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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
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
Not being delivered
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 secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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