Russian Drawing Course Part 8: The Skull

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    New Masters AcademyNew Masters Academy
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    The skull was a critical part of the learning process at the Repin academy. In this lesson, Iliya will break down the construction and anatomical features of the skull.

    You will start with a long pose drawing of the skull. Next, you will learn the anatomical points of the skull to aid in your construction. Finally, you will draw tumbling skulls from multiple directions.

    Students are encouraged to work from the NMA reference images and 3D viewer included on this page*.

    Join Ukrainian-born artist Iliya Mirochnik as he passes on a 250-year-old academic method preserved at the Repin Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia and seldom taught outside of the Academy and never before on camera.

    The Russian Academic drawing and painting approaches were uninterrupted by the modern art movements that transformed representational art in the West, and as a result, they provide a unique and clear lineage to the greater art traditions of the past. As a powerful approach that is both constructive and depictive, it combines the two methods that prevail in contemporary representational art.

    In these three drawing Courses, we have set out to condense the entire program, spanning over eight years into a logical, step-by-step procedure. We have made improvements and added resources and exercises to explicitly drive home the concepts that are required to work in this approach.

    We have also structured the course so that it is not only useful for professional and experienced artists but also artists with no drawing experience whatsoever.

    In the first part of our Russian Academic Drawing Course, Iliya taught you how to hone your fundamental drawing skills. In this next part, Head & Neck, you will undertake a new challenge: the portrait.

    In order to draw the complexity of nature we need to study all the anatomy that makes up the surface form of the head and neck.

    Head & Neck covers topics such as the structure of the skull, individual bones of the skull, deep muscles of the face, skeleton of the neck & shoulder girdle, muscles of the shoulder girdle, and the portrait drawing process.

    The New Masters Academy Coaching Program directly supports this Course. If you enroll in the coaching program, you can request an artist trained in the Russian Academic Method including Iliya Mirochnik himself. Click here to enroll in the Coaching Program.


    • Sanguine pencil
    • Piece of sanguine colored chalk
    • Vine charcoal
    • Charcoal pencil
    • Notebook
    • Graphite pencils
    • Kneaded and Hard Erasers
    • Sanding Block
    • Utility Knife
    • Roll of Paper, Smooth Sketchbook paper
    • Staples
    • Staple gun
    • Artist panel
    • Easel
    • Light source

    * Reference material is only available for premium subscriptions. If you don’t have premium access to the reference, you can pause the video when the reference is shown.

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    I would love to post some of my work and get feedback but this forum seems quite dead is there an instructor that follows these boards and answers questions/critiques?

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    No picture of the one ilya was using.

    The picture reference provided was different.

    Natalie MontelongoNatalie Montelongo
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    Hello riddlescn, I would highly recommend signing up for our Coaching Program!

    You can receive one-on-one mentorship from an NMA Coach,

    The Coach can offer critiques, guidance, a personalized lesson plan, and help you achieve your artistic goals!

    You can learn more about the program here:


    If you have any additional questions, feel free to email them over to">


    Thank you for being an NMA member! 🙂

    Brian, New Masters Academy
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    My apologies! The correct reference was just uploaded to the page.

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    Part 8, Video 10 is only 4:55 min long and cuts off abruptly while the instructor is talking about the center line. Not sure if this is intentional?

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    I noticed it too… I felt like that part was incomplete. 🙁

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    I really recomend the appsurgeOn 3d skull atlas app its a free app with a 3d skull with all the landmarks written on it .

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    thanks toobmuller, helpful link!

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    More refined rendered skull from the lesson.

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    Constructed skulls from imagination.

    Joshua JacoboJoshua Jacobo
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    Nice work, Joshua. My advice is to keep practicing, especially the difficult angles. If you can do dozens more of these and share your progress. Knowing the skull with pay off for life!

    Joshua JacoboJoshua Jacobo
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    Also, if you have any questions for Iliya we will be doing a livechat here at 3PM PDT:

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    Terminology video cuts off abruptly, as the above users pointed out. Considering this is seemingly crucial information, it should probably be remedied. I also noticed that a lot of videos on the site are way out of order or flat out missing whole pieces of anatomical information (looking at vilppu), resulting in incomplete and confusing lectures. Why is everything so disorganized?

    Joshua JacoboJoshua Jacobo
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    This section appears to be cut off but it isn’t actually. In the video Iliya starts another diagram then decides against it. It’s just there to introduce a some terms we use in the next section but since the awkward edit is causing confusion, I will ask Iliya if we can reshoot this digitally, or just provide a diagram instead.

    If you notice any videos out of order please let us know, specifically and we will fix. You can comment in the forums like this or email us and we will correct.

    For example you say Vilppu is missing anatomical info? Can you please be more specific?

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