Photo of Jennifer Gennari

Traditional Portrait Drawing Techniques

with Jennifer Gennari
Traditional Portrait Drawing Techniques
Draw an expressive charcoal portrait using the time-honored techniques of Rembrandt and da Vinci!

Discover the methods of classical realism and harness value and proportion for a striking portrait in the style of the Old Masters. Guided by professional artist Jennifer Gennari, you’ll unlock strategies to accurately depict a human likeness, including how to use a plumb line and the sight-size and butterfly methods. Complete a Charles Bargue lithograph exercise, then progress to a charcoal portrait by blocking in basic shapes. Watch your portrait come to life as you develop and refine tricky areas like the lips, nose, eyes and ears and carve out highlights with a kneaded eraser––plus, enjoy an advanced lesson on white chalk and toned paper, further honing your ability to create dimensional portraits defined by value.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction to Sight Sizing

  • Meet your instructor, Jennifer Gennari, and learn the basics of the sight sizing drawing method that you’ll use throughout the class.


Lesson 2. Introduction to Charles Bargue


Lesson 3. Proportion and Accuracy


Lesson 4. The Transfer Drawing


Lesson 5. Value


Lesson 6. Edges & Atmosphere


Lesson 7. White Chalk & Toned Paper

“I love this class. I have recommended it to several other people that are trying to expand their drawing skills. Great job!”
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