Figure and Portrait Drawing & Painting Lessons

Welcome to the figure and portrait section of CreativeSpotlite.com. Figure and portrait painting and drawing is one of the most difficult things to master. It has been said if you can draw or paint the human body, you can draw or paint anything. We have gathered a nice selection of free lessons on the following pages that you are sure to learn a great deal from. The art instruction on the following pages has been generously donated by professional artists from all over the world. We are most grateful for their generosity and we hope you enjoy!

Free Figure and Portrait Art Demonstrations

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  • Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery Home Study Course

    Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery Home Study Course

    Christopher Sia has invested a great deal of time and effort into creating this fantastic home study course.

  • This course consists of 5 drawing ebooks in PDF format totaling 208 pages of detailed content and 605 high quality illustrations and images. Together, these amazing resources will guide you step by step through the process of pencil portrait drawing mastery.

  • This course is a digital download meaning you can retrieve the course immediately after your purchase and download it directly to your computer. This way you don’t have to wait for it to be shipped! You can use and enjoy it immediately....

    Download The Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery Course Here

  • Oil Portrait Painting Demonstration Step by Step

    Oil Portrait Painting Demonstration by Jeff Haynie

    By Jeff Haynie

    The first thing I did was to transfer the pencil drawing to the canvas. Then I started with acrylic paint and blocked the darkest shadow shapes to have a strong values structure to glaze oil paint on top of. Sometimes I use brown as an underpainting and sometimes I use a bluegrey. I choose the darkest area of the painting to put down as an underpainting and the areas of detail that I want to maintain. In this case it is the shadow of the hair, the details on the face, the shadow s of the jacket and a few on the background.

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  • A painting demonstration in oil on a 12 x 9" canvas 2001

    Portrait Demo by William Whitaker

    By William Whitaker

    This is the state of the painting at the end of the first session. With neither face nor hands to slow me down, I was able to bring it along quickly. The neck and back remind me of Ingres and I'm motivated to try and make the work look finished at every stage.

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  • Portrait Painting Demonstration - "Brittany"

    Portrait Painting Demo Scott Burdick

    By Scott Burdick

    Once I’d figured out the correct size of my canvas (26″ by 50″), I started with a few basic charcoal marks to place the head and make sure I had it approximately life-size. For this painting I didn’t draw out any of the features since the subject is simple enough that I can just paint and work out the details as I go. The main advantage of this approach is that it keeps you from painting up to lines and ending up with stale brushwork. To paint this way requires a great deal of drawing practice since you are basically thinking about your drawing and proportions with every brushstroke, rather than concentrating on drawing first and then painting next....

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  • Portrait Painting Demonstration By Karin Wells

    Karin Wells Painting Demo Mackie

    By Karin Wells

    There are a LOT of ways to paint a portrait. I use several different methods (and sometimes combine them) depending on what I think is best at the time. Sometimes I even remember to take pictures of the process. This portrait of Gwyneth (20″x24″, oil on linen) won the Certificate of Excellence at the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition in Philadelphia this year (2008).

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  • Painting Skin Tones One Layer at a Time

    Painting Skintones Karin Wells

    By Karin Wells

    There’s a Zen to painting in layers.
    You have got to enjoy the process or this isn’t the method for you….(but don’t worry, there are lots of ways to paint a portrait & get a similar result). Personally I like any way that is easy. And this is pretty easy – but alas, it isn’t fast ’cause you just have to wait for those layers to dry before moving on....

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  • A painting demonstration in oil on an 18x24" canvas. 1999

    Simon Mackie

    By William Whitaker

    In the summer of 1999, Sandra took a workshop from Jim Wilcox in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While everybody went out to paint the Tetons all day, I stayed inside in Jim's Jackson studio and started this painting from a photograph. I toned the canvas with what was probably one of the ugliest oil washes I'd ever made and then I began to draw the form with a brush and some burnt umber...

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  • A figure painting demonstration in oil on a 24x16" canvas. 1980

    Simon Mackie

    By William Whitaker

    I stretched a piece of Fredrix Sarasota linen acrylic primed canvas. I brushed on another layer or two of acrylic gesso to fill the weave a bit. I worked up the drawing in a hurry using several sheets of tracing paper. The first drawing is just a scribble done with a fat carpenter's pencil. I traced off the best lines and refined the drawing on a second sheet...

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  • A painting demonstration in oil on a 20 x 16" canvas. 2002

    Simon Mackie

    By William Whitaker

    I drew in the form using a bristle filbert brush and Gamblin's asphaltum brown on a toned canvas. I added lights made of white with a touch of raw sienna. I then began to add broken color. I continued to refine until I got it the way I wanted. I had to be careful not to paint the life out of it...

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  • Memories

    Simon Mackie

    By Mike Mahon

    I don't always have something to say, nor am I always inspired. Painting is enough of a struggle without the added burden of making a statement. Thus, I let the subject speak to me, and I simply serve as the editor and interpreter for my audience.

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  • Facing the Day

    Simon Mackie

    By Mike Mahon

    I met Elma at one of my art shows and knew that with her beautiful and strong features she would make a stunning subject for a painting. She and her husband graciously supplied me with some black and white and color photos. This B/W pose seemed to best express the “attitude” I wanted for this character study.

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  • The Red Scarf

    Simon Mackie

    By Robert Bissett

    Coming around the corner I was struck by the natural pose and backlighting. I happened to have a camera and equested she hold right there. Several shots were taken at the 1mb setting and this first one seemed to have the most promise. The resolution was increased in PaintShop Pro which helped, but it still was not a professional quality photo.

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