Paint a portrait in oils

Course Dates: 08/03/20 - 29/03/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Brian Sayers

Learn to draw and paint portraits using traditional methods of observation, composition and mark making. Working from a variety of professional portrait models you will start with pencil and charcoal and progress on to oil painting.


What is the course about?

This is a mixed ability course for all who wish to understand traditional methods for creating a portrait in both drawing and painting. The class will start with drawing and progress to painting in oils. You will work primarily from observation of portrait models.

What will we cover?

- Proportion
- Rotation of the head
- Methods for improving observational portrait drawing
- Colour mixing in paint for portraits
- Taking inspiration from traditional portrait artists.

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

- Draw portraits more accurately
- Draw portraits from a variety of view points
- Understand composition and apply it to your portraits
- Draw a head that looks three-dimensional
- Prepare a surface for painting a portrait
- Mix colours successfully from observation
- Improve your rendition of tone in portrait painting.

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

Open to all students.

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

You will learn by practical demonstration, looking at the work of traditional portrait painters, one to one tuition, tutor demos and group discussion.

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

All basic materials are provided for the course. Students may wish to purchase a canvas or board for the portrait painting element. Your tutor will advise you about this during the class.

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?

The City Lit Year of Figure and Portrait course will start again in October 2018 or you may wish to join one of the following courses at the end of this term:
- VH892 Anatomical life and portrait drawing studio
- VH759 Experimental approaches to portraiture.

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.

Book your place

Course Code: VM013

Please choose a course date 

Sun, day, 08 Mar - 29 Mar '20

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Full fee: £299.00
Senior fee: £299.00
Concession: £182.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

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.