University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Creative Arts

Undergraduate Course: Portraiture: Developing a Personal Approach (LLLA07251)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryWorking directly from models students will develop and expand their skills to produce dynamic, arresting painted portraits and head life drawings.
Course description Academic Description: This course will enable students to develop a personal approach to portraiture through drawing and painting methods and techniques, providing a concentrated examination of the human head, character and anatomy. Students will explore how to work directly from the model using expressive drawing, painting and mixed media approaches. They will also be introduced to a range of historical and contemporary artists whose work features the portrait as the subject matter.

Outline of Content. Over the class sessions the course will cover:
Introduction, basic studio etiquette and a look at materials.
The portrait-what is it, who does it and why?
Make several exploratory studies of the model.
Using a range of hard and soft pencils to fully explore line and form to create drawings concentrating on proportion and structure of the head. Looking at artist Dryden Goodwin's work.
Tonal work using willow charcoal, compressed charcoal, putty rubber and white chalk to create form and depth, to almost ' sculpt' the head using drawing materials.
Mixed media.
Creating character and expression using a variety of drawing and painting materials; e.g. pastels, inks, oil bars, charcoal, pencil and acrylic paints, watercolours. We will look at works by David Hockney and Jim Dine.
Painted portraits. Using paints, students will spend time learning how to mix colour for skin tones and working out composition in sketchbooks before moving on to scaling up onto card or canvas, blocking in areas of colour, building surface, adding detail, correcting and creating character.
Develop brushwork and paint mixing
Self-portrait using a personal choice of materials and considering how other artists have approached this- e.g.Rubens, Rembrandt, Alice Neel and Lucien Freud.
Make page(s) of investigations in sketchbook or paper- concentrated looking at particular areas of the head- an eye, an ear, the area from nose to top lip-this will reinforce your understanding of the anatomy of any 'problem areas'.
Finish will informal group discussion and critique.

The Learning Experience: The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, student progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a 'directed study plan' which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness. Students are expected to demonstrate how their research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks, a visual digital journal and practical outcomes.

The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicate tools, materials and equipment:

Willow charcoal, white chalk
Range of pencils - HB, 2B, 4B
Range of brushes suitable for chosen paints i.e. soft for watercolour, harder bristles for oil and acrylic paint
A range of acrylic, oil or watercolour paints; (suggested colours: white, cadmium red, crimson, cerulean blue, ultramarine, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, viridian green, raw umber, burnt sienna)
Masking tape
Chalk pastels
Black ink and or coloured inks
A4 / A3 sketch book
Craft knife
Rags or kitchen roll
Cartridge paper, sugar paper
Palette, protective apron
Heavy duty card or canvas to paint on if working in acrylic or oil paint
Turpentine-only if using oil paint.
Good Quality watercolour paper if using watercolours.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  10
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 68 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment: A formative assessment session will occur in week 6 or 7 of the taught element of the course. Each student will undertake a 5 minute verbally presentation with their practical work in progress to other members of the class group followed by a 5 minute group critique supported by the course tutor. Each student will also electronically submit their work in progress digital journal to the course tutor.

Indicative and supportive feedback will be summarised in written form on the digital journal which will give an indication of what areas requires to be address in order to meet the published learning outcomes. This will comprise of short written summary of action points.

Summative Assessment: Two weeks after the end of the class teaching, this course will be assessed by the submission of:

A digital journal documenting a summary of the learning journey as evidenced in the portfolio (20 hours)
This will include a summary of idea development, media exploration, contextual research, critical reflection and outcomes through notes, annotation, illustration and photography.

A portfolio of visual art/design works (80 hours)
This will include a selection of resolved design works, sketchbook works, preparatory studies, visual research and evidence of a contextual awareness.

The Digital Journal and Portfolio must be presented in a clear and professional manner appropriate to the discipline. The submission should include work undertaken within the class as well as directed and independent study out with the class.

The combined Digital Journal and Portfolio submission will be assessed against the three learning outcomes for this course. These are equally weighted (33.3% each) and each will be given a percentage grade. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 30% in each learning outcome and an overall combined mark of 40% minimum.
Feedback Formative Assessment: A formative assessment session will occur on week 6 & 7 of the course providing indicative and supportive feedback and progress to date and an indication of what areas requires to be address in order to meet the published learning outcomes. This will comprise of short written summary of action points but no indicative grades.

Summative Assessment: On completion the assessment, each student will receive a % mark for each learning outcome along with written feedback putting in context the % mark and outlines areas for development.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Research, context and ideas (33.3%): Use a visual sketchbook/journal to research, record and reflect, showing a basic understanding of the proportion, form and anatomy of the human head, supported by contextual references.
  2. Practice, skills and techniques (33.3%): Demonstrate an appropriate and confident approach in working with a range of drawing and painting materials to explore the form of the human head and portrait within a compositional framework.
  3. Selection, presentation and reflection (33.3%): Select, edit and present a coherent body of visual studies of drawings, paintings and mixed media works, which demonstrate an informed and individual response.
Reading List
Suggested Reading:

MARSH, R., 1970. Anatomy for artists: London, Dover.
HOCKNEY, D. 2006, Portraits. New Haven, CT:Yale University Press.
FREUD, L., 2012, Painting People. National Portrait Gallery, London

Journal and Periodicals:
Modern Painters

Web Sources:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in drawing and painting the human figure
Understanding of the proportion, form and structure of the human head
Ability to undertake research and reflective practice and apply these in the context of portrait painting within visual culture
Colour mixing skills
Hand eye coordination
Keywordsdrawing,painting,mixed media,portrait,character,anatomy,sketchbook,research,colour
Course organiserMr Oliver Reed
Course secretaryMr Benjamin McNab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information