3 Week Portrait Course

18th April – 2nd May 2020 – Postponed due to Covid-19

Learn to create lively, engaging portraits working from a live model and photographic reference.

Engaging the viewer in a portrait is essential, stimulating their curiosity will keep their attention. Portraits done directly from life tend to do this more effectively because you naturally filter out unnecessary detail which weakens the overall impact.

Unfortunately, it is not always practical to work entirely from life so photographic reference can be very useful. However, it comes with risks. There is a temptation to include every tiny detail, focussing on everything and nothing at the same time.

This course is designed to help you deal with that problem, teaching you how to creatively interpret rather than copy photographic reference material.

Course Overview

Week 1: Gesture & Proportion

On week one you’ll start off  with exercises to help you draw heads from life using general to specific principles. Firstly getting the proportion, orientation and gesture of the head right then moving on to structure and placement of the features.

  • Working from life
  • Placement, orientation & gesture
  • Structure of the head & placement of the features
  • Light and shadow (Chiaroscuro)

You’ll use this approach to begin a long portrait study working initially from life. A reference photo will be taken from your spot and printed out for you to work from in week two.

Week 2: Composition & Main Elements

In the second week you’ll develop your portrait from the reference photo. You’ll learn how to use it to deal with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of your piece. This is where a photo can be very handy using it to check your proportions and drawing accuracy from the first week.

  • Working from photographic reference
  • Drawing accuracy
  • Tonal and colour composition
  • Overall sense of form
  • Secondary form and detail

You’ll also use the photo to create the tonal and colour composition followed by an overall sense of form and the smaller planes and shapes. This stage will add all the important information ready to be refined from life in week three.

Week 3: Focus & Finishing

Finally you’ll finish your portrait study from life. By observing the model yourself you’ll be able to create your own focus, looking in your own way to see what you want to emphasise and what to play down. You’ll look at lost and found edges, texture and small colour variations.

  • Working from life
  • Personal focus
  • Lost and found edges
  • Texture & detail

This approach enables you to get a sense of your personal vision rather than being reliant on the mechanical reproduction of the photograph.

Portrait Course Outcome

By the end of the course you will have a clearer understanding of the difference between the working from life and photographic reference. This will enable you to utilise both without compromising your personal vision. You’ll learn how to look at photographic reference less literally and more creatively to make engaging, personal, portraits.

As with all Northern Realist courses, the focus is on using traditional methods to push your personal vision.

The course only has seven places so there’s a lot of individual tuition and you can work at your own level a pace.

You can use charcoal or oil paint depending on your experience. Most people benefit from using charcoal on their first course. It’s the perfect medium to get to develop your drawing skills and grips with the essential tonal principles.

If you are ready for paint you can work in monochrome or colour using a palette of colours which suits your experience.

Essential Info & Booking

  • Price :£240 Reserve your place with a £40 Deposit on Eventbrite
  • Dates: 18th April – 2nd May 2020 – Postponed due to Covid-19
  • Remainder will be invoiced before the course begins
  • Course Length: 18 Hours over 3 Saturdays
  • Hours: Saturdays 09:45 – 16:30
  • Location: Northern Realist Studio, Manchester –  Map
  • Materials, Charcoal, Monochrome or Colour Oil Paint (Can be provided) – Use Contact form to request lists
  • More info: Use the Contact form or email info@northernrealist.com