Review: Mixed Media: Pen, Ink & Watercolor by Matt Rota (Craftsy course)

Matt Rota is a New York-based illustrator known for his pen, ink and watercolour illustrations. He has had his work appear in magazines, newspapers and gallery.

Matt has a video tutorial course on Craftsy titled Mixed Media: Pen, Ink & Watercolor.

Official retail price for the course is USD $44.99, However, I often see it selling at $29.99 and that's the price I got it at. This is more expensive than most Craftsy courses I've featured so far, but it's also one I like most.

I didn't know who he was when I bought the tutorial course. During the course, it immediately becomes clear that this guy is really good at what he does. Like really good. More on that later.

The whole course is 185 minutes and is split into 7 lessons, namely:

  • Getting Started (18 min)
  • Line (27 min)
  • Value & Tone with Pen (25 min)
  • Value & Tone with Brush (18 min)
  • Exploring Depth (35 min)
  • Watercolor Wash (28 min)
  • Compositing an Image (34 min)

This course is targeted at the intermediate artists. Generally speaking, if you know basic drawing, e.g. observational or proportion drawing, you're good to go.

The first lesson Getting Started is like all other lessons and introduces you to the tools you're about to use. The main tools used are the dip pen, brush, ink and watercolour. He talks about common mistakes to avoid.

Second lesson about line is interesting. The main highlight is the dip pen that he uses. In this lesson he talks about the various techniques you can use with the dip pen. In particular, I found it very interesting when he talks about the integrity of the line, which to layman is what makes lines look confident and nice. It's at this point where I realise that this guy takes his work really seriously.

Next two lessons covers creating value and tone with pen and brush. There are demonstrations that show you the different effects.

Then you'll learn about how you can create depth in your art and use techniques to bring out perspective cues.

The next lesson is on pen, ink and watercolour sketch. In this lesson, the goal is to let the line art be the highlight and using watercolour only as a complementary tool. It's very useful for those who like ink and wash techniques.

Last lesson covers all the techniques taught and brings them altogether to create one piece of illustration from start to end using all the tools and techniques mentioned.

The highlight of this course is the insightful commentary by Matt Rota. The instructions, tips and content is explained with such clarity that when the demonstration begins, you know exactly what and why he's doing. Matt is extremely knowledgeable and knows his techniques well. He's also an artist who's not afraid to get this hands dirty -- he pinches his ink brushes with bare fingers to check if they are suitable for drawing!

There's a lot of useful information in this course that warrants repeat viewing.

More than 5,000 students have already enrolled in this course

By the way, I've recently reviewed Paul Heaston's course on Pen & Ink Essentials. There's a bit of overlap in content when it comes to the pen and ink section. Paul Heaston's course covers more techniques that are specific to the technical pen. Matt Rota's course is another artist's way of using pen and ink. It's interesting to see how different artists create art in their own style with the same tools.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Craftsy for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)


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