This thoroughly reviews Proko courses, an online tutorial platform for aspiring and advanced artists and painters.
In this review, I dive into everything you need about the Proko course before you choose to sign up.
At the end of this review, you will know if Proko is the right fit for you or whether you should try out its rivals, which I will talk about later in this review.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Table of Contents
Overview of Proko
Proko is a large online forum for instructors and students in art and design. There, the course creator, Stan Prokopenko, and his fellow coaches dished out comprehensive training in many different art categories to several thousand students worldwide.
Proko originally launched as Proko 1.0. You could go there and watch some tutorial videos on an element of art, and that was it. It was just a YouTube channel and little else.
Over the years, with the launch of Proko 2.0, the platform has been steadily moving away from just a library of videos in art to an actual school of art complete with hundreds of video classes and a large community that enables interaction and feedback among students and coaches.
It teaches students of all skill levels how to draw true-to-life images of people, animals, objects, etc., on paper, on a canvas, or digitally.
Students learn by means of pre-recorded video lessons the basic and advanced concepts of drawing artistic portraits, figures, caricatures, fictional characters, and so on from imagination or by direct observation of the subject—life or in print.
Sculpting is another major aspect of artistry that Proko covers. Several modules talk about the skills and protocols that come into play when carving statues and plaques representing antique people and items or modern ones.
Content creators looking to monetize their art skills are not left out. Proko has a compilation of dozens of lessons that can help even beginner artists build their careers from the ground up.
To join Proko, all you have to do is sign up with your email or Facebook account, and then you will have to select your interest from about 14 art specialties.
You can also follow Proko instructors and get their updates right in your feed on your classroom page. Your classroom is your dedicated dashboard where you can access all your courses and track your progress.
As you learn on the platform, you will have a lot of opportunities to practice the skills you have gained. The video lessons are teeming with lots of assignments and practice examples that you can play around with.
And while you will get most of the course benefits through a paid subscription, there are many free videos, especially for beginners to drawing.
Who is Stan Prokopenko?
Stan Prokopenko is a San Diego-based art instructor and the founder of Proko.
Stan loved the arts since childhood, and from 2003 to 2007, he was a student of Watt Atelier. Stan soaked up a lot of insights about art from the Watt Atelier school, and soon enough, he started teaching others how to draw and paint.
Stan’s first online videos were head drawing videos posted on his YouTube channel. His videos attracted a lot of views partly thanks to the fact that there was far less competition on YouTube than today.
He would soon move on to create the Proko online training academy, which at first was little more than a YouTube channel.
What Is Inside Proko?
The Proko course library packs a lot of tutorials on the various elements of art, such as outlines, sketching, and shading, and how artists exploit them in various settings to give their work a lifelike appearance.
A highlight of the course is grooming you with the particular skills and strategies you need to express the unique characteristics of whatever image or form factor you are drawing. Many lessons contain what you can call a blueprint of the steps to follow when drawing, for example, the human body.
There’s also a lot of information in many lessons on how to hack your imagination and get more ideas flowing that you can transform into artwork that creates vivid impressions.
The vast course library covers more than 30 different domains in art, from watercolor to vlogs to portraits and so on. Everything in the course library is about 48 courses containing over 2000 lessons.
Let’s see what the courses are all about.
- The Color Survival Guide
- Figure Sculpting Fundamentals
- Digital Painting Fundamentals
- Drawing an Animal Portrait
- Creating a Comic Page
- Drawing Basics
- Art of Caricature
- Draftsmen Podcast
- Anatomy of the Human Body
- Figure Drawing Fundamentals
- Portrait Drawing Fundamentals
- Marvel’s The Art of Storytelling
The last course in the above listing is a result of Proko’s partnership with Marvel—a giant in the comics industry—and features the very people behind the universe of fascinating worlds, stories, and characters that Marvel has built up over the decades.
The Marvel course takes you behind the scenes of the process Marvel story writers and artists follow to craft imaginary characters and how they draw them to make the viewing experience look so realistic.
Every course contains an overview that summarizes the contents of the lessons. The overview also tells you how long the course is. Many lessons require a purchase to unlock, but you can always find free ones. And, for the interactive part, all courses have a discussion panel.
You can download any lesson for offline access, which will be HD quality. Gifting is also allowed, which means you can purchase any lesson as a gift for someone.
As for multi-lingual support, all of the lessons are given in English. Nevertheless, you can always download the transcripts and then run them through any translator of your choice.
Stan Prokopeno is the team lead and is assisted by more than 20 other instructors who are all expert artists in their domain of artistry.
These instructors come from various countries with rich cultures. And since culture strongly influences art, having so many instructors from different cultures makes the learning experience richer as each person will approach the subject from a unique perspective.
Aside from culture, most instructors have either spent years developing their art studios and workshops or have gained much experience under the wings of major art or comic industries like Marvel.
All that assures that the instructors are cut out for the job and are not using Proko and its vast number of students as a testing ground for undeveloped skills.
Learning Method (Experience)
There are a variety of ways to learn with Proko. Pre-recorded video lessons make up the bulk of the learning methods. Still, there are a bunch of complementary learning methods that make the learning experience, in my experience, more immersive (pun intended).
But here is how the pattern of learning goes:
The videos come first. They explain the key concepts in that aspect of art and how to apply them in your creation.
In most of the courses, some lessons include 3D models that you can view in the browser without any need for additional software.
Captions are another feature of the videos that can help you follow along better if the speech is not okay with you. I didn’t run into a problem with the speech in my testing, but I just preferred to leave the captions on for that extra bit of convenience.
Captions are available in English and, much to my surprise, Chinese (for some courses )
As I mentioned earlier, you can download any of the videos. That, too, is another convenience, and I should add a cost-saving feature I appreciate very much. Now, you don’t always have to connect to WiFi or burn through your mobile data subscription whenever you want to access the lessons.
One feature I find useful as it aids comprehension a lot is the real-time demonstration of an instructor as he draws from scratch and works through it bit by bit. The course on portraits contains about two such explanatory samples, and it’s really incredible.
E-books are another learning resource that many lessons contain. You can download them or read them straight from the browser.
Then there are assignments for practicing the skills you learned in the lessons. You get feedback for these assignments when you post them in the community—that’s where I’m going next.
The community Proko gives you access to is one where both coaches and students interact, and it is a very active one.
Huge communities like the one on Proko can be clumsy if everybody piles their comments in one space.
But things are different here. The community has chat rooms for each subject, so there’s a room for drawing fundamentals, painting, anatomy, et cetera.
With that arrangement, you can skip all the scrolling and visit the room that’s for the art subject you are into to access all the related comments and also drop your assignments for feedback from your coursemates.
For even quicker navigation, the community has a universal search button for when you have a specific query in mind but don’t know which chat room has it.
And here’s the best thing about the community: it is open to even free subscribers.
But now, let’s talk about the pros and cons of Proko
Pros of Proko
Proko instructors are among the best art and design professionals you can hope for. Stan Proko and the rest of the coaches have all been in the field of art for many years, which shows in the depth of training they pass.
Stan Proko himself has a very entertaining style of teaching. His manner of explanation is also clear and almost as if he knows the question that is forming in your mind.
The other instructors also do a great job of bringing the tutorials to life by breaking down even complicated concepts into understandable bits.
The community is an excellent place to go if you have any questions about any point. Everyone in the community is an artist in one way or another, which means you will almost always get the right answers to your query.
Plenty of Free Lessons
There are enough free lessons on the platform to spin off into an entire course. Sometimes, a course can have almost half its lessons free while the rest are locked for paid access.
The free lessons are usually meant for absolute beginners and are also for stimulating your interest to buy the premium ones.
I recommend starting with the free lessons first to understand the basic concepts.
Another good thing is that you can often find these free lessons on Proko’s YouTube channel. Another way they differ from the paid lessons is that the former is often censored, which I will discuss later in this review.
Every course has an exhaustive amount of information to its credit. It’s hard to find so much detail on certain art topics elsewhere. The human anatomy course, in particular, has over 300 lessons.
It will show you what features of the human body will aid your drawing, such as the landmarks, the body contours, the mannequinization technique, the robo bean technique, et cetera.
Another highly packed course is the figure drawing fundamentals. It starts from such basic tips as how to hold your pencil, sharpen it, et cetera.
The other courses also contain a similar level of detail.
High Definition Videos
None of Proko’s videos go below 720p. The human anatomy course goes up to 1080p. At such quality levels, you can’t have difficulty picking out even the tiny details.
Critique videos are a fan favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. These videos feature an instructor or two using students as examples while pointing out the errors in that work.
The instructors will highlight the needy parts with bold lines as they discuss what makes an error and how the student (and you) can avoid it. Then, they will talk about the fix, referencing some points in the appropriate video course so you can connect the theory with the practical.
Critique videos help you rule out the possibility of having to learn from your own mistakes and are among the best part of the training Proko gives.
Lifetime Access for Courses Purchased
With Proko, you only have to purchase a course or a lesson once, and you will have access to it forever.
Cons of Proko
The sheer number of lessons in each course can make the learning experience seem daunting. You might even give into what might be called ‘information overload’ and hesitate to start your first lessons.
The human anatomy course alone has over 300 lessons, as I hinted at earlier, and while that may sound like a good thing, it won’t be long before you start wondering if you are a medical student.
Just be prepared to allot some serious amount of time to the lessons if you want to progress at a pace that will leave you satisfied.
Some Courses are Pricey
Many of Proko’s courses shoot above the $100 mark. While that may not be a dealbreaker, it is worth pointing out and, in my opinion, also worth subtracting points for.
Uncensored content means no restriction on what kind of images you may be exposed to. If you are a sensitive viewer, beware of nudity in some of the artwork used as examples.
Only the free videos have censored content, but when they run out, you have to stomach some potentially offensive imagery when viewing the premium content.
Stan’s entertaining manner of delivery, which in my opinion, caters to the younger generation, does a good job of ensuring that you stay hooked on the videos.
However, if you want to devote all seriousness to learning and don’t have time for some witty comments, you may have to look elsewhere.
Are Proko Courses Worth It?
Proko courses are definitely worth it. They can pick you from the ground up as a beginner, and they can also help you spot areas of improvement, even if you have been a professional artist for some time.
The wealth of information the courses combine makes it highly unlikely that you would miss out on anything in your field if you decide to purchase any of them.
With Proko, it’s safe to say that you can be confident that you are learning from some of the best hands in art and design. You also get a great community where you can get critical feedback.
How Much Do Proko Courses Cost?
Proko courses are not priced equally, and some can surpass the $300 mark. If you are about to decide that Proko is the right art and design course for you, let me give you the pricing details below:
- Marvel’s the art of Storytelling: $199.20
- Portrait Drawing Fundamentals: $65
- Figure Drawing Fundamentals: $125
- Anatomy of the human body: $379.47
- Draftsmen Podcast: Free
- Art of Caricature: $250
- Drawing Basics: $139
- Creating a Comic Page: $99
- Drawing an Animal Portrait: $109
- Digital Painting Fundamentals: $218
- Figure sculpting fundamentals: $125
- The color survival guide: $50
Proko offers a 30-day refund window for any purchase you make on their platform. The refund policy is a no-question-asked one instead of being action-based. You only need to submit a refund request, and it will be processed without any protocol.
How Does Proko Compare to its Alternatives?
Proko does sound like a great option on its own, but like in every other field, many more online training platforms are vying for your attention.
Here’s how Proko compares to New Masters Academy and Watt Atelier.
Proko vs. New Masters Academy
New Masters Academy is a top-ranking platform for learning art and design. The platform started with Glenn Vilppu, Ed Fraughton, and Steve Huston before expanding into a team of over 30 instructors.
When you talk about the quality of instructors, there’s no clear winner between Proko and New Masters Academy.
Both platforms feature exceptional art professionals who have immersed themselves in the subject over the years.
The instructors on both platforms are also products of outstanding comic companies like Walt Disney and Marvel. That shows that quality is assured no matter the course platform you choose.
The differences come down to the very nature of the training. While Proko uses pre-recorded video lessons that are in themselves very comprehensive, New Masters Academy hosts live classes that international students join virtually.
If you prefer live training to watching videos, you might prefer New Masters Academy.
Both course platforms are just as comprehensive as each other, except that New Masters Academy uses far more 3D models than Proko does.
You also get personal coaches with New Masters Academy. They are ever ready to attend to you, and you can interact with them, draft your study plans with them, and get personalized feedback for your work from them.
You don’t get that luxury with Proko. New Masters Academy is the one for truly personal training.
Pricing-wise, New Masters Academy offers a monthly subscription option and a yearly plan. Both payment options give you access to everything in New Masters Academy, unlike in Proko, where you can only pay for individual courses.
Overall, New Masters Academy is the more robust option. Proko isn’t doing badly, but it just can’t match up with the extra perks and benefits that New Masters Academy brings to the table—at least for now.
Proko vs. Watt Atelier
Watt Atelier is a renowned art and design training school whose roots go as far back as 1992.
Famously dubbed Atelier of the Arts, the school was founded by Jeffrey R. Atelier, an aspiring professional cyclist turned artist.
Since its inception, Watt Atelier has produced many brilliant artists. Stan Prokopenko himself attended Watt Atelier before building his own art tutorial platform.
Today, Watt Atelier’s curriculum is more comprehensive than ever, spanning every aspect of drawing, design, painting, and more.
Students can attend live in-person classes held in Encinitas, California, or watch live streams of the in-person courses from their homes. For a more self-paced routine, they can watch online videos and work through the curriculum.
Watt Atelier doesn’t have sculptures as part of its curriculum. Proko does, however.
However, with Watt Atelier, you have the option to pay for mentorship directly from a Watts Instructor in addition to the regular coaching that’s available to everybody.
The downside with Watt Atelier is that their pricing plans are not exactly budget-friendly, except for their individual master class course, which gives you access to one master class course for $49 billed monthly.
From there, the pricing plans go up to as high as $499 billed monthly for the training+mentorship plan.
It’s tough choosing between Proko and Watt Atelier. Both are on level ground regarding the quality of teaching, but Proko wins out on the budget side of the equation.
Nevertheless, Watt Atelier is the more interactive option, so it’s a question of what you prefer and how much you are willing to pay for it.
Before drawing the curtain on this review, here are some additional questions you might want to find answers to.
Is Proko Anatomy Course worth it?
Yes. The Proko Anatomy course is worth your consideration. It is the priciest offering from Proko but is also the most comprehensive.
Is Proko good for beginners?
Proko is good for beginners. The fundamental courses cater to beginners, and the free videos also help students get the basic points before they move on to the more advanced sections.
How much does Proko cost?
Proko bills its courses individually. Some are as cheap as $50, while others exceed $300.
Where is Proko located?
Proko is an online course and can be accessed from wherever you are through your PC.