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Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits

By ·Portrait Artist

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Class Project

Draw a pencil portrait

Drawing is an art that is accessible to anyone. Originally a self-taught artist, I learned so much through practice alone. However, through studying tutorials posted by peers online, taking classes with professional portrait artists, and by studying the works of old masters, I’ve been able to reach a new level of knowledge that I would love to pass on to anyone willing to learn.

I’m teaching this class to share my process with you so you can learn the drawing secret it has taken me years to discover: the most beautiful drawings are often the most simple drawings. 

What You'll Learn

In this class I'll teach you how to get started drawing your own beautiful life-like pencil portraits. We'll cover: 

  • Materials. Which materials and references will make for the best portraits. 
  • Basic Sketching. How to compose your basic sketch through gesture and accurate proportions.
  • Planes. How to understand light and shade on the planes of the face.
  • Features and Forms. How to structure the forms of your subject's eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. 
  • Finishing Touches. How to capture those finishing details that will really make your portrait special. 

What You'll Do

Use this class to get started on your own pencil portrait. Collaborate with classmates from all over the world and share your project for feedback. 

Class Supplies

You can get started with any pencil, paper and erasers but below are some more specific recommendations from me. 

  • Paper. Heavy weight bristol paper. I'd recommend: 100lb Canson vellum bristol, 9”x12” or 11”x14”
  • Pencils. Mechanical pencils, I'd recommend: 0.3mm Draft Line and 0.5mm graphite 925 Staedtler 
  • Lead. I'd recommend: Pentel lead refills 0.3mm 3H lead and 0.5mm 4B lead
  • Blenders. Tissues, q-tips, and blending stumps
  • Erasers. Regular erasers, I'd recommend: Pink Pearl eraser, kneaded eraser, and Faber-Castell eraser pencil

Level: Beginner

Gabrielle DeCesaris

Portrait Artist

Gabrielle is an exciting young artist who is gaining attention in the art world.

While proficient in creating her own images using charcoal, graphite and pastel, she also explores other mediums including oil paint, markers, and digital art. Her distinctive style has garnered her many commissioned works as well.

Gabrielle has an Associates Degree in Visual Arts. In college she took courses in two and three dimensional design, color, portraiture, and art history.

Devoted to her craft, Gabrielle is continuing her studies by taking portrait and figure drawing and painting classes to improve and build upon her skills.

Driven by the amazing qualities of the human form and face, Gabrielle hopes to record the beauty of life in her art for others to enjoy.

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    • At a Glance

    • Membership Class

      Free With Membership

      Become a member to get access to this class for only $9.95 a month. Or, purchase individually for the list price.

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    • 17 Video Lessons
    • 702 Students
    • 97% Positive Reviews (32)
    • Self-Paced Online Class
    • How does an online class work?

      Classes revolve around completing a project and collaborating with fellow students to give and get feedback on your work. Use Video Lessons and the Project Guide designed by your teacher to complete your class project.

    • Do teachers give project feedback?

      Teachers design and present all class content, but Skillshare is community based around student-to-student interaction. You'll be surprised at what you learn from your classmates!

    • When does a class end?

      Never! Once enrolled, you have lifetime access to class materials. That means you can learn when and where you want. Learn at your own pace.

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    Start your Membership
    or Purchase for $19

    Free With Membership

    Become a member to get access to this class for only $9.95 a month. Or, purchase individually for the list price.

    Learn More