City Lit year of the figure and portrait

Course Dates: 07/10/19 - 29/06/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
David Caldwell
Desmond Haughton
Chris Hough
Brian Sayers
Kim Scouller

The human form is an endlessly fascinating subject. Enjoy an intensive, three-term practical course exploring various aspects of drawing and painting the Figure and Portrait. You'll develop confidence in practical skills, informed and inspired by stimulating historical and contemporary artist contexts for this genre.

This course requires an application prior to enrolment. Please click 'start assessement' to begin your application.


What is the course about?

For the committed student: enjoy a comprehensive and intensive three term course exploring various aspects of working with the portrait and figure. This course covers a combination of technical to experimental approaches. We start by learning and practising figurative drawing techniques such as how to see proportion and to create structure and volume in the head and body from observation of the live model. This foundation develops into painting approaches: how to prepare a ground, colour mixing and brush techniques to depict the flesh and form of the figure and face. Later in the course we will explore various expressive and experimental approaches using a range of interesting starting points. Through the course there will be the option to work from observation of the model and/or to make use of given projects as a starting point for personal work such as working from personal narratives and photographs. We will take inspiration from artists work to build up our knowledge of historical and contemporary contexts for the human form.

What will we cover?

A comprehensive course covering the basic technical approaches to drawing and painting the human figure and head working though to various experimental approaches and starting points. Working from the live model and photographs/found images we will cover a wide range of aspects of the figure and portrait. We will begin by learning methods for drawing heads and bodies including how to render volume and structure in facial features and basic anatomy of the head and body. We will practise different approaches to rendering tone and composition then progress onto using colour in paint. We will learn about mixing colours for both naturalistic and expressive flesh tones. We will have a chance to experiment with different drawing and painting materials and approaches and be led through a variety of starting points such as making work from found images and/or our own personal photographs.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Develop your drawing from observation of the human figure as subject
- Learn painting techniques and colour mixing relevant to portraits and the body
- Experiment with composition and understand its impact on meaning
- Explore making experimental images of the figure from memory and imagination
- Recognise narrative and ideas relating to identity and personality in images of the figure.
- Develop an awareness of artist contexts; historic, modern and contemporary.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Suitable for all levels except complete beginners. As this is an intensive course, it will suit those who have some previous experience of Portraiture and Life Drawing/Painting, for example having completed one or two shorter courses or having built up some practice drawing or painting the human figure/face in your own time.
Please read the course outline carefully to ensure this is the right course for you.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The class will be primarily practical with one-to-one support by a team of tuotrs specialising in drawing and painting portraits and the figure. There will be projects, exercises, practical demonstrations, informal lectures, group discussions and optional gallery research.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please note this course is exempt from our refunds and transfers policy.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

VH953 City Lit Year of The Figure Advanced, City Lit Fine Art course, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Advanced Portraiture and Contemporary Painting Studio, Contemporary Portraits, Experimental Approaches to Portraiture, Life Drawing: Introduction to Experimental Approaches.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details

Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Check your level

Course Code: VH753

Mon, day, 07 Oct - 29 Jun '20

Duration: 31 sessions (over 39 weeks)

Full fee: £1,799.00
Senior fee: £1,439.00
Concession: £1,097.00

Before booking on this course, please register or log in to your account to complete a short online assessment. We need you to do this to check that this course is the right level for you.
Why do I need an advice session?

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.