Academy of Realist Art

Portrait Drawing from Life

05 Nov, 2021
07 Nov, 2021

Duration: 3 days
Location: ARA Toronto
Instructor: Ryan Gauvin
Full Price: $400
Deposit Required: $150

Portrait Drawing from Life


Learn our step-by-step process from beginning to end in capturing a realistic portrait through observation of a live model.

11 in stock


Learn our step-by-step process from beginning to end in capturing a realistic portrait through observation of a live model. The workshop will cover how to start with the structure of the head, focusing on proportion and placement of the features. Students will learn to observe the planes of the face, create the forms or volumes of the face, and control shapes, values, and edges. Whether a beginner or advanced artist, participants will gain the skills they need to achieve a more realistic portrait and stronger likeness. Appropriate for all levels.

The class will meet at our studio from 10 am – 4 pm ET each day.

Full workshop price is $400, and a $150 deposit is required to save your spot. The balance will be due on the first day of the workshop.


Drawing Instruments

Choose one type of pencil to render your final image with, and get a few of each hardness listed:
  • Carbon – 4B, 2B and B. Brands – Wolff's or Conte Carbone
  • Charcoal – Hard, Medium, Soft.  Brands – Generals or Grumbacher
  • Graphite – 2B, HB, and 2H. Brand – Staedtler

Drawing Board

  • 1 – 18X24 inches


  • One sheet of paper of your choice. Some suggested brands – Canson (Ingres, or Dessin), Fabriano (Ingres, Artistico, or FA5), Strathmore 400 (for graphite only), Strathmore Ingres, Arches (90 lb cold press or 300 lb hot press), Somerset, or Mayfair


  • Sanding block
  • Knitting needle 2.5 to 3.5 mm thickness
  • Masking tape
  • Eraser - one white (suggested: Mono Tombow Zero), one kneadable
  • Pencil extender
  • Mahl stick (a ½ inch diameter dowel approximately 30 inches)
  • Stomps


Please bring filbert brushes. Flats and rounds not necessary. Note – do not buy expensive brushes for drawing.
  • 2 synthetic bristle hair brushes - sizes #2 or #4, and #10
  • 2 synthetic soft hair brushes - sizes #2 or #4, and #10


About ARA Workshops

Each participant gets lots of one-on-one attention from our superb instructors. ARA instructors teach year round so, unlike many artists who offer summer/holiday workshops our instructors are professional teachers as well as accomplished artists. Whether you are an award-winning experienced artist or have never painted before, our instructors will tailor to your skill level. If you have any questions or are having trouble with online registration, please contact us. All participants will be required to follow our studio policies in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Proof of vaccination

All visitors to our Columbus Centre campus must be fully vaccinated to access the building. Please email proof of vaccination to for verification before the workshop begins.

Masks and hand hygiene on arrival

On entering the Columbus Centre, all visitors are expected to wear masks at all times. Please sign in at the front desk to assist with records for contact tracing, and use the hand sanitization stations in the lobby and elevator. Upon arriving on the 3rd floor, all arriving students are also expected to wash their hands in one of the sinks in the Figure and Workshop rooms.

Daily symptom screening

Please come see an instructor on arrival to have your temperature screened. We ask that any students who are feeling unwell, who have had recent close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or who have recent travel history with a mandatory quarantine period, please stay home and self-isolate.  We will transfer your deposit to a future workshop.

Physical distancing

All horses and easels will be taped and placed 6 feet apart to ensure enough distance between you and your neighbours. These are not to be moved, and extra distance is encouraged whenever possible. Instructors will wear masks at all times and practice social distancing while instructing.

Sanitization stations and common areas

Frequent hand sanitization throughout your time in the school is asked. Sanitization stations are located outside of each studio. The lunch room will not be available, so please plan accordingly and follow social distancing rules during breaks.