Pastel portrait drawing with Oliver Jones


Ref: S3D12575

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About this course

Learn to build a life-like portrait using pastels and drawing tools. This versatile medium allows you to use a contemporary approach to layering a drawing from a high resolution photograph of a face, and a self-portrait from life.

Course Description

Experiment with a more modern application of dry media and pastel to render flesh, and build a portrait using the medium in a similar way to how one might model clay and three-dimensional objects.

You will cover the basics of the structure of the face, aiming to look closely at an image, layering colour and tone to best represent and reflect the subject. The course will encourage you to create a number of drawings, evaluations and experimentations before working towards a piece that will combine the techniques learnt throughout the course.

The course will include work and observation from life (self-portrait), objects and photographic representation to demonstrate the versatility of the medium and further promote its place in contemporary practice.


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


  • A set of pastels
  • MDF panel 600 x 900 x 12mm

What students need to bring

  • A high quality and detailed photograph (tight crop on A4) of the face.
  • Rags
  • Hard bristle brush (or toothbrush, preferably new)
  • Any work or photographs of previous related work undertaken
  • Assortment of good quality pastels you may have
  • Paper or sketchpads suitable for pastel work
  • Putty rubber
  • Extra fine wet and dry emery paper (for cleaning the stump)
  • Brown gum strip or adhesive brown paper tape
  • Fixative

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials are usually available, including a good assortment of quality pastels pastel paper, sketchpads suitable for pastel work, putty rubber, extra fine wet and dry emery paper, brown gum strip, adhesive brown paper tape and fixative.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


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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