Self portrait drawing with Jake Spicer

Ref: SWE09651


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About this course

Improve your portrait drawing whilst reflecting on ways of representing your most readily available portrait model – yourself.

Course Description

This weekend workshop will begin with an introduction to the observational aspects of drawing with a series of exercises that help you to relax into a focused state of observation.

On the morning of the first day you will look at approaches to drawing the head with a demonstration from the tutor and explore the practical challenges of working from a mirror, making a series of short, guided studies of your own face. In the afternoon we will look at the visual history of self portait drawing, exploring the introspective aspect of making a study of your own face and how we can tell a story about our identities through the inclusion of objects and personal symbolism. On the second day we will settle into a longer self portait, developed from short compositional studies where the tutor will help you to develop a long, more substantial study as a culmination of the weekends reflections.


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, 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 cost of providing charcoal, 3B pencil, some masking tape and some cartridge paper for the first evening drawing session.

What students need to bring

  • A folder or art tube for taking the drawings home
  • Two objects of personal significance
  • An outfit to draw in
  • An outfit that you feel most yourself in
  • Any preferred drawing materials (including wet media like ink, but not extending to paint)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A3 cartridge pad and an A2 cartridge pad
  • A range of soft sketching pencils (2B-6B)
  • An eraser, a sharpener
  • Willow charcoal and charcoal pencil
  • Masking tape or board clips
  • Plastic folder for taking work home


Jake Spicer

Jake Spicer is a painter, Head Tutor of Brighton drawing school 'Draw' and co-director of the award-winning Drawing Circus. He has written a series of popular instructional drawing books and has a monthly column in Artists & Illustrators Magazine. Jake also teaches periodically at The National Portrait Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Brighton University and studied at UCA Farnham, learning to draw under John T. Freeman.


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

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