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Portrait Drawing Fundamentals - How to Draw Realistic Heads & Faces

via Skillshare


This portrait drawing course will teach you how to draw beautiful, realistic portraits that capture the subject's likeness.

What makes this course unique from all the others out there, is how it breaks down the complex topic of portrait drawing into manageable concepts and step-by-step exercises.  

You'll begin by learning simple concepts and practicing basic drawing exercises. As you're hand dexterity and understanding improve, the lessons will gradually increase in difficulty until, by the end of the course, you will have drawn your very own realistic portrait.

Even if you are a beginner with no drawing experience, you'll find the lessons and exercises easy to understand and enjoyable, while still learning critical drawing skills.  

Key things you will learn:

  • How to simplify the head into basic shapes so you can draw it more easily
  • How to draw the head from different angles to create more dynamic portraits
  • How to draw the planes of the head in order to create a three-dimensional effect
  • Understanding the rules of lighting in order to make your drawing look realistic 
  • Understanding the basic anatomy of each of the facial features so you can draw them better
  • A simple step-by-step process for drawing a realistic portrait from start to finish
  • And a whole lot more!

At this end of this course, students will have a better understanding of how to draw the head from various angles, how to shade realistic features, and how to draw a complete realistic portrait.

Course Material List

I buy a ton of art supply online and these links are the best prices I was able to find for these items & where I buy them myself.

Full disclosure, these are referral links so if you buy something through them, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!)

  • Proportional Divider
  • Pencil Set
  • Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil, 2mm

  • Staedtler Mars Rotary Action Lead Pointer for 2mm Leads (To sharpen the pencil, just insert the pencil tip into the sharpener and turn the pencil clockwise)

  • Staedtler Mars Carbon Lead, 2mm, B

  • Kneaded Eraser

  • Regular Printing paper (or whatever scrap paper you have at home)
  • Large Format Printing Paper
  • Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Paper (Vellum)

  • Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Paper (Smooth)

  • Tortillions or Blending Stumps

  • Workable Spray Fixative (to seal your finished drawing and prevent smudges)

Special Thanks

Everything I know I’ve learned from someone else. And this course is a combination of my own personal experience, the things I’ve learned from all my teachers, and the many, many hours of research I’ve done in preparation for making it.

I’ve tried to combine all the best elements from many different sources and put my own take on it wherever I can.

So, before we begin, I’d like to give a special "Thank you!" to all the amazing artists whose works and teachings help made this course possible.

The list (in no particular order) includes, but is not limited to:

Andrew Loomis
Jeff Watts
Stan Prokopenko
Lee Hammond
John Asaro
Mark Crilley
And many more…

Also, be sure to check out the my courses so you don't miss out on any important skills:

  • Drawing Fundamentals Part 1 - Basics Skills & Drawing Accurately
  • Drawing Fundamentals Part 2 - Perspective Basics & 3D Sketching
  • Drawing Fundamentals Part 3 - Realistic Shading Techniques


  • Class Trailer
  • The Grid Method
  • Loomis Method - Front View
  • Loomis Method - 3/4 View
  • Loomis Method - Side View
  • Loomis Method - Front View, Tilted Down
  • Loomis Method - Front View, Tilted Up
  • Loomis Method - 3/4 View, Tilted Down
  • Loomis Method - 3/4 View, Tilted Up
  • Proportions of the Head
  • Head Planes - Front View
  • Head Planes - 3/4 View
  • Head Planes - Side View
  • Head Planes - Front View, Tilted Down
  • Head Planes - Front View, Tilted Up
  • Head Planes - 3/4 View, Tilted Down
  • Head Planes - 3/4 View, Tilted Up
  • 5 Elements of Shading
  • Different Types of Edges
  • Rules of Realism
  • Sphere Drawing Exercise
  • Eye Structure & Form
  • Eye Drawing Exercise (Part 1)
  • Eye Drawing Exercise (Part 2)
  • Nose Structure & Form
  • Nose Drawing Exercise
  • Lips Structure & Form
  • Lips Drawing Exercise
  • Ear Structure & Form
  • Ear Drawing Exercise
  • Hair Form & Texture
  • Hair Drawing Exercise (Part 1)
  • Hair Drawing Exercise (Part 2)
  • Final Portrait Drawing (Lay-In)
  • Final Portrait Drawing (Rendering)

Taught by

Ethan Nguyen

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