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Portrait Drawing And Painting

Portrait Drawing And Painting

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Roger Gill


We will take a look at what makes a good portrait and how to go about drawing and painting one. As there is no "right way" to do this, you will experiment with several approaches and techniques. The course is suitable for both beginners and intermediate students. We will provide a variety of models during the course. If you have a particular person you wish to portray, you can also do this by bringing in your own drawings, sketches and photographs.

Topics covered

Using selections and mixes of various colours, we will explore a variety of techniques such as the application of paint, layering and textures, which together will form the basis for developing your portrait.

During the morning sessions we will make short paint studies and drawings focussing on colour choices, composition, structure, and attempts to capture the inner essence of the model.

The afternoon sessions will be devoted to working on a more substantial portrait, bringing in and developing ideas and discoveries from the drawing sessions and oil sketches.

Throughout the course we will look at a few contemporary portrait painters, their techniques and approaches, which students can use as a source of inspiration for their own practice.

By the end of the course you will have explored different approaches to portrait drawing and painting and practiced and developed a range of techniques in that subject.

Who should take this course?

Beginners and more experienced students wishing to improve their portrait drawing and painting skills.

Follow-up courses

On completion of this course you could consider a more advanced course such as Painting: The Next Step.

Level: Beginners/Intermediate

Entry requirements: None

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Roger Gill is an artist and tutor who works in London and who has exhibited in the UK and Europe. He teaches a number of drawing and painting courses at Central Saint Martins, including courses on life painting, oil painting techniques, portrait drawing and painting and bespoke one-to-one tuition.

To view Roger's work see


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • a canvas 24 inches x 36 inches    
  •  mineral spirit 
  • zest    
  • liquin    
  • refineed linseed oil    
  • a white palette    
  • two or three palette knifes    
  • a few light coloured pastels
  • oil painting brushes - round, flat and fan    
  • rags and tissues    
  • containers with lids

You will need to bring the following coloured oil paints:

  • burnt umber and raw umber
  • burnt sienna and raw sienna
  • yellow ochre, cadmium red, cadmium yellow
  • cobalt blue and french ultramarine blue
  • naples yellow and Indian yellow, (or a transparent yellow)
  • alizarin crimson, viridian green
  • zinc white and titanium white.

Do not bring any solvents into the studio. The College will provide them. Turpentine and white spirits are strictly banned.

Available dates