Ann McMillan Art
Fine Art in Color

Drawing People Skills

People Drawing Skills, Winter 2018-present
Draft* Syllabus



Please join Ann for a survey course in drawing people. This class will introduce a challenging subject with playful and mindful discipline. We will explore several ways of drawing humans: field sketching, caricatures, self-portraits, and drawing figure and portrait from a tradition model pose. Class subjects will include drawing in proportion using angles and negative space, contour vs. core drawing, mass and line drawing and how they relate to one another, achieving a confident line, and showing gesture and expression in a drawing. The latter half of the class will explore painting and drawing people in color. All media are welcome: pastel, acrylic, oil, watercolor, markers, watercolor pencils, etc.  

Model Fee between 50/person, depending on enrollment.  Payable with cash, check or paypal to  Non-refundable and due on first day of class. 

*Draft in this case means that students and teacher discuss and can change the projected course of the class during the class.

Week 1  (no model)
Self-Portraits and Concept Figure Drawing, blind contour drawings of classmates.  Drawing blind. 

Week 2 (model)
Fast-paced figure drawing -- contours and armatures.  Angle drawing and something useful to do with trigonometry. 

Week 3 ( clothed/costumed model)
More ways to draw the figure quickly and accurately.   Different approaches to getting it right.  A bit about ellipses, which turn out to be useful when drawing humans. 

Week 4  (clothed/costumed model)
Revisiting the portrait.  Drawing from a human, using light and shadow to get a likeness.

Week 5 (model)
Shadow shapes and light shapes-- finding proportion from inside out.  Value studies of the figure. Grayscales and how to make and use them.  

Week 6  (clothed/nude model)
Toned paper, with black, white and red conte crayon.  Drawing tonally for a quick finish.  One step up to color drawing.   Probably also working on Portraits this week. 

Week 7 (model)
Introduction to watercolor and watercolor pencils.  Drawing the figure in color, perhaps clothed model outdoors? 

Week 8  (model)
Revisiting the Basics-- Classic Model drawing with short poses developing to long poses.  

Drawing Supplies for People Drawing Skills:  

  • 1 each of HB and 6B pencils  (i.e. a semi-hard and one super-soft pencil.
  • White eraser.
  • Micron Pigma pens, 1 and 3.
  • Pencil sharpener with a reservoir built in for the shavings.
  • A little satchel or tool box to carry your supplies in.
  • 16 x 20 or 18 x 24 newsprint pad
  • 16 x 20 drawing paper pad
  • Red, black and white conte crayons.  (they usually come in a three or four-pack at the art store.)

Optional but fun: 

  • A small watercolor pencil kit with 6-10 pencils. Caran d’Ache and Rembrandt Inktense Derwent are both good brands.  or just watercolors in general.  
  • Spiral bound sketch book, 9 x 12 or a bit larger.  Regular drawing paper is fine, but if you want to start watercoloring over your sketches, you might like a mixed-media sketchbook. 
  • A color set of conte crayons, a set of 12, 18 or 24 would do fine.  

Alternative lessons: 

Week X (no model)
Drawing humans in the field--Field sketching techniques.   And perhaps coupled with a completely different subject if students are interested-- how to develop figure sketches into finished paintings.  (no model)

Happy Figure/Portrait sketching!