Workshops and Classes

Drawing on his twenty years of experience as a heavily awarded professional and teacher in the field of imaginative realism, Donato is now available across the United States (and world via online!) for intensive learning opportunities through studio sessions, classes and workshops in 2014. Donato will lecture upon and share topics as diverse as marketing in commercial and fine arts marketplaces, color and compositional theory, the aesthetics of narration, integration of abstration and realism, and the physical application and techniques of working with oil paints, mediums and glazes.

Attendees will benefit from Donato's twenty plus years creating oil paintings for commercial and private clients from National Geographic, to Hasbro, Scholastic Books, Time/Warner, Tor Books, the US Postal Service and the United Nations. His nineteen years experience teaching, lecturing and demonstrating at conventions, seminars and art academies has made Donato an effective and inspiring speaker and teacher. His appearances have ranged around the world at institutions like the School of Visual Arts, Syracuse University, Lucca Comics and Games (Italy), the San Diego Comic-Con, Magic:The Gathering (Moscow) and the World Science Fiction Convention. These lectures will dramatically increase an artist's ability to manage compositional concepts, produce effective narratives, and mature their artistic voice.

If you need further information regarding these learning opportunities, please contact us at

2014 Fall Online Lecture Series with Donato

12 Sessions of Comprehensive Lectures on Art, Aesthetics and Business
September 3 - November 19, 2014

The SmArt School

The twelve week series is for the dedicated artist who aspires to pursue further development and refinement of their skills as draughtsmen, image-makers and storytellers. The intimate structure of the class with live Q&A will insure a highly focused environment and intense lecture sessions with the artist.

Lectures over the course of the semester will consist of a one hour visual presentation culling images and information from the art of Donato, that of his contemporary peers in the industry, the contemporary art marketplace in general, and masters from art history. Class participants will be invited to submit art for potential inclusion in these presentations. A comprehensive survey of art and its context within our ever-changing cultural environment will be focus of the dialogs.

Graduating summa cum laude from Syracuse University with a BFA in Painting, Donato entered the commercial illustration marketplace immediately upon graduation while apprenticing for years in New York City as the studio assistant to the preeminent figurative painter, Vincent Desiderio. Over the course of his career, Donato has acquired a multitude of highly acclaimed awards, from three Gold and six Silver Medals from Spectrum, to nineteen Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists , to three Hugo Awards from the World Science Fiction Society, to the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators.

Donato recognizes the significant cultural role played by narrative art and makes personal efforts to contribute to the expansion and appreciation of the genre that extend beyond the commercial commissions of his clients. To those ends, Donato teaches at the School of Visual Arts and the Illustration Master Class, exhibits at various galleries, and demonstrates and lectures at various universities, workshops and conventions across the country. This is a rare privilege to study in an intimate setting with an artist of this caliber and experience.

Topics of discussion will include:

Painting Between the Lines - Developing Complex Narrative and Emotional Content
Abstract Thumbnails and Preliminary Drawings
Compositional Aesthetics - Balance, Pattern, and the Modern Eye
Marketing and Self Promotion
Photographic References - Manipulation and Sampling
The Mud of Venus - Painting Skin Tones
Controlling Color - Theory and Implementation
The Portrait - Covers, Commissions and Psychology
Mastering Metal and Complex Visual Effects
Composing with Multiple Figures
Challenges - Advancing your Artistic Career
Business Negotiations - Communication, Correspondence, and Collaboration

Visit for information about this class with Donato and with five other professional artists.