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Complete Portrait and Figure Drawing (step-by-step)

This course teaches a step-by-step procedure to draw a figure or portrait in less than 40 minutes from life.
4.5 (7 ratings)
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100 students enrolled
Last updated 12/2014
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Draw the figure or portrait from life or photographs.
View Curriculum
  • No previous knowledge necessary. Materials are toned paper, carbon pencils (Wolff), and white chalk.

In this course I review the basics of figure and portrait drawing in terms of gesture, action lines, foreshortening, value, edges, and details of the features. With the modified version of the "Reilly" technique used here, the subscriber/student will learn to draw a full figure or portrait in under 45 minutes from life or photographs on toned paper with less than six values using carbon pencils and white pastel chalk. To aid in learning this technique, two complete drawings (figure and portrait) are demonstrated with running description of the drawing process throughout.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone interested in learning to draw starting with the action and gesture of the model.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 16 Lectures Collapse All 16 Lectures 01:34:14
2 Lectures 07:10

Brief description of the contents of this course.

Preview 02:10

Overview of the techniques that will be used to draw the figure and the portrait.

Preview 05:00
Drawing the Figure
6 Lectures 39:17

Initial elements of figure drawing including the gesture, large/small action lines, large shapes relative to each other, and negative space to position limbs.

Preview 05:54

Continuation of figure drawing adding smaller shapes and indicating position of values.

Figure Drawing: small shapes and value patterns.

Review of the concept of values (light and dark) and edges (hard and soft) with there effect on the line drawing.

Review of value and edges.

Continuation of figure drawing with foreshortening and the refinement of values and edges.

Figure Drawing: values, foreshortening, and edges.

Continuation of figure drawing with the further refinement of the values (between four and six) and the features.

Figure Drawing: refining values and features.

Continuation of figure drawing with the placement of the lights using pastel chalk and accents with Wolff 4B pencils.

Figure Drawing: finishing with lights and accents.
Drawing the Portrait
8 Lectures 47:47

Initial elements of drawing the portrait covering large shapes and lines indicating the placement of features.

Portrait Drawing: large shapes and demarcation lines

This lectures reviews the aspects of foreshortening in relationship to perspective using shapes, value and edges.

Review of foreshortening and perspective.

Review of drawing the features of the face (eyes, nose, mouth, and ears) with and without foreshortening.

Review of drawing features of the face.

Continuation of portrait drawing with the addition of the small features (eyes, nose, mouth, and ears).

Portrait Drawing: features (eyes, nose, mouth, ears).

Continuation of portrait drawing with the addition and refinement of the dark values and the edges (hard and soft).

Portrait Drawing: values and edges.

Continuation of portrait drawing with the addition and refinement of the lights using white pastels and the refinement of darks with Wolff 4B pencils.

Portrait Drawing: finishing with lights and accents.

Continuation of portrait drawing with further refinements of values and edges.

Portrait Drawing: further refinements.

This video summarizes the drawing techniques and discussions demonstrated in these lectures and adds some comments on proceeding further.

Conclusions and final thoughts.
About the Instructor
4.3 Average rating
1,239 Reviews
55,592 Students
4 Courses
Professional artist and teacher

Donelli J. DiMaria is a professional artist and teacher living in Santa Fe, NM. He has shown his paintings and drawings through out the US for the past twenty years in numerous galleries and juried/invited arts shows. Over the past four years, he has been in 14 group museum shows and has his work published in the "Artist's Magazine", "American Art Collector", and in "The Best of Portrait Painting" (North Light Books). He has been actively teaching the "Reilly" drawing and painting techniques for the past six years.

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