Iguana Art Academy

STUDENT RESOURCES

You will find an ever-growing source of “how-to” help here, with new answers added as we receive your questions. Browse the categories below or try the search box to the right. Can’t find what you’re looking for?  Send your question to us and we’ll do our best to help you!

For questions related to Iguana Art Academy, visit our Help Center.

Photography

Tips for photographing your artwork

The feedback you receive will really help you grow. Honest input depends on a good presentation of your work, and that begins with a good photograph of your work. Check out these helpful pages to produce great images to submit to your class’s Assignment Gallery.

Once you have good photographs of your artwork, be sure to read our tips on editing and presenting your work in our other photography FAQs.

Submitting your assignment images in JPG or PNG (hints)

To show your artwork at its best, please follow the guidelines below. Note: before you begin editing your images, be sure to duplicate them so you will always have a backup in case something goes awry (power outages seem to happen just before saving your image…). Before you edit, duplicate your image to create a working image. Rename the original image “master image” with the filename (e.g. DSC_8742_Master.jpg).

  1. Edit your image duplicate (for tips, see the above FAQ “Editing your photographed or scanned image“).
  2. Open your photo editor’s size option menu. It likely is Image > Image Size, or Resize (in PicMonkey free editor)
  3. Set the resolution or dpi (dots per inch) to be 96dpi or medium-high.
  4. Select “Retain proportions” (or “Maintain/Keep Proportions”)
  5. Resize your image so that the longer dimension (width or height) of your image to be 1,000 pixels. The shorter dimension should adjust accordingly to retain the original proportion of your image.
  6. Click File > Save As. In your computer’s Save As dialog box, name your file as follows: “FirstName-LastName,AS1” (e.g. “Tim-Chambers,AS1”)  Notice- no spaces! This will ensure your work doesn’t get lost in the far corners of the Iguana studios!
  7. Save the file in JPG or PNG (.jpg, .jpeg, .png) format only. Note: Other formats will not be able to be viewed in the Assignment Gallery. We recommend that you create a folder just for your course assignments and save all your images in that folder. 
  8. For JPG files, you may be prompted to select a quality setting. Choose 9 or higher.

Once you’ve done this a few times, it will be second-nature and you’ll breeze through the process.

Don’t forget to submit your assignment to your lesson’s Assignment Gallery to receive feedback on your work!

Photo Editing FAQs

Free online photo editors…

If you don’t have a photo editor on your computer, or if you’re traveling, no worries! These online photo editors are simple to use, work in your browser, and they’re free.

Notes: You may be invited to sample their upgraded ad-free version, but the free versions work fine. If you have adverse experiences with any of these, please let us know.

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Editing your photographed or scanned image

You’ve taken the time to produce an original work of art. Now we need to present it well. The sayings “You only get one chance at a first impression” and “You’re only as good as you look” apply to your artwork. It’s important that the work you submit to the Assignment Gallery is true to your work. In other words, it should accurately represent your work. Following are tips to help you make a good impression.

  • Start with a good photograph. See the FAQ “Can you offer tips on photographing my artwork?” to ensure that you have a good image file to work with.
  • Be honest! Keep in mind that accuracy is beneficial to you. You will receive feedback that will help you grow. If it looks better than your work, you miss out on constructive feedback. If the image is of poor quality, then others will have a difficult time offering honest input. We’re here to grow, not to impress, for long-term results.
  • Match your paper’s color and tone. If you have white paper, then it should look white in your photo.
  • Highlights and Shadows are the key to well-exposed image. Avoid using “Brightness” or “Contrast” controls.
    • In Photoshop, make use of the Levels tool (Image > Adjustments > Levels). Slide the shadow (left slider) and highlight (right slider) to achieve an accurate image.
    • in PicMonkey, use Exposure > Highlights/Shadows sliders.  *PicMonkey is a superb, free online photo editor (*You can ignore the invitation to trial or buy PicMonkey Royale if you don’t mind the ads in Basic PicMonkey, and it’s always free).
  • Desaturate! If you’ve done a drawing in black/white/gray, then there should not be any color cast. Cameras can have a hard time getting white balance correct, resulting in a cool or warm tone over the image. There is a simple fix- desaturate.
    • Photoshop: Click on Image > Mode > Grayscale.
    • PicMonkey: Click on Colors and then slide the Saturation slider all the way to the left to nix any color cast. Easy!
  • No fancy stuff! Avoid the temptation to do crazy things with gradients, frames, fonts. Stick with the basic tools to present your image honestly.
  • Help for newbies. Check out these easy-to-follow tutorials to produce great images of your artwork:

Experiment with editing your photos (always on a duplicate just in case…!). You’ll be a pro in no time. :)

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IAG/Assignment Gallery FAQs

How do I upload my assignments to the IAG?

To use the ultra-cool, totally unique, Iguana Assignment Gallery (aka IAG), just follow these steps. They are the same for all courses.

01_submit_assignment_link

Once you click the link below your Assignment Guidelines section, a new page opens, shown below. Just fill in the form with your assignment info, and click the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button. You can view your and your classmates’ art assignments by clicking the gallery button on this page or by the GALLERY tab on your Student Dashboard Courses  (Profile > Courses).

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How do I view my class Iguana Assignment Gallery?

Viewing the IAG (Iguana Assignment Gallery) for each lesson in your course is easy. Just navigate to your Student Dashboard and select COURSES. You will then see the GALLERIES tab near the top of the section. Click to view your available assignments and select to view. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

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Once you are in your Student Dashboard, select the GALLERIES tab, then select your assignment gallery of choice:

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Commenting in the Iguana Assignment Gallery

Now that you’ve uploaded your assignment to the IAG, it’s time to view your classmates’ artwork and inspire with encouragement!  We ask all students to exercise kindness, courtesy, and honorable behavior in the IAG and all areas of the Academy.

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Trouble viewing? Refresh browser, clear cache.

If you’re having trouble viewing the lesson video or uploading assignments, check to see if you have Adobe Flash installed by clicking here). If you’re having trouble viewing updated lessons, uploading assignments, or viewing any page at Iguana Art Academy,  try 1) refreshing your browser and 2) clear your cache. Here’s how:

How to clear your browser:

  • Chrome: Press Ctrl+F5 in Windows. Press Command+R in OS X.
  • Edge: A few steps…click here for guidance from Microsoft.
  • Firefox: Press Ctrl+F5 in Windows. Press   Command+ Shift+R in OS X.
  • Safari: Press   Command Opt +E to delete the cache and then press  Command+R.

How to clear your cache:

  • Safari 8.0 – 10.0 (Mac) – Clearing Cache and Cookies
    1. Click Safari in the upper left-hand side of your screen. In the menu that appears, click Preferences.
    2. In the window that appears, click the Privacy tab. Click the button Remove All Website Data.
    3. Click Remove Now in the pop-up window that appears.
  • Android:
    1. Tap the Chrome menu button (the button looks like three small dots or three lines stacked vertically) > Settings > Privacy > Clear Cache (you cannot force refresh in Chrome for Android and iOS. You will need to delete your existing cache and then reload the website.
    2. Tap “Clear Browsing Data”. Ensure that “Clear the cache” is checked > Tap “Clear”
  • iOS:
    1. Go to Settings > Safari > Tap “Clear History and Website Data” > Return to Safari > Reload the page with the circular reload button in the address bar (you cannot force a refresh in Safari for iOS. You will need to delete your existing cache and then reload the website.
    2. Tap “Clear Cache”. Tap “Clear Cache” again to confirm.

If that doesn’t solve the issue you’re experiencing, please submit your question via the form below. We’ll get back to you with a solution asap. Be sure to give us a clear description and the page URL when to better help us identify and solve the problem.

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My assignments are not displayed in the IAG. What next?

If you’re having trouble uploading or viewing assignments, there are a few quick solutions. First, try refreshing your browser and/or clearing your cache. Instructions on how to do this are below.

Another cause is that your image was too large or the wrong format. Images must be less than 2MB in size and be in PNG or JPG/JPEG format. If you attempted to upload an image and it didn’t work, check your size and image format, refresh your cache (see below), and try again.

How to clear your browser:

  • Chrome: Press Ctrl+F5 in Windows. Press Command+R in OS X.
  • Edge: A few steps…click here for guidance from Microsoft.
  • Firefox: Press Ctrl+F5 in Windows. Press   Command+ Shift+R in OS X.
  • Safari: Press   Command Opt +E to delete the cache and then press  Command+R.

How to clear your cache:

  • Safari 8.0 – 10.0 (Mac) – Clearing Cache and Cookies
    1. Click Safari in the upper left-hand side of your screen. In the menu that appears, click Preferences.
    2. In the window that appears, click the Privacy tab. Click the button Remove All Website Data.
    3. Click Remove Now in the pop-up window that appears.
  • Android:
    1. Tap the Chrome menu button (the button looks like three small dots or three lines stacked vertically) > Settings > Privacy > Clear Cache (you cannot force refresh in Chrome for Android and iOS. You will need to delete your existing cache and then reload the website.
    2. Tap “Clear Browsing Data”. Ensure that “Clear the cache” is checked > Tap “Clear”
  • iOS:
    1. Go to Settings > Safari > Tap “Clear History and Website Data” > Return to Safari > Reload the page with the circular reload button in the address bar (you cannot force a refresh in Safari for iOS. You will need to delete your existing cache and then reload the website.
    2. Tap “Clear Cache”. Tap “Clear Cache” again to confirm.

If that doesn’t solve the issue you’re experiencing, please submit your question via the form below. We’ll get back to you with a solution asap. Be sure to give us a clear description and the page URL when to better help us identify and solve the problem.

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Materials

Can you recommend a good-value art supplier?

There are many out there, but we have found time and again that Dick Blick Art Supplies has the best selection, best prices, fastest shipping, and best deals. Go to dickblick.com. Be sure to enter in any current promotional codes (displayed at the top of their webpages).

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Color Wheel Definitions

If you’ve ever taken an art class, chances are you’ve seen the color wheel. It is as close as you can get to anything standard in the very subjective visual arts medium, yet it is essential color theory if your aim is to create something beautiful. Following is the basic P-S-T (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary) color wheel, along with helpful definitions relating to color harmony. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll find instruction in our courses relating to color mediums (e.g. painting, color pencil).

Color Wheel (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary)
Click to enlarge

Color wheel definitions:

  • Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue – cannot be mixed from any other colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Two primary colors mixed together resulting in orange, green and violet.
  • Tertiary (Intermediate) Colors: One primary and one secondary mixed together.
  • Aggressive (Warm) Colors: Reds, oranges and yellows.
  • Receding (Cool) Colors: Greens, blues and violets.
  • Hue: Another name for color.
  • Tint: Color + White
  • Tone: Color + Gray
  • Shade: Color + Black
  • Key Color: Dominant color in a color scheme or mixture.
  • Neutral Grey: Combination of black and white.
  • Intensity or Chroma: The brightness or dullness of a color.
  • Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Mono-chromatic: Using any shade, tint, or tones of one color.
  • Analogous: Using any shades, tints, or tones of colors that lie adjacent to each other on the wheel.
  • Achromatic: A colorless scheme using, blacks, whites and grays.
  • Complementary Colors: Combing a shade, tint or tone of one color and the color opposite on the wheel. Example blue and orange.
  • Split Complementary: Choosing one color and using the color on each side of the complement on the color wheel.
  • Diad: Using two colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Example red and orange.
  • Triad: Color scheme in which three colors equally spaced from each other. Example the three primary colors – red blue and yellow.
  • Tetrad: A contrast of four or more colors on the wheel.
Color Harmony Examples
Click to enlarge

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Painting

How do you arrange your colors for painting?

How you arrange your colors is important, personal, and should be logical. The key is to minimize anything that distracts you from thinking about and responding to your artwork, and that includes thinking about where your colors are. The palette arrangements listed below are used by Timothy Chambers. They are logical, efficient, and easy to remember. Just be sure to use the same arrangement every time you paint so that reaching for a color becomes second-nature. Have fun!

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Color Wheel Definitions

If you’ve ever taken an art class, chances are you’ve seen the color wheel. It is as close as you can get to anything standard in the very subjective visual arts medium, yet it is essential color theory if your aim is to create something beautiful. Following is the basic P-S-T (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary) color wheel, along with helpful definitions relating to color harmony. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll find instruction in our courses relating to color mediums (e.g. painting, color pencil).

Color Wheel (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary)
Click to enlarge

Color wheel definitions:

  • Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue – cannot be mixed from any other colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Two primary colors mixed together resulting in orange, green and violet.
  • Tertiary (Intermediate) Colors: One primary and one secondary mixed together.
  • Aggressive (Warm) Colors: Reds, oranges and yellows.
  • Receding (Cool) Colors: Greens, blues and violets.
  • Hue: Another name for color.
  • Tint: Color + White
  • Tone: Color + Gray
  • Shade: Color + Black
  • Key Color: Dominant color in a color scheme or mixture.
  • Neutral Grey: Combination of black and white.
  • Intensity or Chroma: The brightness or dullness of a color.
  • Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Mono-chromatic: Using any shade, tint, or tones of one color.
  • Analogous: Using any shades, tints, or tones of colors that lie adjacent to each other on the wheel.
  • Achromatic: A colorless scheme using, blacks, whites and grays.
  • Complementary Colors: Combing a shade, tint or tone of one color and the color opposite on the wheel. Example blue and orange.
  • Split Complementary: Choosing one color and using the color on each side of the complement on the color wheel.
  • Diad: Using two colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Example red and orange.
  • Triad: Color scheme in which three colors equally spaced from each other. Example the three primary colors – red blue and yellow.
  • Tetrad: A contrast of four or more colors on the wheel.
Color Harmony Examples
Click to enlarge

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What is the method to mount a canvas?

There are a variety of ways canvas and linen are protected. Here are a few recommended methods with instructions:

  1. Stretching canvas on stretchers: the method used for ages. Step-by-step instructions. Downloadable instructions.
  2. Mounting on a rigid panel, such as Gator Board, hardboard (aka Masonite), aluminum, or wood (such as birch). Artist Howard Friedland’s illustrated instructions. If you use a wood product, be sure to coat the surface with a high-quality gesso before mounting.
  3. Mounting onto wood. When using un-primed wood panels as your support, it is critical to seal the wood to prevent damage to your artwork. Follow these instructions, then click the mounting tips link below or Howard Friedland’s above.  To seal your wood support, apply Golden GAC100 directly to the wood with a 2˝ paint brush, a roller, or trowel. Allow to dry completely and follow with an additional coat. Do not sand between layers. Mounting tips. Downloadable instructions.

Read and follow the instructions thoroughly, be prepared, and take your time. If done correctly, the process should be reversible, your canvas able to be removed if ever necessary.

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Video FAQs

Tips for watching lesson videos

Watching the lesson video is simple with the navigation tools. Lessons are available 24/7, and you will appreciate the ability to view demonstrations one step at a time:

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Didn’t find your answer? Please submit your question below. We’ll get back to you soon.

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