The Art of Portrait: How to draw and paint the countenance
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The Art of Portrait: How to draw and paint the countenance

Learn what you need to make a portrait. Theoretical and practical lessons. Extra material. Drawing and painting.
3.9 (9 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
37 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Drawing the main features of the human face
  • Painting a portrait with different techniques
  • Making initial sketches
  • Get to know and applying the head's morphology within a portrait
  • Representing the countenance's proportions
View Curriculum
  • We will use pencils sketch, walnut stain, tempera, oil-painting and other acrylic techniques

-More than 2000 students have taken my courses on Art and Creativity!

-100% Money Back Guarantee within 30 days in case you are not satisfied with this course.

-This course is a complete audiovisual guide which with you will be able to make portraits thanks to these practical and theorical lessons. We will go into morphology, proportions, tipologies and portrait's purpose. It also includes a bibliography, images to download and video tutorials commented by the professor in real time with activities. This course can be made in a week but you actually you can practice the activities for months until you perfect them. The organization of the course is as follows:

1)Basic notions

2) Head's proportion and morphology

3) Other elements in a portrait

4) Practical examples explained step by step

5) Summary, conclusion. 

Sign up this course if you are interested and you want to have the necessary tools to draw and painting the human face. 

- You will be able to access this content for life. 

- Free updates

- You will be updated all the time through this online platform.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for every student of Plastic Arts, Fine Arts and anyone interested in the world of Portrait
  • It is as well directed towards Fine Arts' teachers who are looking for more tools to teach their classes
  • At the same time it is directed towards Fine Artists who want to start in the world of Portrait
Compare to Other Arts & Crafts Courses
Curriculum For This Course
33 Lectures
Basic notions
6 Lectures 46:37

A portrait is a person’s formal representation. Although I wouldn’t think only about this simple definition because a good portrait should go beyond this representation already stated. When we trace lines, these lines create the face of the model. We not always find similarities between our work and the motif, in this case the person chosen to be represented. A portrait is an art which goes beyond photography, drawing, realistic or hiperrealistic painting; it goes beyond the formal exhaustive representation. Have you ever seen photografies of Friends or relatives and you haven’t recognize it? It is not enough to achieve likeness in the face, it is important to go deeper in gesture, in the usual position acquired by that particular person. Personality has to be taken into account as well. Although it might seem a difficult concept to define it is something that has to be introduced in the image we are about to form. To achieve this we must know in deep our model.

The perception of an individual is fundamental to achieve a good portrait. The mood of this one can be an essential quality to achieve an optimal result in our work. It would not be very proper to show sad a person who is always, most of the time, happy and smiling. The gesture, the expression of the face is something that we must choose with precisión if what we are looking for is the resemblance.

But, it is necessary to have a special gift to draw or paint a portrait? . It is known the difficulty within this task but this affirmation is completely wrong. Doing a portrait is not more difficult than any other formal representation, and one of the keys to achieve it is to pay attention to previous studies. It is important to analyze the personality of the portrayed and finally, not to think, while we are doing the representation that we are painting or drawing a human face. We have to think abstractly to see shapes within space and consider every detail: lights, shadows, different tones, lines and levels. We have to observe if there is a half-open eye, a sad expression, a mouth with thick lips or blushed cheeks.

If we achieve forgetting formal prejudices from our head and the fear of doing an image not similar to the model, after this, we would have a great advantage.

Proportions is one of the basic rules of a portrait which will help us to not make typical mistakes of beginners. It is pretty usual to see how some beginners enlarge the size of eyes, nose and mouth in their works. This is easily explainable for these elements are the ones we understand as the main one in the human face. For instance, in children’s drawings we can observe how they usually do two circles for eyes and one or two lines for the mouth. Children draw what they perceive, as same as adults. And our perception will depend on our knowledge in what we have observed. The human face’s anatomy and the different light positions will be also topics that we will discuss due to their vital importance in a portrait.

The features and facial expression will be easier with the study of these topics. All these concepts have to lead us to our purpose and this should be to achieve a physical, personal and spiritual resemblance of the model. There is also something more volatile and something that we will achieve just if we really know our model and we have an objective attitude towards him or her. We decide if we want to say something more rather that drawing a human face and that is to show his or her soul

Preview 05:27

In this historical journey we will see in a summarized way the main concepts of portrait in different ages. The human being has always had the need of recognizing himself or asking questions about himself and portrait can be an answer. Through it, we will understand its important role in the past and in the present. Also, we will study how it has been an influence in our history.

Preview 09:31

Self-portrait is one of the most interesting tasks in this discipline. It gives plastic freedom to the artist for he is the one drawing. We find along history multiple examples of how image can not only show the physical appearance but also we get to see the soul through a self-portrait.


The portrait is useful to remember a person and to enhace her or him. It can be for personal, political, religious or social reasons. It exists many types of portraits and through history they have been used for different purposes by different systems of dominant powers. There are portraits of kings, presidents, rectors, bishops and more personalities who have needed a special promotion and an important social proyection and these portraits have worked as adverts and they have also been copied and reproduced to decor buildings of great importance in cities.

It is not strange to see portraits of kings at schools and public offices. We can see as well portraits of politicians in headquarters of the Government and rectors at Universities. The portrait is sometimes used as the same way as it was used the so-called hierarchical perspective.This make us make sure who are the most "powerful" in the place you find yourself at. This happens in high-levels but also in everyday life. We can go to a particular house and we can see how in the main walls there are portraits which can be paintings or photografies where we see the parents of the family or residents.

At the same it exists the desire of remembering someone who has passed away to enhace the values of this person. In this case, the portrait becomes an object full of content which transforms ideas through a face.

Let's remember figures as Che Guevera, Lennin or Napoleon. We are not only observing the image of this person, or better said, how the artist painted him or capture him while representing, in addition, we read in all of them an ideology which is presented in the image itself.

Uses of a portrait

This is a practical class where you can see step by step and in real time how to paint a portrait on a grey board using oil-painting. The class is commented by the professor with the purpose of understanding every thought of his while facing this work. He starts fixing the face in the format and finishes with details. Let's discover the secrets of doing the image of a human being.

Painting a portrait

As it exists different ways of facing a portrait, we can speak also about typologies. Depending of the genealogy of our model we have different types of portrait: Physiognomy, reconstructive, typology and intentional.

Types of portrait

Exam 1: First questions
5 questions
Morphology and head's proportion
17 Lectures 01:59:35

The human face is characterized by the symmetry between its right and left side. It is a type of vertical symmetry and this is defined by proportions easily recognized. In this practical class we'll see how easy it is to trace a basic scheme to initiate the representation of a front and side head.

Drawing the face. Front and profile

In this class ou will find what you need to draw a human head based on its basic proportions. You will also understand how easy is to do it thanks to the showed tricks.

Morphology I (Head's morphology: volume)

To complete the previous class you have here some information of interest that will help you to complete your knowledge: sights of the human head from up angle, and also from the profile as well as the position of the kneck, drawing the glasses, lips, etc.

Head's morphology II

Through two simple schequemes of the fhe front head and its profile we will be learning how to put in place every element which creates a portrait. This is a very easy and practical method to do a drawing of the human face thanks to simplifications of forms and proportions.

The head's proportion

The final form of our portrait will depend of the skull which supports it. In this class we will draw a cranium from a front position and another one from a profile position taking into account its basic scheme.

The cranium

Here we won't just learn the names of the main muscles of the face but also we will draw them inserted in a model of a head from a front and profile position. We will see how important are the rhythm of the musculars fibers and we will represent them.

The head's muscles

Without any doubt, the eye is one of the most expressive elements of the human face. We will go deep into its structure and we will drawing from different points of view and using different techniques.
The eye

In this class we will copy an academic drawing realized by Picasso and in this drawing we will see clearly the levels of an eye. In this pedagogical system based on a copy which has been always used, will help us to acquire valuable knowledge without forgetting that it is an exercise. It will be a medium not a result.

The eye II

The nose gives personality to the portrait and in this class we will achieve understanding and representing this cartilage from different points of view.

The nose

In this class you will be able to see how to draw a mouth. You will find a lot of examples and different ways of understanding and drawing the lips from a structural level as well as from a spatial one.

The mouth

The mouth is very expressive element in the portrait and the different gestures we can produce will be essential to give personality, attitude and mood to the portrait.

The mouth II

The ear is the great forgotten in the portrait but it is very important to know how to depicted. In this class you will learn how this cartilige is formed and the technique to draw it easily.
The ear

The neck is a visible part in the majority of portraits. It is very important to learn which muscles form the neck and in this class I will show you this through two schemes; front and profile.

The neck

If we draw the same face with abundant hair and with very short hair this will affect and define the model's personality. Learning how to draw the hair is essential and I teach you how to do it in this class.


We have already learnt how to draw the eyes and the mouth, elements which have the most movility in the human face and which define distinct expressions of the depicted person. However, here I show you how to control emotions in drawing through the face in the portrait. In addition, we will see the basic features of drawing an old person's face and how to start a caricature.

Facial expression

Hands are really expressive and although they are not always included in portraits, I show you here how to do a basic scheme to learn how to draw them and understanding its structure.


In this example, you will see in real time how I apply what I have previously explained in order to do a portrait using blue tones on a three-quarters paper.

Blue portrait
Other elements of the portrait
6 Lectures 30:31

In order to do a different portrait and capture the model's soul, it is essential to get to know this person profoundly. To achieve this we suggest to do previous sketches.

Previous sketches

Which is the most used shot in a portrait? Thanks to photography the artist has accepted different types of shots which are far from the popular ones. In this class we will see all the frames through pictorial works.
Types of shots

A portrait, which can be in a front, profile, three-quarters positions or other ones can define as well the aspect we want to give our work. In this class we show you the most significant examples.

Framing. Practical examples

How we place our flashlight is fundamental to achieve volume in our portrait, but also it is a tool with which we can speak about the model's personality. In this class we will work with this concept.


Hand's positions

A portrait is also the supporting part sorrounding the . In this class you will see multiple examples of recognized artists commented by the professor. I will also discuss about the best method to understanding the background of our work, its colors and the shapes which form our portrait.

Interior and exterior landscapes

Extra questions
5 questions
Practical examples explained step by step
3 Lectures 29:29

With this practical demonstration we can see step by step and in real time how to do a portrait using Fauvism style. We should be carried along by intuition and we will build with vivid colors a human face. Artists such as Henri Matisse or André Derain will be our guides.

Practice: portrait with Fauvism style

In this example we will put in practice our knowledge, learnt in previous classes, with quick activities to give expression to our work.

Portrait done with graphite pencil

You can use this technique to provide your portrait a distinct and schematic air. Both,the walnut stain and tempera are water techniques and they work really well together.
Portrait with tempera and walnut stain. Spots and lines.
1 Lecture 01:55

Thanks for receiving this course and I hope you have accomplished your expectations. In addition, I would love to see your valuation and your suggestions to improve it. Cheers.

About the Instructor
Antonio García Villarán
4.5 Average rating
635 Reviews
2,931 Students
10 Courses
Profesor Doctor por la Universidad de Bellas Artes, Sevilla

Doctor en Bellas Artes y licenciado en las especialidades de pintura y escultura. Además de realizar numerosas exposiciones tanto en el ámbito nacional como internacional, ha sido seleccionado y premiado en innumerables concursos de dibujo, pintura y escultura. Publica artículos de pensamiento artístico, así como ilustraciones, en numerosas revistas de Arte y en diferentes editoriales, y está al frente de la editorial Cangrejo Pistolero Ediciones. Ha impartido clases de Dibujo, Pintura y Escultura en instituciones como el Centro Penitenciario Sevilla II, Escuelas de verano, Proyecto Ribete, Escuelas taller, Facultad de Bellas Artes de Sevilla y es el ideólogo y director de CREA 13, Conocimiento Compartido, cuya actividad comenzó en el año 2000. Fue durante 6 años colaborador Honorario junto al profesor D. Manuel Álvarez Fijo, y ha impartido numerosas conferencias y cursos de extensión Universitaria en la Facultad de Bellas Artes de Sevilla. Su Tesis fue calificada como Sobresaliente Cum Laude por unanimidad, y versa sobre la enseñanza del arte (Reflexión del pensamiento pedagógico de las Artes Plásticas. Proyecto hacia una docencia renovada). Actualmente compagina su labor como creador artístico-plástico con su labor docente e investigadora.


Doctor of Fine Arts and graduated in the specialities of painting and sculpture. Besides of doing numerous exhibitios in the national and international level, he has been selected and awarded in countless drawing, painting and sculpture contests. He publishes his articles about artistic thought in multiple Art magazines and in different publishing companies, in addition, he is in charge of Cangrejo Pistolero Ediciones ( a publishing house). He has been teacher of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture in different institutions such as the penitentiary of Seville, summer schools, Ribete Bormujos Project, Art workshops, the University of Fine Arts and in addition he is the ideologist and director of CREA 13 (“Shared Knowledge", this a CREA 13) this is his own an art academy and it started in 2000. He was accepted as an honorary teacher at the University of Fine Arts for six years (he collaborated next to D. Manuel Álvarez Fijo. Apart from teaching at the university he has given multiple conferences and workshops at the University. His thesis was graded with an outstanding mark. At present, he combines his job as an artist creator with his job as a teacher and researcher.

Beatriz Ruiz Cívico
4.4 Average rating
47 Reviews
822 Students
3 Courses
Freelance Translator

I have a degree in English literature and linguistics. In addition, I have made several English courses in Spain and England. My last course was in the University of Sheffield, where I studied translation and Shakespearean literature. At present, I teach English and do translations partially. I have translated cinema reviews as well as art ones. I am in Udemy because I translate videos about art made by a Spanish artist and professor.