Drawing and painting the head with Emily Ball

Painting - Subject Led Drawing

Ref: S3D12439

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Places available

About this course

Become confident drawing and painting features and capturing character and expression. Celebrate the sculptural qualities of the subject using charcoal, rubbers and soft pencils to produce powerful and expressive A1 size drawings.

Course Description

Gain confidence to tackle drawing and painting the human head. The aim is to capture more than just a likeness, it is to convey the essence of the person, exploring sculptural qualities of the shapes and features using the tactile and physical properties of the drawing and paintng mediums. You will also be encouraged to work directly and confidently with your materials, through liberating and focused exercises, to find ways of re-inventing how you draw and paint features.

The course begins with an introduction which includes some practical work. You will move on to a series of exercises to help you loosen up and sharpen your observation and responses. You will complete many drawings and paintings from both short and long poses, on a large and small scale, using charcoal, pencil, felt pens, rubbers, rags and paint.

There will be a slide show of artists’ work including Frank Auerbach, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon and the tutor’s own work. There will be discussion on how the artists arrive at their finished pieces. There will also be discussions of students’ work in progress.

This exciting course is aimed at students of all levels of experience.


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


  • The model who will sit for the course.

What students need to bring

  • Lots of rags
  • A1 cartridge paper, scene painter’s charcoal, black and white chalks
  • Soft pencils, graphite pencils, rubbers, felt pens
  • Pritt stick glue, masking tape
  • Fixative, scissors, bulldog clips
  • Paint – oil or acrylic paint plus mediums
  • If in doubt about materials, please consult the tutor at the beginning of the course.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of painting and drawing materials including A1 cartridge paper, scene painter’s charcoal, black and white chalks, soft pencils, graphite pencils, rubbers.
  • Pritt stick glue, masking tape, fixative, bulldog clips
  • A good selection of oil and acrylic paints plus mediums
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Emily Ball

Emily Ball trained at Exeter and Surrey Universities and is director and tutor of Emily Ball at Seawhite Studio. Her book Painting and Drawing People - A Fresh Approach was published in 2009.


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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