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Drawing the Portrait in the Russian Style

In this course, Russian academic drawing expert Iliya Mirochnik will teach you the portrait drawing approach taught at the Repin Academic Institute of Fine Arts (former Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts) in a nearly unchanged form for over 250 years. This course builds on Fundamentals of Observational Drawing and the Anatomy of the Head & Neck and now applies the information to a living, breathing, model. You will learn how to work but with line and tone over paper stretched on canvas frame first to draw more neutral head and neck and then to more challenging portrait with hands project.

3 Lessons 8h 35m 32s of videos

Level 1

Level 2

In this famous assignment from the Repin Academy you will be drawing a portrait from life (or from provided reference) at a large scale over stretched paper. You will be introducing the hands and the upper body into your work, requiring more planning and development of the composition in this challenging project.

Common Questions

What is the Russian/Iliya Repin drawing method?

The "Russian" or "Repin" drawing method refers to the drawing approach taught at the Repin Academic Institute of Fine Arts (former Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts). Seldom taught outside of Russia, the “imperial” drawing and painting method was uninterrupted by the modern art movements that transformed representational art in the West. This training has been preserved from one generation to the next within an institution which has changed remarkably little over the last 250 years. In modern parlance we  would describe this approach as a hybrid between constructive and optical or graphic approaches.

Can I take this course if I'm new to drawing?

Before beginning this course we recommend that you at least take Fundamentals of Observational Drawing and the Anatomy of the Head & Neck courses with instructor Iliya Mirochnik.

Where can I find more information about the materials and supports?
How is this approach different from sight-size academic methods?

Sight-size is a primarily optical and observational drawing approach where the value patterns as they fall on the eye are transferred in 1:1 scale from life to the paper or canvas. The Russian approach is observational as well but it also utilizes construction which produces a more three-dimensional and solid look.

Isn't this part of another course on New Masters Academy?

Yes, this course is the first part of the Complete Russian Drawing Program. Because of the course's massive size we have split it into individual courses. If you want to do the entire Russian Drawing Program click here.

How does the coaching program work?

The NMA Coaching program provides professional art mentors to students. The coaches develop personalized curriculum and guide students in their artistic development. Availability is limited. Learn more here.

If I am not enrolled in coaching, what other ways can I get feedback?

If you're not in the coaching program you can still share your progress with other subscribers in the NMA Community Forums. We highly encourage students to work together on projects and help each other progress.

Is there more information available about this course?

You can read a description of this course by New Masters Academy founder Joshua Jacobo here.

If I want to study this program full-time, in person how would do that?

You would need to travel to Saint Petersburg and study at the Repin Academy. You can learn more here.

Can I take this course digitally (Photoshop, Procreate, etc)?

Like all New Masters Courses you can follow along digitally with a tablet. Because software and digital  drawing and painting techniques change quickly, you will need to decide how to interpret the information presented into your drawing application of choice. We recommend avoiding drawing layers, undo, automatic line straightening or clean up or other shortcuts for this course.