This is probably the first Art Department video that I downloaded that I can comfortably say is not a "must buy". I was already wary about it from the start but I had a couple of extra dollars lying around from a commission I made so I figured why the hell not? My trepidation was based on the fact that the video didn't seem to promise very much more than watching a guy paint heads. While there are many artists out there who would be able to glean hoards of information from that, I am unfortunately more the type that needs to see AND have what he's seeing be explained to him to make that information click in his brain. Jason Manley bravely tries to do just that in the first 30 minutes of this video, talking about what Zhang Lu is doing onscreen as well as art history and some basic head creation tips. But even he seems to realize that it's a lost cause and halfway through the video his commentary ends and we're left with Zhang Lu painting to music.
I'm not casting any doubt on Zhang Lu's skill whatsoever, and indeed I'll probably take the time to go back and watch him make paint heads sometime in the future. However as a sheer value for money proposition you can watch people paint in silence on Youtube. Or if you want something that can be downloaded that can be watched at your leisure, Carlos Cabrera's got your back. I actually haven't watched any of his videos so I can't vouch for them, but at least they're free. I was already disappointed after paying $7.99 for this video, and I can't help but feel I'd be even more disappointed if I'd paid the full $20.
I would highly recommend that you buy some of the other videos that I've reviewed, like Jason Manley on Composition, Jason Chan's set of videos, and Donato Giancola painting "The Mechanic". You should also download them soon because recently I noticed that some of the videos were going back to regular prices. I think that the Art Department willbe going through a website overhaul very soon so I'm not sure how long they'll be up there. Most of the videos I mentioned above are still on sale but I'm not sure how much longer that's gonna last.