-- Drawing the Portrait: 8 week in-person class @ North Fourth Art Center (4904 Fourth Street NW Albuquerque, NM 87110) --
Feb 8th - March 29th
If you have questions about the course, or have already signed up, please send me an e-mail so I can add you to the mailing list and get you an invitation to the "discord" server. Discord is a platform where we can share photos of our work and links to external resources (like videos or writeups) when we're not in the classroom, but it is totally optional.
(click on this link to message me) -> firstname.lastname@example.org
*You may also pay in-person. Just write me a cheque for $195 or bring a wad of dough. No rubber bands or coins, though, please. Maybe silver dollars -- guess I'd accept those.
All links will take you to Amazon or BlickArt for convenience's sake. Alternatively, you can find most of these materials at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in ABQ.
White Paper (Could be a small sketchbook, loose leaf printer paper, or a pad of newsprint -- I will have some extra paper if you forget to bring some, or don't have any). You don't need high quality stuff for the early exercises. We'll be cranking out sketches pretty quickly in the beginning, so you can pick something up at the dollar store. Even notebook paper will do.
a. I prefer kneaded erasers because they don't leave shavings, and you can shape them for specific erasing needs. Also good for stress relief :)
b. Any eraser that doesn't leave streaks should be fine, but I highly recommend hi-polymer erasers from Pentel
c*. Tombow Mono erasers are *not* necessary because they're specialized for detailing. I won't be using one for the class, but I do use one for personal drawings.
Your choice of:
a. Graphite pencils (HB or softer e.g. HB, B, 2B, up to 10B) The standard yellow HB pencils that you used in school will suffice. | Popular brands: Staedler, Faber-Castell, Koh I Noor, etc.
b. Charcoal pencils (any hardness will do, but I personally prefer B) | Popular brands: Conte a Paris, General Pencil, Wolff's Carbon, etc.
c. Ballpoint pens (just about any old biro will do. The cheap ones you get at the bank are what I personally prefer) | Popular brands: Bic, Pilot, Pentel, etc.
d. Black Markers | Popular brands: Copic Marker, Prismacolor, Crayola, etc.
Drawing board/ hard surface to draw on. We will have tables for you to draw at, but if you prefer drawing on a more vertical surface, bring a drawing board or clipboard. If you have a big book or a reasonably sized slab of plywood, those will work too. *bandaids for papercuts and splinter extraction are not included with the course*
I will bring a pencil sharpener, but if you've got a portable one or your own method for sharpening pencils like a razorblade+sandpaper, bring those.
In the course we will be working from photos, starting with portraits from art history and photos of real people that I've curated to complement specific drawing exercises. We will move onto drawing clay sculptures of the "simplified skull" and the "simplified head" from life. In the second half of the course, classmates will partner up, and do quick sketches of each other. The final drawing of the course will be from a live model.
*I will print out some of the photos so that you don't have to look at your phone, tablet, or laptop screen while drawing. If you prefer to use an electronic display (like me), bring one.
Feb 8: Basic Head construction methods (linear focus)
15min. presentation on portrait drawings and paintings from Art History. I'll talk about Charles Bargue & Andrew Loomis's methods of basic head drawing, and we'll apply some of the ideas to master paintings/drawings. Emphasis of this exercise is to prioritize shape, silhoette, and proportions through the concept of linear construction. Students will sketch from photos of master paintings and drawings.
Feb 15: Thumbnailing (tonal focus)
I will demonstrate and explain the purpose of thumbnailing. I will also talk about the role of lighting and discuss basic lighting strategies for effective portraits. Exercise will be "thumbnailing" examples of master works in 2 values (white and black) in order to understand the power of light&dark in composition. Information about shape and proportions from the last class will make this exercise easier. *bonus points if you bring markers/pens because you can't undo your decisions.
Feb 22: Structure
Demonstration on general proportions for review and deep dive into primary forms of the head -- I'll talk about perspective and how it plays a role in organizing facial features and structures. There will be a heavy emphasis on "enveloping" and "center-line construction" We will draw a clay sculpture of the "basic head." Alternatively, I will have photos of the sculpture if you prefer working from those.
March 1: Gesture + Facial Features
Demonstration of Reilly method of finding rythm/gesture through the primary and secondary structures of the head. First, we will draw Reilly's diagram. We will then look at how master artists utilize gesture throughout the face and its features. We will do some tracing exercises (I'll bring the tracing paper) to isolate certain principles.
March 8: Continuation of Facial Features
Drawings of classmates from life -- each student will model for 10 minutes and the rest of the class will draw their facial features.
March 15: Neck and Skull Anatomy Basics
After getting familiar with drawing the "head", we must learn to connect it to the body. I'll cover basic cervical anatomy, a few major neck muscles, and some bony landmarks on the skull that I haven't already covered.
March 22: Drawing the Skull
We will draw a skull (student decides between either a simplified or complex skull) under one light source, from one spot in the classroom. This will be part of a setup for the final drawing from a model.
March 29: Final Portrait Project
2- hour portrait drawing of the live model in the same angle and lighting condition as the skull (possibly next to the skull drawing from last week on the same piece of paper)
There will be optional homework exercises for each lesson we cover. I will look at homework exercises and give you feedback through discord, before class, or after class since we have a lot to cover during every 2 hour session. Again, if you want an invitation to the discord server, just email me and I'll get you one.