Woman sketching in the gallery

Drawing Explorations: Portraits

In this course we'll use direct observation to build your portraiture skills, as well as be inspired by portraits in the AGO Collection. Explore a range of drawing techniques, including different application methods and materials such as pencil, conte and charcoal, to develop an awareness of line, volume, form and colour and create your own portrait drawings. 

This course is suitable for those with some drawing experience. To get the most from this workshop, we suggest you take Introduction to Drawing first. Meet in the Dr. Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School.

Terms and Conditions of Participation 

Please review the Terms and Conditions prior to the start of class. 

Participants must be 18 or older. 


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Fridays, - | 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm (5 weeks)


Week 1: Mark making, a tactile self portrait

Week 2: Working with line and a variety of media to create a portrait

Week 3: Exploring the structure of the head and face

Week 4: Develop a layered portrait that combines line and form

Week 5: A sustained study including colour



Drawing tools:

  • Conte Sticks: 2 black, 2 white, 1 sanguine (can often find a set)

  • Charcoal Sticks large

  • 2 Compressed Charcoal Sticks: one medium, one soft (or a small set)

  • Graphite Pencils: a set or individual pencils including 2H, HB, 2B, 4B

  • Erasers: 1 white plastic eraser and 1 kneadable eraser

  • Pencil sharpener

  • A small set of coloured pencil crayons

  • Paper stomp and/or Kleenex, Q-Tip or your finger.

  • Glue stick 

  • Scissors

  • Sakura Pigma Micron 1 Black Pen or any similar black felt fine tip pen.

  • A pair of scissors, an olfa knife too if you like.

  • Optional: Colour Chalk Pastels 

Drawing surfaces:

  • Pad of Cartridge Paper 18 x 24 inch (40 sheets)

  • 3 Pastel papers: 19 x 25 inch mid tone colours (1 grey) 

  • 1 Black Pastel Paper: 19 x 25 inch, other construction papers in a smaller size

  • Optional: A Drawing Board for 18 x 24 inch paper if you would find it useful.

These are the recommended materials for this course. All sizes are approximate. On your first day of class, your instructor may recommend additional optional materials. Our Instructors will do their best to accommodate alternative materials whenever possible. 

Some suggested retailers for purchasing your art materials:

Aboveground Art Supplies (discount code: AGOSTUDENT10), Curry’s (online), DeSerres, Gwartzman’s, Michaels, or any other art supply or discount craft store.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, delays are very possible. 


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