Portrait Sketching Workshop, October 8th, 2016

Art Atelier SF
1890 Bryant Street, Studio 306, San Francisco, CA 94110
All levels and experience welcome

Click here to register

2005, Caran d’Ache Crayon on paper, 13″ x 16″

Learn to draw portraits from life. In this in-person studio hands-on workshop I shall share a structured approach to drawing a portrait based on over thirty years of portrait sketching in many media, from traditional paper to the iPad! This workshop will focus on use of traditional drawing media such as a variety of pencils, charcoal, crayons and pastels. The focus will be on an observation-based, non-formulaic approach that is independent of the particular media you choose to use. I will give live portrait demonstrations for each specific technique, medium and exercise, explaining my decision-making in real time as I draw. I’ll assist each student individually, gently guiding them and making suggestions as appropriate. The training will include learning non-judgmental objective self-critique to evaluate what is working and not working in a drawing and what the next step of action may be in the drawing process. Whilst we will have a model some of the time, we will also work with self portraits and portraits of each other. You will end up with a thorough grounding in portrait drawing.

Working from direct observation of life, we will start with contour drawing, proportions and composition. We will then work with shading and value, and hone in on depicting eyes. Finally we add the element of color both as a tool for adding accents; emphasizing and exaggerating value contrasts; and for expressing qualities like mood, personality and emotion.

Topics covered will include:

  • Tools and materials

  • Posing and lighting

  • Composition

  • Proportions

  • Positive and negative space

  • Character

Drawing in sketchbook of David Rubinger

Portrait of Marianne


The location of this class, Art Atelier SF (studio 306), is in the 1890 Bryant Street Studios, one of the premier art studio buildings in the city, with over 75 artists in the building. The building, part of the former Best Food mayonnaise factory, is located in the creative hub of the Mission District where high tech meets fine art.

Class Hours

10am – 1pm

Tuition Fee

$150 Click here to register.

Please note that, as per the PaintboxTV Terms and Conditions, “All purchases, including all registrations for workshops and classes, are FINAL and are NON-REFUNDABLE. If a user changes their mind, or is for any reason unable to attend a class or workshop they registered for, and can give more the seven days notice before a class starts, then the value of the registration payment can be applied to a later class or workshop or any other product or service offered on PaintboxTV.”

Small Class Size

There will be a maximum of six students, so everyone will get individual attention and benefit from this action-packed workshop of digital art education. They will have fun and be inspired and stretched creatively. The small class size allows students to learn at their own pace.

Materials List

Materials are included in the class fee.

Do I need any training or experience in drawing?

No prior art experience is needed to take this workshop. Everything will be explained clearly from the ground up without assumptions about prior knowledge.

Accommodation Suggestions for Out of Town Visitors

Hotels in San Francisco have become very expensive in the last couple of years but here are a few downtown hotels to contact – sometimes they have reasonable deals – always ask for their best rates. Check to see how much they are on Expedia and then, before booking through Expedia, call the hotel directly and see if they’ll match the rate (you always have more flexibility if you book directly through the hotel rather than a third party like Expedia).

Hotel Rex (great 1920s style lounge)

The Marker Hotel (formerly Monaco Hotel)

Hotel Beresford (above English style pub)

Villa Florence

Sir Francis Drake

Sheraton Palace

Hotel Griffon

If you are not familiar with San Francisco please feel free to run any hotel suggestions by me before booking.

You can also see what is available on airbnb. Please feel free to ask my opinion before you commit to a booking – as with hotels I can advise you whether it is in a neighborhood I’d recommend or not. Please note that airbnb cancellation and change terms are frequently more restrictive than booking a regular hotel room, and their prices sometimes not that much different – see what is available in hotels first.