BFA Art School Portfolios TRACK: Lesson 3


1 sustained drawing, any subject, drawn 100% from life the entire time you work on it. Be sure you are excited about your subject!

Ideas drawing from life
set up logistics

You’ll need to make sure that you will have sufficient time and access to your subject since you will be working from life the entire time. Don’t use fruit that will rot in 2 days, unless you can finish the drawing before that happens. Plan in advance so you don’t get stuck!

Recommended media

Any dry drawing media: pencil, charcoal, conté crayon, graphite powder, colored pencil, oil pastel, soft pastel

thumbnail sketches

Draw at least 6 thumbnail sketches to plan out the composition. If you’re working with color media, it’s a good idea to create a thumbnail in color once you find 1 or 2 you might use.


Consider the lighting for your subject, in some cases you may need to set up the light yourself to get enough contrast in the image. Lighting makes a huge difference, especially in terms of creating a sense of space and volumetric forms.

Artists for inspiration

Still life artists

Drawing Roses

Art Prof Clara Lieu and Guest Teaching Artist Kathleen Speranza show how to draw roses with pencil and charcoal as preparatory drawings for oil paintings. Kathleen explains her engagement with roses as a figurative subject for her paintings, providing a comprehensive demo on how to set up the lighting and placement of the roses, how to sharpen & prepare pencil/charcoal supplies, and then how to draw a structural drawing in pencil, and a pictorial drawing in charcoal.

Tea & Scones in Colored Pencil

See colored pencil techniques for drawing a scene of tea and scones. Techniques shown in colored pencil include how to layer colors, how to create gradients and blend to get specific colors, and how to create a balance of saturated and muted colors, and more. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Share Your Progress

Post your ongoing progress in the #bfa-track channel in our Discord, you\’ll get support and feedback from out staff and the community!

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