Non-Symbolic Portrait Drawing is  SOLD OUT/Wait List Available.

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Figure Drawing in the 21st Century

Anthony Ryder is the author of The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing ( He studied drawing and painting with Ted Seth Jacobs in New York and France from 1983 to 1989. He began teaching in 1985 and has since taught thousands of students in the US and Europe. Learn more
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.
All Levels Welcome

#304/Geo Studio, 3rd Floor
Gage Capitol Hill

  • Paper: Strathmore 400 Drawing, medium surface…18″ x 24″ pad
  • Pencils: Three each: HB, B, 2B, 3B
  • Drawing Clips: 2 each: Lion #50 Extra Large Grip Clip
  • Drawing Board: For 18” x 24” pads: 19 1/2” x 25 1/2” piece of 1/2” foam core
  • Erasers:
    • 1 white plastic Maped Epure eraser
    • 1 small kneaded eraser (Prismacolor, General’s, Design, etc.)
    • 1 Tombow MONO Zero Eraser, Round 2.3 mm
  • Brush for dusting eraser crumbs
  • Pencil box
  • X-ACTO #1 knife w/#11 blades (or similar)
  • Mahl stick (if you work standing at an easel), or: Drawing bridge: 14” x 3” piece of 1/2” foam core with 2” x 2” foam core feet glued to either end (if you work seated, with the bottom edge of the drawing board resting on your knees, and the back of the drawing board resting against a stool in front of you)
  • 1 sheet – 150 grade sandpaper
Non-Symbolic Drawing represents what we see with our eyes, not substituting ideograms, like present day ‘emojis’. In learning to draw non-symbolically we develop an understanding of the building blocks of visual experience: the form of things, and the light by means of which we see this form. In nature, and in the human figure and portrait in particular, there is a certain wonderfully beautiful kind of formal structure about which there has for centuries been a special knowledge and language. We who practice the art of drawing from life study this knowledge. 

Non-Symbolic Portrait Drawing is based on the understanding of form and light. It is a methodical way of processing and representing our perception of the appearance of the model. Through the agency of light, information literally shines from the model. We learn how to format and sequentialize that information, and bring it into our drawing one pencil stroke at a time.  
In this portrait workshop Tony demonstrates the drawing process from start to finish. Beginning with the basic skill of point-to-point vision, and working from general to specific, he shows how he constructs the block-in of the portrait. Proceeding from the large shapes of head, neck and shoulders, he demonstrates the derivation of the lesser shapes. He explains the logic of the internal curve. He describes in great detail the features and forms of the head and how they fit together. He shows how to refine the block-in and derive the contour. He illustrates the manifestation of light and shadow and demonstrates the methods of hatching and cross-hatching. He builds the tonal drawing upon the solid foundation of the block-in shape, unified by the perception of the organization of the form of the model and the coherent action of the light. 
Suitable for all levels but especially designed to give beginners a solid foundation in basic drawing practice and principle. Also an excellent refresher for intermediate and advanced students.
View Anthony Ryder’s other workshop: Figure Drawing in the 21st Century