Do you want to learn more about drawing portraits? We love all art forms and artistic subjects here at Sparketh, but we think there’s just something a little bit special about portraits. Portraits connect us to different kinds of people, and different moments in history. Different styles of portraits can introduce us to new ways of seeing and creating– and even new ways of thinking! (Click this link to read more about why portraits still matter).
For any art student, learning how to draw a portrait is an important rite of passage. However, it is something that can feel complex and intimidating. With that in mind, this post is devoted to all of the art students out there who want to learn how to master portrait-drawing at home. Below, you’ll find a list of 15 online art classes that teach students how to draw portraits via step-by-step tutorials. Links are given to each course in the description (all of them are free to Sparketh members.) There are many different styles of portraits represented in the courses here, as well as versatile artistic techniques that can help you on your portrait-drawing journey. We hope you’ll explore them and find something that fits your needs, helps you learn, and gives you hours of artistic inspiration and fun!
Pictured: Dwayne Walker, Sparketh CEO/ one of Sparketh’s art instructors
1. Realism Portrait Online Art Course
Realism is (appropriately enough) a realistic style of drawing or painting that originated in France in the mid 1800s. A portrait done in the style of realism attempts to capture all details of the person being drawn as accurately as possible–like a photograph. This advanced, step-by-step Realism Portrait Tutorial shows students how to draw an accurate portrait in this style, sharing tips and tricks every step of the way.
2. Manga Portrait Online Art Course
Manga is a Japanese style of illustration that has become increasingly popular over the last several years. It’s a very fun and exaggerated art style, which makes it really great for creative kids and teens to play with. This Manga Portrait Tutorial will help Manga fans create an original character in this style!
3. Cubism Portrait Online Art Course
If you or your child/teen is looking for a unique or alternative take on drawing portraits, try exploring portraits in the art style of Cubism! The Cubism movement in art originated in the early 19th century and is most commonly associated with Picasso. This art form doesn’t just look groovy, though. It’s also great practice in mapping out shapes and showing the subject from multiple perspectives at once! Use this online art course to draw a Cubism portrait–you’ll end up with a really cool drawing and some valuable artistic skills in your toolbox, too.
4. Pop Art Portrait Online Art Course
Pop art uses bright colors, bold lines and shapes, and popular cultural influences to form an artistic style that truly (*incoming pun*) pops. Kids and teens can learn a little bit about the Pop Art Movement and have a blast creating their own pop art style portrait with this Pop Art Portrait Online Art Course.
5. Surrealism Portraits
This Surrealism Portrait Course for advanced students will show students how to take a psychological, dream-like approach to the portraits they draw. This online art course will help students think differently about how they approach portraits, and shares useful tips for blending realism and surrealism to create a mind-bending portrait drawing.
6. Gesture Drawing
Gesture drawing is all about keeping the artwork quick, loose, and focused on movement. Therefore, practicing gesture drawing can help artists become quicker and more decisive as they sketch lines that reflect the subject’s basic shapes and lines. (These are all important skills for any artist who draws portraits, especially when drawing them from life!) This Gesture Drawing Course will help strengthen your child or teen’s art toolbox and portrait skills.
7. Harlem Renaissance Portrait
With this Harlem Renaissance Portrait, artists learn how to recognize and recreate certain elements from this dynamic artistic movement! Students will learn how to create an energetic, colorful portrait that makes a statement by intentionally emphasizing certain elements and features (and playing down others).
8. Facial Proportions
New to drawing portraits, or need a refresher? This online Facial Proportions Art Class for beginners teaches students how to sketch out basic facial proportions. This one is the perfect course to start with before exploring some of the different styles of art portraits mentioned here! Once you have a good understanding of facial proportions, you can apply that knowledge to any art style you like!
9. Hair Textures
Sometimes, young artists (and older ones, too) get in a “hair rut” in their drawings of people and start drawing everyone with the same type of hair. This fun, online Hair Texture Tutorial explores several different types of hair textures and will help students get comfortable with drawing each one. This is definitely a great skill for any artist to have a handle on.
Drawing hands doesn’t come naturally to many artists. However, including a subject’s hands in his or her portrait can make the portrait more interesting, expressive, and complex (in a good way!) This course, which was originally created for Mother’s Day, shows art students how to sketch out basic shapes for the hands before filling in details.
11. Basic Colored Pencil Techniques
Colored pencils can be a versatile, convenient and affordable art medium for kids and teens. They can be very useful in drawing portraits! You can actually do more with these tools than a lot of new artists realize. This Basic Colored Pencil Techniques Course covers some tips and tricks that will help you elevate your colored pencil game. Apply these tips to drawing portraits—or anything you like!
12. Basic Watercolor Techniques
This Basic Watercolor Online Art Course is perfect for kids and teens to the unique medium of watercolor painting! Watercolor painting is very different from other types of painting, so it can be a little confusing to know how to get started without a little bit of guidance. Students can use the foundational techniques in this online art course and apply them to watercolor paintings of all types (including, of course, portraits!)
P.S. One really cool method for watercolor portraits is to draw the portrait in a non-bleeding pen (using your preferred art style) and then paint over the more detailed lines with loose, wet-on-wet watercolor!
13. Fauvism Portrait
The art style of Fauvism is all about bright, contrasting colors and striking visuals, which can result in fun and exciting portraits! This online Fauvism Portrait course will show students how to apply some of the techniques of Fauvism as they follow the steps in the tutorial to create a vividly colorful portrait.
14. Impressionism Portrait
As the name indicates, the art movement of Impressionism focused on the impression of a subject or scene. Impressionistic art pays attention to things like light, color, movement, and feeling. Looking at an impressionistic portrait should therefore give a true impression of the living subject. This online art course will show students the basics that are needed to complete a portrait in the style of Impressionism.
15. I See You Challenge
This open-ended challenge has limitless possibilities. It challenges students to think closely about the details when drawing a subject’s eyes. How will the light be reflected in the shape of the eye? What “Easter eggs,” could you add into the eyes’ reflections to say something interesting or insightful about the person you are drawing? This detail-oriented challenge is perfect for students who are trying to think of ways to make their portraits stand out.
We hope that these courses make it easy for your (or your art student) to gain confidence, boost skills and have fun while drawing many different types of portraits! All of these courses are included in the Sparketh membership, but don’t forget to upload your finished products after completing each course! We love to see what you’ve been up to over in the gallery. We also have a special art track for portraits that contains most of these art courses. Joining this track can make it easy for you to keep up with which portrait courses you’ve tried, and what you’d like to try next!
Do you love drawing portraits? Which of these courses will you try first?