How to Paint Portraits in Oil Course

Skill Level: 2 Intermediate, 3 Advanced
Medium: Oil Painting
Subject: Portraits
Tutor: Nolan Clark
Course Length: 12 Hours


(6 customer reviews)

Course Description

Learn how to paint realistic portraits in oil and acrylic

Learn to paint realistic portraits like Renoir

Renoir is one of the most famous portrait artists of all time. Yet when Renoir first started on his journey to learn how to paint portraits realistically he made pretty much every mistake in the book.

As the years progressed however he gradually learned the secrets required to paint lifelike portraits. Here you can see the difference between his first and later attempts:

In this course you will follow in the footsteps of Renoir which learning to paint realistic faces.

During the course you will see what mistakes Renoir made and what you can do to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.

The course consists of short and sharp theory lessons as well as full length paint along practical classes.

This will allow you to understand what you are painting so that after the course you will also be able to paint realistic portraits of ANYBODY, just like Renoir could.

You will start your journey by learning…

Part 1


Learn how to construct the face using only one measurement – the width of the eye!

Believe it or not this is the only measurement you need in order to draw anybody from a front or side view. In these intro lessons you will learn how easy it is to do this.

How to paint the eye

You will learn a little about the anatomy of the eye so that you know what to look out for when painting it.

We then go ahead and paint the eye step by step.

Part 2

Perspective and Light

In part 2 you will learn how perspective and light affect how we see and paint the features of the face. You will learn all about planes and the correct direction in which to place your brush strokes.
How to paint the nose

Painting a realistic nose is thought to be the hardest part of a portrait. In these lessons you will learn that this is not the case at all. All you need to do is adhere to a few basic principles and you will be able to paint a perfect nose every time.

If you don’t know or adhere to these principles however your entire portrait will look flat.

Part 3


Sadly you can’t just paint any image of the face. If you don’t get the composition correct, then the final painting will not look very good. In this part you will learn exactly what to do in order to compose your portraits correctly.

How to paint the mouth

We then move on to take a look at what we need to look out for when painting the mouth, including how to make the colour of the lips look natural instead of like they have lipstick on then.

You will then paint along as we show you how to paint the mouth realistically.


Part 4

Special effects

In these lessons you will learn how small details and lighting effects are the difference between a realistic and amateur portrait.

We show you how quickly spot and paint these effects in your portraits.

How to paint the ear

Renoir was afraid of painting ears. In the practical demonstrations, you will paint along as we show you an easy as pie technique to paint ears. Renoir would have loved to know this technique.

Part 5

How to paint hair

In these lessons you will learn the secrets use to paint realistic hair. You will learn how make it look like you have painted each hair, while in truth you have only created the illusion of each strand of hair.

You will learn the intricacies of painting the various hair colours as well.


Part 6

How to paint the foreheads

The forehead takes up a large amount of real estate on the face and is not difficult to paint, yet most artists do not paint it correctly making their entire painting look flat.

In these lessons you will learn what to look out for when painting foreheads and how to paint them correctly.

How to paint the cheek

This is another one of those features that most artists dismiss as not important, yet most of the illusion of distance is in the cheeks as they recede into the distance more than any other feature.

Knowing how to paint cheeks correctly will help to make the portrait appear three dimensional.

Part 7

How to paint chins

Learn how the shape of the jaw affects the look of the jaw. From there we do a series of chin studies so you can learn how to paint the various chin shapes.

How to paint wrinkles and blemishes

Not every person has perfectly smooth skin like a baby, so you need to know how to paint the various wrinkles and blemishes you find in a portrait.

In these lessons you will learn how to paint these wrinkles, freckles and blemishes.


Part 8


The background an important part of the portrait because you need to ensure it enhances the portrait instead of competing with it for attention.

In these lessons you will learn the correct way to adjust your backgrounds so that they help to bring your portraits to life.

Putting it all together

In this lesson you will be how to put all the pieces of the puzzles together to form a coherent and realistic portrait. You will learn the thought processes used from start to finish while painting so that you can do the same while painting your realistic faces.

ppear three dimensional.

Renoir’s Progress

We will then wrap up our journey with Renoir by taking a look at the progress he made over the years to get the portrait heaven.

You however will have cut years off this process by following the course.


6 reviews for How to Paint Portraits in Oil Course

  1. Laurel (verified owner)

    I love your tips and demonstrations of them! They really help fine tune your skill. I also enjoy the science behind each module as helps to rethink why you are using a technique and to express that technique properly to get the results you want. Thank you!

  2. Elizabeth Au (verified owner)

    It looks very challenging, but Nolan Clark taught me how to draw when I had no background whatsoever. I don’t doubt that I will soon be on my way painting portraits!

  3. Arthur cansdale (verified owner)

    very good

  4. Carolyne Munro (verified owner)

    I’m so happy with my purchase.
    I have purchased a few courses from Paint basket.
    Nolan is amazing ,always very helpful .
    His tutorials very easy to to follower and what I have learnt along the way is amazing.
    Thankyou Nolan

  5. sheila t. (verified owner)

    I’m only on the 7th lesson in the course and I’ve already learned more than I have in years of trying!! Can’t wait to see what I have in store next!! Nolan is such a GREAT teacher, he seems to intuitively know what needs to be repeated and stressed, but is not pedantic! I paint in acrylics but this works perfectly for me. It’s worth every dollar spent .

  6. Anonymous (verified owner)

    A good price for my budget .

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