Best seller

Surrealist Illustration Inspired by Nature

A course by Marco Mazzoni
Artist and Illustrator. Voghera, Italy.
Joined October 2019
, Artist and Illustrator

Use colored pencils to illustrate animals and natural elements with mood and symbolism

  • Best seller
  • 100% positive reviews (434)
  • 8659 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Use colored pencils to illustrate animals and natural elements with mood and symbolism

  • 100% positive reviews (434)
  • 8659 students
  • 15 lessons (2h 36m)
  • 21 additional resources (8 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

The animal kingdom has always been a potent source of inspiration for artists, with surprisingly accurate metaphors of human emotions found in each animal’s characteristics. Artist and illustrator Marco Mazzoni is fascinated by flora and fauna. His work is filled with depictions of human emotions inspired by nature, and in this course, he invites you to try his own methods to create surreal illustrations of animals.

Forget the structure of academic drawing and the use of visual references. Instead, discover fun techniques to refine the message behind your animal illustrations. This is Marco Mazzoni’s second course. In his first course, he teaches how to use Chiaroscuro with pencils to achieve striking color use and contrasts in your pencil portraits.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Preparation (Materials and Concepts)
  • U3
    U3. Stretching
  • U4
    U4. Coloring with Little Windows
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Meet Marco, learn about how nature has been a major influence in his art, and understand the importance of using life’s experiences in your work. Discover Marco’s artistic journey and take a look at the artists he admires.

Once you’ve seen what is taught in the course, Marco gives you advice and guidance on the best materials for your artwork. Learn how to use different kinds of colored pencils with a practical exercise in shading and coloring techniques.

Work on the concept of your drawing by researching and analyzing what different animals symbolize to you. Start sketching some ideas once you’ve chosen an animal, experimenting with different positions until you find one that evokes your message.

Stretch your creative muscles with Marco’s original exercises for loosening up and having fun with new ideas. Develop a color palette in the final exercise to explore some unusual color combinations, observing how your perception of color changes.

Begin drawing your animal by starting with the linework before moving on to coloring using Marco’s window technique. Finally, see some tricks for giving personality to your subject by learning how to add finishing touches to brighten your illustration.

What is this course's project?

Create a surrealist illustration of an animal with natural elements using Marco Mazzoni’s original techniques.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

For drawing enthusiasts of all levels who want to explore the symbology of animals and create original illustrations filled with metaphors.

Requirements and materials

To take this course, you will need colored pencils (non-water soluble), paper, and a love for nature.


8659 Students
434 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Marco Mazzoni

A course by Marco Mazzoni

Teacher Plus
Artist and Illustrator

Marco Mazzoni’s passion for drawing began at the age of 5, when he would sketch on any piece of paper he could find while waiting for his father to finish work at the paper mill.

Experimenting with the boundaries of fine art has been a passion of Marco’s since he was a student. His artwork tells a compelling story, drawing inspiration from Sardinian mysticism and the plants and animals he sketched as a child.

Marco’s recent achievements include working on an illustrated version of the Hans Christian Andersen classic Poucette for the French publishing house Albin Michel Jeunesse, where he takes the reader on a captivating journey through his use of color and texture. His work is also exhibited in galleries and museums across Europe and North America.


  • U1


    • Introduction
    • Influences
    • What Will We Do in This Course?
  • U2

    Preparation (Materials and Concepts)

    • Materials
    • Shading and Color Techniques
    • The Symbolic Meaning of Animals
    • Sketching
  • U3


    • What Is Drawing Through the Window?
    • Draw Without Looking
    • Shape Shifter
    • Create the Palette
  • U4

    Coloring with Little Windows

    • Let’s Do the Lines
    • Starting to Color Our Animal
    • Color the Rest of Our Animal
    • Finishing Touches
  • FP

    Final project

    • Surrealist Illustration Inspired by Nature

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Surrealist Illustration Inspired by Nature. Illustration course by Marco Mazzoni Best seller

Surrealist Illustration Inspired by Nature

A course by Marco Mazzoni
Artist and Illustrator. Voghera, Italy.
Joined October 2019
  • 100% positive reviews (434)
  • 8659 students