Academy of Realist Art

Virtual Portrait Drawing in the Style of Sargent

13 Sep, 2021
01 Oct, 2021

Duration: 3 weeks
Location: Zoom video conferencing
Instructor: Suwhan Lim
Full Price: $450

Virtual Portrait Drawing in the Style of Sargent


Want to draw in a more painterly way? In this virtual workshop, students will learn to how to work with charcoal in the style of John Singer Sargent.

4 in stock


Want to draw in a more painterly way? Get ready to be loose and expressive with your drawings. In this virtual workshop, Instructor Suwhan Lim will show students how to work with charcoal in the style of John Singer Sargent. Experience the push and pull of soft materials that move while layering values from light to dark. And yes, we will even be using brushes! Working with soft dry media like charcoal is a great exercise for transitioning from drawing to painting.

Students will be provided images to copy from, but can choose to work from their own images as well, transforming their favourite photographs into works of art — just email them to us first to get pre-approval from the instructor.

The lessons will guide students from beginning to end in achieving a stronger likeness in capturing a portrait. Students will be taught techniques such as selecting and preparing the right tools, how to measure properly, and how to manipulate charcoal in a painterly way. Students will also learn concepts such as abstraction, light logic, and how to achieve context by building from general to specific. A strong emphasis will be placed on creating the forms or volumes of the face, paying extra attention to shapes, values, and edges. The end effect is a dramatic three-dimensional portrait.

This virtual workshop will include recordings that students can watch before class at their convenience. The class will convene for instruction and critiques through Zoom video conferencing on Monday and Friday evenings, 6:30-8 pm ET.

Week 1: Sept 13 and 17
Week 2: Sept 20 and 24
Week 3: Sept 27 and Oct 1

Topics covered

  • How to prepare and work with vine charcoal
  • How to layer values to reveal form
  • How to simplify nature
  • The value scale
  • Softness of edges
  • Abstraction
  • How to properly set up a workstation for an academic setting
  • Light logic
  • How to carry on improving your drawing skills after this workshop


Drawing Instruments

  • 1: 2B professional grade graphite pencil (e.g. Staedtler, Tombow, Mitsubishi, etc.)
  • 1 pack of each: Nitram charcoal sticks in H, HB; and 6 or 8 mm extra soft round-petit batons (6 mm preferred)
  • 2 of each (optional): General’s charcoal pencils 2H, HB, 2B

Drawing Board

  • 1 – 18X24 inches


  • Pad of cartridge or bond paper (18”x24”)
  • Pad of tracing paper (9”x12”)
  • You will also need 1-3 sheets of good paper; this can be any white or any mid-tone textured paper in a neutral (grey) colour of your choice (can be a colour, but nothing too bright). Some suggested brands:
    • Ingres D’Arches MBM
    • Canson Ingres 19″x25″ (#55 Steel Grey will be used in the demos)
    • Canson Mi-Teintes
    • BFK Rives
    • St Armand


  • Nitram sanding block, or 1 of each: sandpaper sheets in 80 grit, 160 grit and 240 grit
  • Knitting needle 2.5 to 3.5 mm thickness
  • Masking tape
  • Eraser – one white (Tombow Mono Zero Round Shape recommended), one kneadable
  • Pencil extender
  • Mahl stick (a ½ inch diameter dowel approximately 30 inches)


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