Lines and Colors art blog

Draw Mix Paint

Mark Carders' Draw Mix Paint art instruction
Mark Carder, the well regarded painter and portraitist who I profiled in a previous post, at one point participated in and lent his name to a series of instructional painting videos known as “The Carder Method”.

These sold for over $100, and were for a time heavily promoted.

Carder is no longer associated with the company that was selling the set, and they have ceased selling the materials as of the end of 2012.

Carder has since been creating his own instructional videos, outlining his teaching methods, and is generously making them available for free on his website Draw Mix Paint.

You can also access them on his Draw Mix Paint YouTube channel, but the website includes additional resources, like his supply list and the discussion forum.

Carder is self taught, and attributes some of his training to study of painters he particularly admires, including John Singer Sargent and Velazquez.

He has codified his teaching method into a process that is based on direct observation, measurement, and constant incremental color checking.

To this end he has created some simple tools to facilitate the process, and gives instructions for making them yourself, including proportional dividers and a pistol grip style “color checker” that allows for sighting across a swatch of paint through an eyelet, to better isolate the color than with the traditional method of simply sighting over a color laden palette knife.

To those of us who have had some formal training, his method may seem laborious, relying as it does on many more steps of color checking and smaller increments of mixing than most approaches to painting.

Bear in mind, however, that this is a method intended to allow absolute beginners to go from 0 to painting in the course of instruction. Carder points out that this isn’t intended to be a method of painting, but a method of learning to paint.

Even if your predisposition is not to the type of direct representation of reality that Carder practices, or you have less patience than required to practice his approach as demonstrated, I think many will still find Carder’s instruction worthwhile.

Although there are areas where experienced painters may disagree (as is often the case between painters) Carder’s methods are pretty much based on sound proven principles.

For an introduction to the essentials of his method, I suggest you watch his video on “How to mix colors with oil paint“. If you like the process, follow up with “How to paint what you see“.

For those with no painting or drawing experience, he recommends starting with the initial videos on drawing.

Carder has additional videos on topics like setting up a studio, making a shadow box, stretching a canvas, making his color checker and proportional dividers, etc. and he continues to add to them.

He has recently introduced two downloadable videos for which he is charging, Painting Portraits, and From Start to Finish: Still Life; but the fee is less than the cost for the original course, and he points out that they are not necessary — they just go into more detail, and you can learn the essentials of his method from the free videos.


11 responses to “Draw Mix Paint”

  1. I have not yet visited the site or channel but find it refreshing that he has gone in the reverse direction of marketing (selling) including him pointing out the two videos at (only) $20.00 are not necessary.

    I also like his notion that the method is about learning to paint and not a ‘method of painting’.
    Too often an artists approach is ‘sold’ as THE WAY to paint instead of another way to approach painting or better, as another way to SEE.
    All that does is produce clones.

    I wonder if being self taught has something to do with this?

    And from what I see here, in your previous post on him and that he has been commissioned to paint two Presidents he ‘has the goods’ to back up his instruction.

  2. When I saw your previous post on him, I immediately thought of John Singer Sargent when I saw the first painting you posted. Reading this one, I was not surprised to see he was influenced by Sargent. Love Carder’s work!

  3. I haven’t seen anyone else as generous as is Carder in sharing what he knows. As you point out, it’s all free except for the videos for which he charges only $20 each, and these are long, thorough and detailed videos, showing the real process of painting. They are most definitely worthwhile.

  4. Thanks for the heads up!
    Been 4-5 years now since Carder has been on my mind, even though I would say that he is the teacher that taught me how to mix colors. Which I learned from a youtube-video he did on the subject many years ago. His explanation of it was so easy and logical that it sunk right in.
    I’ve never practised the “Carder method” though. I believe it can be a excellent approach to learning, but I have simply concluded that I don’t have the right mindset for it.

    Anyway, now that you gave me this heads up on Carder, I watched through some of this Hangouts videos on Youtube, and they are quite interesting. Especially I recommend the one called “Why do I love to paint?”. His honesty in that one sure surprised me and I got newfound respect for the guy.

  5. Sargent is a personal favorite of mine too. Very well put together. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Thanks Mark, it’s been a while since I first purchased your disks, but I just saw your draw info on the Internet, and want you to know you did it again, and I’m setting up and getting ready to paint again. But first I’m going to build a shadow box.

    Ron Schwartz

    1. Ron, Mark Carder is unlikely to see your comment here. You can engage him more directly by joining the Draw Mix Paint forum, and posting there.

      I have taken the liberty of removing your email address from the comment. You may not be aware that leaving an email address on a web page (unless encoded in JavaScript) exposes it to collection by spammers’ robots.

  7. Carder’s results are to be admired, as is his generosity. Personally I find it too methodical (I would grow tired quickly of adopting this approach to everything I painted), and it is a little too exact.
    Sargent not only exaggerated and changed aspects of portraits to flatter his subjects, but he was also the master of simplification.

  8. Dear Carder, I just received your paint brush stand and brush dip oil and my brushes are already softer.
    I feel much freer to use them. also I I feel I have new access to my liners and my big brushes for painting.
    I am a little nervous about it mixing with my oil paint but you said not to worry. This is the second and
    Right now I love the system. Thank you for making easier for me. Harriet

    1. Harriet,

      Mark Carder is unlikely to see your comments here. You might want to contact him, and his other students, through the Draw Mix Paint Forum:


  9. Glenn Williams Avatar
    Glenn Williams

    I was way too late seeing this. The downloads are now $100. A real shame as 20 is much more attractive price. Just thought I’d let your readers know in case like me they just found your post. Cheers, g.