Online Class

Paint Better Portraits From Photographs

Get own-forever classes for less than $8 a month!
As an annual Bluprint member, you'll choose one own-forever class to add to your library each month
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Paint realistic portraits from photographs. Learn essential oil techniques to achieve convincing dimension, lifelike skin tones, refined facial features and more.

Skill Level


What You Get

  • 7 Streaming HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Downloadable class resources, including a printable supply list, reference images and instructions for preparing grounds
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from fellow classmates in our virtual classroom
  • Closed captioning available (web only)

How it works

  • Once you purchase, find your class in your class library.
  • Watch on any device anytime.
  • Find downloadable class resources in the class viewer.

Class Overview

Build a foundation of portrait painting skills with step-by-step guidance from professional instructor Suzanne Brooker. Start with tips for taking and selecting better reference photographs. Grasp foreshortening to create more convincing compositions. Discover the key landmarks of the face and structure of the skull. Use measurements to achieve more accurate proportion. Tone the ideal ground, add a reference grid to your canvas, block in major shapes and create an underpainting. Learn to match and paint the values and skin tones in your reference. Use brushstroke techniques to develop your painting further. Depict facial features and hair with confidence. Apply the fundamentals of painting from photographs to propel your portraiture to new levels of dimension and realism.

Lesson Breakdown

1. Translating 2-D into 3-D
Meet painting instructor Suzanne Brooker, and begin the class with a tutorial on choosing effective reference photos. Discover the best techniques for lighting your subject, and try Suzanne's simple, effective trick for examining foreshortening.
2. Features of the Face
3. The Block-In Drawing
4. The Underpainting
5. Palette for Skin Tones
6. Applying Color
7. Detailing the Facial Features

Recommended with this class

  • Oil paints, brushes, canvas or board

Taught by

Suzanne Brooker
Suzanne Brooker
Suzanne Brooker has been teaching at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington, for more than 15 years. She has a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts and earned her MFA from California State University, Long Beach, where master figurative painter Domenic Cretara was her graduate mentor. Suzanne is also the author of two books on oil painting: Portrait Painting Atelier and Elements of Landscape Painting.

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