The website is, or used to be at the time, a simple Wordpress site that was a portal to his educational material. Alongside the videos that Stan posted to YouTube, he would also create premium content which you could purchase. The premium content included additional details on topics such as anatomy or figure drawing, as well as full length demonstrations with voice overs. It was a simple website that did the basics you needed it to do.

A few days ago, Stan announced a change that's been in the making for a while. His new website is essentially a social network specifically for people who are learning art through the material that Stan puts out. But it's not just that. Proko has also been bringing in other incredible artists and art educators onto his YouTube channel for a while now. The website looks like it will become a portal for all of them to create instructional material which we can view and/or purchase through the proko site.

This is all really exciting news. Particularly because the features of the website allows us access to a community that is thoughtful, something we can be thankful to Stan for cultivating. The community is there to help each other as we all work through the various courses on the Proko site. In many ways, it feels like Stan is looking to create a virtual art school environment through the Proko website. Over time, there'll even be livestreams that are conducted and discussed through the proko site.

I love it!

I love it because in many ways, learning art has been fun but also a somewhat lonely experience. There are lots of art communities out there, but having an art community that's dedicated around common resources feels a lot more welcoming than posting a random study to a random discord channel somewhere. Instead, when I post to the community section of the figure drawing class, everyone there is going to be on the same page since we are all following the same material.

Critiques and hopes

While there's a lot of positives to say about the new website, I can't pretend that it's all hunky dory either. It's a little on the slow side — you can feel the load of the site between page changes. And I worry about how the site will scale in the future. The designs are a little wonky here and there, although I have confidence that can and will be fixed in the future.

What I do want to see from the website though is the concept of an art journal. I don't mean a literal journal done through art. I mean more of a daily sketchbook showing a person's progress. I still don't think that this is a well tackled area digitally. Instagram and Deviantart and all the other sites have so much focus on the finished product. I really just want a website where I can upload a few pictures from my daily art journal and from time to time, link some of the pictures to a finished piece so that a viewer can see how I got there. I don't think I'd ever leave a website that made something like this.

Overall, I'm just looking forward to continuing my focus on working my way through Proko's courses, only now with the added benefit of interacting with a great community each day.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

Posted on May 19 2021 by Adnan Issadeen