Drawing and Shading the Face

Drawing and Shading the Face: (Complete)  Create a 3D portraits in any medium

Online Class via zoom: 5 sessions – Wednesdays 10-1 pm – April 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26, 2021 (each class is 3 hours in length) Cost: $100   This class is open to all skills levels.
 – Do you feel your portraits lack some depth? Does the jaw, nose, the eye sockets, and lids look 3D or do they seem flat? Observing, drawing, and shading photos with a wide range of values will help give your portraits dimension. This could improve your portrait painting skills in all mediums.
Goal of Class: Upon completion of this class, you will have a better understanding of the subtleties of the face through in-depth observation, drawing, and shading.
This understanding will assist those who paint or draw formal portraits. You will practice drawing and shading faces and receive feedback from me (either in class or privately) to assist your learning.” I will relate how shading will directly help in the application of watercolor washes and other mediums. This is not a “portrait painting class.

  • Learn the fundamentals of hand drawing faces. Every artist struggles with the thought of drawing a human face. I will cover steps to simplify the process. With additional practice (MUCH practice) you will develop your skills over time!
  • The last phase will be to use accurately drawn/traced/projected “portrait level drawings” to focus on observing the subtleties of shadow, form and shapes on the face. This will help to create better depth and dimension in a portrait. (Especially with watercolor who paint in thin layers of washes)

Class Schedule & Cost
Classes are 3 hrs in duration from 10am-1:00pm CT for 5 weeks
Date: Wednesday April 28 and May 5, 12, 19, 26, 2021

  • Classes are online using free Zoom Meeting software. See links for more info below on using Zoom.
  • I will email reference photos to you before class for you to print. (If you are unable to print photos I will mail you the images)
  • Click here for MUCH more information and details on this class and supply list.
  • Cost is $100. You can pay with check or PayPal. Class size is limited. (min of 6)
  • To show interest or ask questions contact me here. Please tell me in the comment block how you would like to pay.

This class will be held online using free Zoom Meeting software. Click here for more info on my online classes.
New to using Zoom On-line for Classes
Online Zoom, General Instructions

More Information and Details. Below is the Supply List

Drawing and Shading the Face:  Create a 3D portraits in any medium
Online Class via zoom: 5 sessions – Wednesdays 10-1 pm – April 28 May 5, 12, 19, 26, 2021

Of Interest to Fellow Watercolor Painters
Learning to see subtleties in the face will be of great help when adding thin watercolor layers to form shapes and dimension. Without dimension your portrait will look flat. This is not portrait painting or drawing class but rather a detailed supplement to my Portrait Drawing and Portrait Painting Classes.
This class will be held online using free Zoom Meeting software. Click here for more info on my online Zoom classes.
New to using Zoom On-line for Classes
Online Zoom, General Instructions

General info unique to being taught online versus an in-person class:
For this online class I will ask to see your work. One option is simply holding a portable device (phone or tablet) over your work when asked. With a laptop you will need to hold it in front of your face so we can see.  I will discuss how you could use a tablet or laptop AND your phone during the class. (You would simply log into the class with both devices) If I can see your work, others in the class will also. If you are not comfortable sharing your work that is fine. Only show your work if you want to.
This class I will ask that you draw with your paper perpendicular to your eyes. Not flat on your table and you looking and drawing at an angle (you will get distorted faces). Depending on the size of your paper it could be propped up in your lap or on a tabletop easel. You can use a standup easel if you wish. We will talk about that the first week.

Phases of Class

This course is designed for those who want to paint or draw better portraits.

  1. Drawing the Face. To provide the fundamentals of drawing a human face freehand from photo references I will demonstrate how to use simple gestural marks, symbols, measurements, and parts of some classic formulas.
    Focus will be on getting the features where they belong and building the likeness using techniques to accurately place the features and crosscheck the placement before getting committed to their placement.
  2. Shading the Face. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the features, you will begin shading the sketch/drawing to give your drawing a 3D look.
  3. In-depth Observation. By reviewing photos together, we will observe and discuss how the form of the face reflects light and how the features are round or angular and the edges are hard, soft, or lost.
  4. Shading a traced image. We will again closely observe and discuss many online photos. We will focus on the smallest details of the facial features and how these subtle differences give the portrait dimension and individuality. In preparation for this part of the class you will be asked to draw, trace or use a projector, computer apps, or grid methods, etc., to create accurate line drawings of recognizable people. Then use the shading techniques to create a portrait quality drawing.

These shading skills in a monotone medium will translate directly to our painting of a portrait in any medium.
There will be weekly assignments to draw faces outside of class. Hopefully you will have time to work on your drawings at home.
I may ask to see them and may share them with the class for critique. Showing and discussing your work on Zoom will help train everyone’s eye and allows others to gain from the comments.
These are some of my many articles on my web page.
New to using Zoom On-line for Classes
Online Zoom, General Instructions
Tablets for On Line Learning and Painting
Recommended Watercolor Erasers – Review Good and Bad
Gesture Drawing vs. Contour Drawing
Repetition Makes Perfect
Keep Pencil Lines Interesting – NOT Boring
Drawing Tracing Aids


Supply List:   Drawing and Shading the Face: 

You really don’t need anything fancy. Printer paper, a board on which to clip it, and a yellow #2 HB pencil will work for the first class!  We will discuss materials and you will have time to get any items you need locally.
Paper; I recommend you use smooth (not rough) inexpensive paper. Size should NOT be smaller than 8.5×11. We will be drawing many ovals and faces the first night using several sheets of paper!! Faces we draw will be about the size of your fist.
Some newsprint (like Strathmore Newsprint) is rough. If you have that, that is fine. Copy/printer paper is fine. Smooth/flat recycled paper that has one side clear will work. There are many drawing tablets on the market. If you want to come to my house I will GIVE you some smooth news print. (Note, rough paper is just harder to get smooth shading.)  
Drawing tools; Use your favorite black blendable drawing tools. Examples are graphite, charcoal pencils or sticks, Conte pencils. (No oil or stick pastels or markers in class.) I will use a simple HB yellow pencil on normal printer paper for many drawings to show you simple blending. If you have 2B, 4B, 6B pencils now have them available. Same with 4B or 6B charcoal pencils or Conte, or any black drawing pencils.
Erasers: You will need a kneaded eraser. Some drawing kits have several pencils and a square piece of kneaded eraser! For the first class use what you have. I always use a MOO eraser. I love it. They are only sold locally at Hobby Lobby. They come in two packs for $3. (Don’t buy a pink pearl eraser; use yours if it is new).
Dividers or Compass:  We will compare and measure the spacing of the features. Eye size and spacing, eyebrow to nose, etc. You could also use thin bamboo skewers like chopsticks with a rubber band or you will measure with the edge of a small piece of paper.

If in doubt wait and I will cover it week one or email me your questions.

See you soon!