Portrait drawing with Hester Berry


Ref: S2D11990

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About this course

Drawing from a model, we will look at how to construct a drawing of the face, focusing on observation and mark-making.

Course Description

This course will help you develop the fundamental skills of observation and mark-making that portrait drawing demands. If you have never explored portrait drawing before, it will be an opportunity for you to build a solid foundation on which to develop, and for those of you with more experience it will be an excellent chance to revisit core principles and receive one-to-one input on developing your personal practice.

Through a mixture of demonstration, structured exercises and one-to-one feedback, you will first explore how to fluently represent the face, using quick and convenient methods for translating a likeness into a two-dimensional representation. You will then look at various devices for more accurately measuring and constructing a portrait, both as a whole and broken down into various tricky parts. You will also look at tone and discover other ways to refine your drawing and bring it to life.

By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of the core skills that go into the practice of portrait drawing, particularly the skill of unmediated and honest observation. This will provide you with a foundation on which to develop your portrait drawing practice and to get closer to a likeness.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply some of the materials including the cost of providing charcoal, paper, a 3B pencil, masking tape and paper for the first evening session.
  • The model who will sit for the course.

What students need to bring

  • Any items you have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A mixture of A1, A2 and A3 cartridge paper
  • Willow charcoal
  • HB and 6B pencil
  • Plastic eraser
  • Black ballpoint pen
  • Fixative
  • A portfolio, plastic folder or art tube for transporting work home at the end of the course
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


Hester Berry

Hester Berry has made a living as a painter since leaving school, exhibiting throughout the UK and occasionally internationally. She gained a degree in Fine Art from University of Wales Aberystwyth and an MA in painting from UAL Wimbledon. She has taught painting and drawing for various societies and institutions including for Draw Brighton and Camden Arts Centre. In 2018 Tate published her book on Life Drawing.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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