Sketchbook Express


Are you ready to explore the spectrum of emotions? Grab your sketchbooks and I will show you how to get started and where to find inspiring and expressive reference photos.

No grids! Achieving likeness or realism isn’t the goal, it’s all about capturing and finding expressive characters during your sketchbook practice. In this class we will explore mature male faces and do two projects:

  • One profile portrait built up out of linework, directly with pen on paper.
  • One front view portrait with dramatic lighting using charcoal, building up the layers.

Sounds good? Then hop on board the Sketchbook Express and start creating your little book of emotive characters!


Class goals:

  • Practicing expressive portraits in your sketchbooks
  • Observing reference photos to create fresh characters
  • Learning how to use charcoal to find the emotion and expression in your characters
  • Gaining confidence through practice.


First project:

Second project:

Supply list:

  • Black Pitt Pen (S) but you can substitute with any drawing tool
  • Willow charcoal
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Mechanical eraser by Tombow, the rectangular shaped eraser works best
  • Sketchbooks (I’m using a Kraft sketchbook and one of those cheap ones with the linen cover. As long as your paper feels a little rough to the touch, you’re good to go!)


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