Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits

Gabrielle Brickey, Portrait Artist -

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17 Videos (1h 12m)
    • Introduction and Materials

    • Pencil Techniques

    • Choosing a Reference

    • Proportions and Measuring Tricks

    • Sketching

    • Planes, Light & Shade, and Edges

    • Start Shading

    • Learning the Eye

    • Sketching the Eye

    • Shading the Eye

    • The Nose- Anatomy and Planes

    • Sketching and Shading the Nose

    • The Mouth

    • Drawing the Mouth

    • The Ear

    • Drawing the Hair

    • Tips for Success


About This Class

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

386 of 389 students recommendSee All

Nice. Love the ending music as well.
You are an amazing teacher. I was sitting in front of my PC enjoying your wonderful work. Thank you!!!
Awesome class





Gabrielle Brickey

Portrait Artist -

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

Her love for exploring different materials has made her proficient in creating artworks using a variety of mediums, including charcoal, graphite, pastel, oil paints, markers, and digital media. Her distinctive style has garnered her numerous commissioned works as well.

Gabrielle has an Associates Degree in Visual Arts. In college and in her training with art professionals, she has taken a variety of art courses, including two and three dimensional design, color theory, portraiture, figure drawing, and painting.

Devoted to her craft, Gabrielle is always pushing her skills and learning new techniques by creating art every day. She is also currently a member of a life drawing group, where she practices painting with a live model and fellow artists. 

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.


Check out Gabrielle's full catalog of art classes offered on Skillshare and Follow to stay up to date with her future classes.

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