Beginners' portrait drawing – accuracy and likeness with Andrew Fitchett

Ref: S2D32015

Location: West Dean
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About this course

This step-by-step course guides you through the key techniques used to create an accurate likeness by drawing the human head from observation.

Course Description

Working from a model, you will learn to explore methods of measurement and observation, develop an understanding of the structure of the human head and face and investigate the key spatial and shape relationships within.

Working with a range of pencils or drawing materials of your choice, you will further experiment with tone and line quality to understand how this may affect your drawing.

You will gain first-hand experience of key drawing techniques required when making accurate drawing from life, a clear understanding of the physical shape and structure of the human head and experience of materials and their effects on your work.

With a focus on individual development, the course is a series of tutored drawing workshops that will accommodate group and individual exercises. There are short group reviews at key stages throughout the course. There is a strong emphasis on development and practice of technique to help enhance your personal drawing skills and exploration of style, rather than working towards a limited number of finished drawings.

The course will equip you with essential knowledge of how to plan and approach the making of a portrait drawing. You will also be able to use what you learn about the structure of the human head and face to inform and improve your portrait drawings and apply your experience of materials and techniques to further enhance and develop your portrait drawing skills.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • A model for the duration of the course
  • Cartridge paper, 2B and 4B pencils, charcoal, masking tape – enough for the first evening introduction only
  • It is very important that you come equipped with your own drawing materials on the first morning.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring any items that you may have from the following list:
  • Pencils: HB, 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B, 8B
  • Charcoal sticks, varying sizes
  • Conté – Black and white
  • Craft knife or sharpener
  • A2 cartridge paper sketchpad or individual sheets
  • All materials can be purchased from the College shop on the first morning. Please feel free to bring any other drawing materials not on the list that you might like to use.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials are available to buy, including pencils: HB, 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B, 8B, charcoal sticks, Conté – Black and white, craft knives, sharpeners, A2 cartridge paper sketchpad or individual sheets.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Andrew Fitchett portrait

Andrew Fitchett

Andrew Fitchett is a practicing painter working in oils and West Dean tutor since 2006. Since his career in Advertising where he ran creative courses Andrew paints and teaches from his studio in East Sussex. Andrew's work is in private collections across Europe.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.