Workshop: Drawing Gestural Portraits & Primates

This 1 day workshop is a chance to get substantial, focused drawing practice on gestural portraits & primates

Portrait Gesture Drawing banner

You’ll learn about ways to quickly establish a convincing structure in the human and primate faces while capturing compelling facial expressions that convey emotion and depth.

Primate Reference #46

Enrollment is closed

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Watch a Sample Workshop

Watch a sample workshop: Gestural Portraits

How it Works


Before the workshop

  • Students receive access to the workshop channels in our Discord.
  • Hang out in the workshop channels so we can see your artwork and site, and chat about your goals can make the workshop more efficient.
Portrait Track: Portrait Gesture Drawings in Line
Ashley Tanelle
  • Please know that if you have no experience with Discord, it does take some time to get set up and learn how Discord works.
  • Watch this 53 second tour of our Discord for a preview.
  • We highly recommend joining several days before the workshop date so you can learn the ropes, troubleshoot any problems, and get help from us to make the workshop run as smoothly as possible for you.

First 2 hours

  • Students draw and take occasional breaks to post their drawings into the Discord text channel.
  • On voice, Prof Lieu continually critiques drawings as they are posted in the Discord text channel.
Drawing Female Portraits in Conte Crayon

Last hour

After the workshop

  • recording of the workshop will be available to workshop participants. The recording will not be available to the public.

Workshop channels access

  • Students will continue to have access to the workshop channels.
  • The week following the workshop, Prof Lieu will provide feedback and follow up resources.
  • After that week, Prof Lieu will answer quick questions, but will not be providing feedback.
Charcoal Portrait Drawing, Clara Lieu, banner

Written Feedback

  • Prof Lieu will write a paragraph for each student which reviews the student’s artwork made during the workshop + suggestions for how to move forward, see sample below.
Clara cartoon

I loved seeing the range of watercolor techniques you did at the workshop, several portraits showed really careful attention to the nuances in the wrinkles. At the same time, the portraits you did towards the end of the workshop were so loose, spontaneous and showed bold departures from the reference photos.

If you continue working with watercolor, I think it would be worth exploring how to convey texture. Dry brushing is a technique that is really helpful for that, it can give you marks that are grittier, and that have more of a bite.

I’m thinking if you started with a gestural approach and layered dry brushing on top you would get a very rich range of textures.

Prof Lieu
Pencil Portrait Drawing, banner

Student info

  • Limit 12 students
  • Enrollment is first come, first serve
  • All students are required to join our Discord to participate.


  • We will confirm whether the workshop is running by the Wednesday after the Friday registration deadline.
  • If the workshop does not run, you will receive a full refund no later than a week from the Friday registration deadline.
Portrait Drawing: Soft Pastel
Soft Pastel Tutorial: Female Portrait


  • All payments are non-refundable if the workshop runs.
  • Students must join our Discord at least 24 hours before the workshop starts. There are no refunds if you do not join within this time frame.
  • There are no refunds if a student is late or does not attend the workshop for any reason.
  • We only issue refunds if the workshop does not run due to lack of enrollment.


About our Staff

Prof Lieu has 15 years of teaching studio art at the college level, and was an Adjunct Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design from 2007-2020. See Prof Lieu’s full CV.

Drawing Portraits with Conté Crayon

Art Supplies

We understand that many people have limited budgets for supplies, so our premium workshops are structured so that you can use any materials you want, within that workshop’s focus.

Supply Lists: Drawing Media

overview of drawing suppliesballpoint pen/gel pensdip penbrush pen markersCaran d’Ache crayonsgraphite powdercolored pencilsoft pasteloil pastelpencil, charcoalink washscratchboardoil sticks


Digital Tool Recommendations, ProcreateKritaAdobe PhotoshopClip Studio PaintPaint Tool SAIAdobe FrescoMediBang PaintGimp

Purchase an artist call, Clara Lieu