Mentoring Program

ASAA Mentoring Program

The American Society of Aviation Artists Mentoring Program provides one or two apprentices with the opportunity to work with a faculty of some of the best aviation artists in the business to create one painting in a year’s time.

The idea of a scholarship program was initiated by past President Paul Rendel and developed in 1995 by Don Malko and John Clark, both of whom have extensive backgrounds in education. As artists, they recognized that although they have had formal training and experience, there was knowledge and expertise to be gained from the founding members of ASAA as well as experienced members. They reviewed scholarship programs offered by other organizations and structured the ASAA program to integrate the strengths of our founders and senior members’ skills in order to guide an apprentice toward their goal of becoming a better artist -and thus a better aviation artist.

The first paragraph of the original tenet of the program states:

The purpose and scope of the ASAA Scholarship program is to educate, motivate and support artists who desire to pursue artistic endeavors consistent with the conventions of the ASAA. It is perceived that such a program will evolve to articulate and define the conventions of the ASAA during its growth while educating the public and consumers of ASAA art The program has undergone changes and modifications since its conception,

the most recent being a change from the title “scholarship” program to “mentoring” program. Several apprentices have participated since the program began, and we strive  to continue to motivate and encourage aspiring aviation artists.

Mentoring Application PDF Click Here

For further information on the Mentoring Program, please contact Education Chair Priscilla Patterson at

ASAA Mentoring Program Overview

The purpose of the program is to lead a student from concept through to the completion of one finished painting in about one year’s time.

The Phases are:

Phase I – Completed application, Portfolio consisting of 5 or 6 paintings/ drawings of non-aviation related subjects, short essay describing what the student wishes to portray in creating a painting for the program

Phase II – Three thumbnail sketches to select a preferred composition

Phase III – Complete sketch of the scene/subject to determine light source, shapes and patterns of light and shadow. Aircraft drawing at this stage should be accurate. Size should be at least 11”x14”

Phase IV – Value sketch of the painting. This is not detailed, but determines the three main values- light, medium and dark.

Phase V – Transfer the drawing to the painting surface and continue with a monochromatic underpainting. This is to show placement on the canvas of light and shadow areas.

Phase VIProceed with painting to completion under the direction of one primary faculty member.

Students submit images digitally through the coordinator and work at their own pace to complete the phases. All instructors are invited to offer ideas at any time, but the student remains under the tutelage of their primary instructor.

Guideline criteria for critiques include but are not limited to:

Story telling
Technical accuracy
Use of value
Use of color

While there are certain differences in methods and practices, the student is not bound to any one or two ways of completing a painting, and is guided with as much varied expertise as possible to sort out what works best for him or her.

Required textbooks:

How to Draw and Paint Aircraft Like a Pro Cooper, Cooper and Whyte
Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practices Juliette Aristides
Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practices Juliette Aristides
The Atelier books by Ms Aristides cover traditional practices and Old Masters techniques in art as well as history and appreciation.

All are available through and the price for all three should be under $100. The cost of the books is reimbursable by submitting a receipt to the ASAA treasurer.

For further information on the Mentoring Program, please contact Education Chair Priscilla Patterson at