Graphite Portrait Part One

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This lesson series includes:
8 HD videos β€’ 8 hours of instruction
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This eight part series of recorded live lessons (1 hour each) provides a comprehensive look at drawing a portrait with graphite using the grid technique for accuracy. Shading is accomplished by adjusting the pressure placed on the pencil without any blending tools. Every step of the process, from start to finish, is demonstrated and explained.
  • HB Graphite Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Bristol Paper (Vellum surface)
  • Soft graphite pencil


Graphite Portrait Part One — 48 Comments

  1. Great lesson. Please take as much time as you need. The time is so well spent. It is so valuable to see how much time and effort it takes to do excellent work versus a quick time lapse where less is learned or so many aspects of a project are never seen or addressed. Yes, this will take time but what you are showing and teaching is more valuable than any number of shorter lessons. This series will help so many of us in so many ways. I truly believe it will be one of the finest teaching sequences available to all of us who are trying so hard to learn and grow in our artistic abilities. Thank You.

  2. When I click on “Download Page” it takes me to the Part 2 download rather than Part 3. Any suggestions?

    BTW, thank you so much for your time and expertise! I am learning a lot and enjoying it thoroughly! Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  3. Not going to get long winded at this point, but since becoming a memer I have improved ten times grater than prior. thanks for doing this I even have three out of six grandchildren in on it fore my vision is to teach them as you teach me so they can draw what is in the minds eys as I for many years wanted to do. I will keep on getting. thanks Jeff cook

  4. I am so so much enjoying this extended lesson. I will be watching this particular series again and again, you have provided so much instruction. Thank you so much Matt.

  5. I’m really learning a lot from this extended series. It’s amazing to see a flat white paper turn into such a beautiful portrait by concentrating on the values.

  6. I’m loving everything I’m learning. I have still get anxious about following along. But I’m thankful that I found this online class. Love the introduction of try for a dollar! Best price I’ve found so far.

  7. Matt, will you further darken the left side of your daughter’s face? In the photo reference this area is in dark shadow, and you can barely see the eye. So when I drew the left eye I had to use some imagination since the photo did not provide a clear image….

  8. I have thoroughly enjoyed this extended series. Watching a carefully done piece while learning so many hints and tips has been wonderful. Thank you so much! Do it again any time.

  9. Matt thank you for this finished result I have been waiting and I have to say I have learned so much. I no way am that good at it but with what you teach I have improved with all my art work I wonder if we could show you our finished picture and you could tell us about were we went wrong. I don’t know if we can post the drawings we did or not. I had a lot of trouble with the graft and the hat. thanks again Dianna spagnoletta

  10. Fantastic lesson. This is great to see an accomplished artist work from start to finish and give insight to the train of thought thats taking place as your drawing. Priceless!!

  11. I learned SO much from this series! Thank you, Matt! (Actually, I learn a lot from all of your work!) I had very much wondered about how to portray blonde hair in graphite, and the way you did by contrasting Avery’s blonde curls against the background of her hat was just wonderful! One day I will finish what I’m working on in graphite and will throw it up on the Member Minute for critique. I’m just really slow as I find my way through the piece! So far, graphite is by far my favorite medium to work in. So glad I joined this site, your live lessons and the video courses are definitely worth every single penny!

  12. Yes, I agree with Sandra. What a great lesson series. Loved every minute and hated to see it end. Thank you so very much for doing this series in the manner that you used. It was a great learning experience. Please do it again. Love the detailed explanation and demonstrations.

  13. What a lovely photo,you have a beautiful daughter Matt, such a cutie πŸ™‚
    I can understand why your wife chose this photo.
    I’m.looking forward to watching through this as I am very interested in pencil portraits, people and animals/pets etc..
    Nice to see a proper lesson not time lapse πŸ˜‰ thank you Matt x

  14. Also just to say Matt I can view this on my mobile, I’m in the UK and it works just fine and of course you cannot have flash player on a mobile!!!!

    I’m going to follow this properly because as I say I’m very interested in.doing pencil portraits realistically :-).

    I just finished a portrait of my best friends two collie dogs she asked me to do so I used the grid method after seeing it in secrets to drawing your drawing course.
    It’s first time I’ve used it and it fixed past problems I’ve had with proportion I thought it was amazing πŸ™‚ she absolutely loved the drawing by the way and all my family thought it was brilliant but I thought well it Wasn’t bad for my 1st portrait.

    I sent it in for critique from you so hope you can feature it as I would love to know now if I’m on the right path as I want to improve.I do think though I’ve improved with my shading after learning about values and how important they are.
    My shading was never very good and now I feel like it’s starting to make sense it’s just doing them properly which is why I need to.practice more and I will.
    Thanks for everything Matt, these live lessons are fabulous!!!!!

  15. Hi Matt, thanks so much for saying you have my beautiful drawing and that you will critique at some point thank you as I know I need to improve and to be honest I’m going to have fun doing so :).
    I did try to post it on the forum and it said its too large so I cropped the easel part out as I took the photo on my desk top easel and it still says its too large πŸ™ any advice on how to make it work ?
    I’m in a good place with my art at present as I think I’ve mentioned before I have a chronic back disability and chronic sciatica and Fibromyalgia and I want to go as far as to say ART HAS SAVED MY LIFE !!!!! it really has and so has this site and you Matt :).
    It takes my mind away from daily pain and well I need it so again thank you, I know I gush a lot about you and your wonderful site but its true and I’ll try new to gush again too much.
    Your live lesson with your portrait of your beautiful daughter is what I’m going to watch next before starting back on the course, I think its colour theory next…..being it on !!!!!

  16. Thanks for saying its beautiful is what I meant, just to apologise for spelling mistakes, my meds don’t help plus I have spell check on, it helps me sometimes but also sometimes it doesn’t lol πŸ˜‰

  17. This is great to watch because this is what realistic drawings are like, it takes time to slowly build the values.
    As you practice, practice, and practice some more does this make you any quicker even doing a drawing like this ?

  18. Hi Matt, I’ve looked to get generals layout pencils before and I know they are made and available in the US.
    I’m in UK, but when you were saying how much you love this pencil on this lesson I decided to have a look on EBay and I managed to find some packs of two and I got 2 packs πŸ™‚ good old EBay eh !!!!!

    I know you can get them from The US, but I have to think about postage.Also I wanted some grey toned paper to do your lesson in charcoal on secrets drawing course but I actually could not find any in England so I but bought a strathmore one on EBay free postage but it took a while to come, I’ve never seen any Strathmore paper in any of the art stores I use in UK,it is made in US like.

  19. *about the pencils, I meant I bought them in UK, didn’t have to order from US, just in case anyone else in UK is wanting to try them, I’ll let you know what I think of them when I get them.
    I’m doing a people portrait next after doing a dogs one, I’m a big fan of Elvis so I think I’m going to do a portrait of him.I love drawing my favourite music artists πŸ™‚

  20. Im on watching through this and its fantastic seeing you work through this graphite portrait, its invaluable to me at the stage I am, Im watching through this because I want to do a people portrait next so I am watching and taking notes, I love how you talk whilst drawing and so much information throughout thanks Matt :).
    And also I think your daughter is beautiful and I love her name x

  21. Yes I totally agree, to see it unfold like this step by step is brilliant and I’ve learnt so much on the way, Matt thank you as you always say it in a way that I can understand and all the extra little bits you say as you draw, fantastic :).

    Your passion for Art and teaching it shines through always as you talk and teach us, amazing as always.

    Thanks again, all the best Christine x

  22. This has been brilliant and invaluable to my learning about portraiture :).
    This had turned out fantastic, you are a great artist and teacher, like I’ve said a few times lol but you are and your site and your live lessons and the courses are just fabulous.

    I’m like you its nice to hear from others that you are doing well, my daughter is mine, she takes a look and tells me how it’s going and like you said about your wife, my daughter is not afraid to tell me if I’m going wrong and equally tells me when its looking good so I she is my art critique πŸ™‚

    Well done for doing g such a fantastic job on Avery, your wife will love it, she is gorgeous little Avery πŸ™‚

    • Hi Christine,
      I resigned from teaching school in the spring of 2014. The work for the website is beyond a full-time job and is what I do full-time now.

      • Thanks for your reply Matt, that is very understandable giving how much work you do on here and it probably just grows and grows.
        Learning from you is great,in a manner that I understand.
        So much to learn from you and I’m very greatful and I feel lucky to have found your site.

        Cheers Matt for all you do xx

  23. Thank you for taking the time to produce this thorough video, of course the subject is adorable! But more so, this is a nice pace to learn from. As a student I appreciate being able to see the start of the rendering and the tips along the way of what to leave in and what to leave out in the composition.
    This was great!

  24. Hi Matt I am having problems viewing lessons 2 and 4 it is saying because of it privacy settings the video cannot be played. All the other lessons are good.

  25. Hi Matt, I have enjoyed drawing little Avery enormously and am relatively pleased with the results. I’m not saying it’s perfect and I really struggled with the wispy hair. I have been with you for a couple of months now but I can honestly say that this has turned out to be my first β€˜proper’ portrait. I have gained so much more confidence following this series and have even ventured to complete part of it without blindly following the video! I now feel ready to tackle a portrait independently, wish me luck! 😁

Lesson Discussion