Advanced Portrait Drawing (3 color on toned paper)

Hello students,

I would like to welcome you to this in-depth drawing course which explores the use of colored pastels and charcoal. The content of this course is based on a traditional technique consisting of a palette of only 3 colors, (black, sanguine and white). By limiting our color choices, we are able to fully explore a subtle range of warm and cool flesh tones. In the process, we will learn how to harness the subtlety that this palette offers.

In addition, I will discuss many other topics such as proportion, anatomy, shading, blending and layering. If you have taken any of my previous online classes on, such as “Portrait Drawing” or “Advanced Portrait Drawing”, you will already be familiar with some of the terminology. One of the main differences however, is the use of color.

If you are interested in painting with a limited palette or simply want to learn more about warm and cool color relationships, this course is a great option. My “Flemish Portrait Painting” class will be coming soon, and this drawing class would be a great prerequisite to that. I’m very confident that the information provided in this class will prove beneficial and help you in your artistic journey.

Below is a list of my materials as well as the reference photo which I’ll be using for my demo.

Thank you very much for choosing my drawing course. I really appreciate the support and look forward to your questions and comments.


David C. Rivera


BFK Rives gray paper (22 x 15)

Prismacolor NuPastel #277-P (ivory)

General’s white charcoal or white pastel pencil

Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel pencil #1122-191 (sanguine)

General’s charcoal pencils (HB, 2B, 4B)

Nitram charcoal sticks (HB, B)

Nitram medium charcoal powder (see note)*

Kneaded eraser

Fine sandpaper

Blending brushes (I use mostly chisel blenders and soft rounds, designating different brushes for light and dark mediums)

Double sided shaders

A soft rag or chamois cloth

* Note: charcoal powder can be purchased from Jerry’s Artarama, however I prepare my own. Using a brush, I deposit the residue left on my sandpaper from sharpening my tools directly into small containers fitted with a lid.

Photo Reference Below:

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