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Head Life Study (intensive)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

The course will provide a concentrated examination of the head, torso and hands exploring expressive drawing and mixed media approaches. Working directly from models, the self-portrait and casts, students will undertake detailed study of the anatomy, proportion and character of the head and will be encouraged to develop a personal approach and expand their skills to produce dynamic and arresting head studies. Students will be introduced to a range of historical and contemporary artists whose work focuses on head study.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Some drawing experience desirable.

Special Infomation


Materials and equipment provided for students as part of the course and included in course fee:
  • Easels
  • Drawing boards
  • Tables and chairs
  • Life models and studio set ups.

Essentials Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves: (Estimated cost: £20 - £50 depending on usage)

  • a range of drawing cartridge papers
  • willow charcoal
  • charcoal pencil
  • eraser
  • fixative
  • range of pencils
  • range of brushes
  • watercolour or acrylic paints
  • masking tape
  • Chalk or oil pastels
  • A range of ink colours including black
  • A4/A3 sketch book
  • craft knife
  • white acrylic paint
  • rags

Content of Course

The course will comprise of an intensive 5 day teaching block followed by a period of independent study in the students own time.

Class hours:

  • Day 1; Line drawing exploring proportion of head. Study work of David Hockney and Dryen Goodwin.
  • Day 2; Using charcoal to create tonal studies which explore form and depth looking at the work of Matisse, Redon, Jim Dine and Kathe Kolwitz
  • Day 3; Working with looser techniques to develop expression and character using mixed media, pastels, oil bars, charcoal and paints.
  • Day 4; Self Portrait. Taking a personal approach looking at how other artists have approached this.
  • Day 5; Quick Studies which capture a quick impression leading to more resolved works using a choice of materials.
Directed and Independent study:
Students will be required to follow up and reflect on their learning from the classes through the completion of directed projects and their own independent study.

Teaching method(s)

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the five days, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will involve one to one tuition, discussion and critique.’

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course through class hours, directed and independent study, students will be able to;


  • research and consider the proportion, form and anatomy of the human head and accurately translate them through drawing

  • demonstrate confidence in the use of a range of drawing techniques and uses of materials appropriate to the study of the head.

  • head life studies which demonstrate an informed knowledge of the human head.
  • Transferable skills

    • Observational drawing skills in a range of media
    • Understanding of the structure, form and anatomy of the human figure
    • Ability to undertake research and reflective practice and apply these in the context of the portrait within visual culture


    Core Readings

    Marsh, R., 1970, Anatomy for artists, Dover
    Wolff, E., 1958 Anatomy for artists, 4th ed., H.K. Lewis

    Web Sources

    Web sources may be provided during the course

    Class Handouts

    Course information will be provided on enrolment and handouts provided during the course.

    Student support

    Please contact Art and Design Studies on 0131 650 4400 if you think you have any specific study requirements that may need to be put in place to enable you to study an Art and Design Studies course. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.