Drawing the Contemporary Portrait

Drawing the human head is endlessly fascinating and infinitely varied. What makes one person different from another? Artists have explored the particular and the universal through portraiture for hundreds of years and have continuously found new ways to portray the human head. In this class we will look at the practice of drawing the head from many different angles and approaches and will take inspiration from a wide range of artists from Cézanne, Picasso, Soutine, to David Hockney, Maggie Hambling, Marlene Dumas and Frank Auerbach.


Full-time BA students studying for a degree in Fine Art receive up to a 75% discount. Those studying on design or applied arts degrees may also be eligible on a case-by-case basis. Student ID and proof of enrollment must be submitted.

Full-time practising fine artists under 40 years of age in need of financial help may apply for a 75% discount on a maximum of two courses; applicants must submit a portfolio of ten drawings and fill in an application form which can be downloaded from the website. These must be submitted before term starts on the 15 and 16 December only. Please contact the office in advance of submitting your application to reserve a place on your chosen course. 

Primary and secondary school teachers who teach art receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof in the form of a letter from their head teacher or the head of the art department.

Individuals on job seekers allowance receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently on the job seekers register.

Postgraduate alumni of the Royal Drawing School receive a 50% discount. 

Individuals who receive disability support are eligible for a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently receiving this allowance.

All of our course rates are subsidised and we also offer a comprehensive concessions scheme. View all course fees and concessions.