Best Seller

Chiaroscuro Creative Portrait with Pencils

A course by Marco Mazzoni
Artist and Illustrator. Voghera, Italy.
On Domestika since 10/04/2019
, Artist and Illustrator

Revisit a classical method to breathe new life into your drawings

  • Best Seller
  • 96% Positive reviews (273)
  • 4030 students
  • Audio: English
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German
Chiaroscuro Creative Portrait with Pencils

Revisit a classical method to breathe new life into your drawings

  • 96% Positive reviews (273)
  • 4030 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: English
  • Level: Intermediate
  • 13 Lessons (1h 3m)
  • Available from the app
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German
  • Unlimited access forever

Mastering the use of color and contrast in creative portraits is key to transmitting the story behind your drawings. Marco Mazzoni is an expert when it comes to evoking emotion in his work, drawing inspiration from personal experiences and classical techniques, such as Chiaroscuro.

In this course, Marco will teach you how to convey the tone of your work by walking you through the use of Chiaroscuro in pencil portraits and sharing his step by step coloring method.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Preparation
  • U3
    U3. Chiaroscuro and Basic Colour
  • U4
    U4. Colours
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Start the course by getting to know Marco and how his passion for drawing with pencils began, along with some interesting anecdotes about his artistic career so far.

Discover why he has always preferred to use pencils for his work, and how he implements Chiaroscuro in his portraits to set a mood and command the viewer’s attention in an instant.

Marco explains the important role that sketching has in shaping your work. He then describes how to plan a portrait, starting from the concept and choice of elements in your illustration.

Learn how to balance your use of shadows and light with the Chiaroscuro technique to create more balanced compositions.

Get a clear understanding of how to plan and layer your colors to convey a stronger concept through your choice of color, and how your color selection can give either a contemporary or classical feel to your portrait. Learn how effective a small palette can be by analyzing work from Marco’s favorite artists.

Finally, Marco shares his expert tips on how to quickly compose portraits and guides you through the finishing touches of your creative portrait drawing.

What is this course's project?

Draw a creative Chiaroscuro portrait using colored pencils.

Projects by course students

Who is it for?

This course is for anyone who wants to improve their illustrations using pencils by implementing Chiaroscuro in their portraits. Experienced illustrators will obtain a new methodology to apply shading and color, giving more balance and emotion to their work. Novice illustrators will discover how to plan and layer their work, and get a better understanding of how to compose a creative portrait.

What you need

Previous experience in drawing portraits with pencils is not required to do this course, but it is advisable to have some basic knowledge of illustration techniques.

As for utilities, all you will need are colored pencils and paper.


4030 Students
273 Reviews
96% Positive ratings

Marco Mazzoni

A course by Marco Mazzoni

Artist and Illustrator

Marco Mazzoni’s passion for drawing began at the age of 5, sketching on every piece of paper he could find while waiting for his father to finish working at the paper mill. Pencils have always been his favorite medium of expression.

Experimenting with the boundaries of fine art using pencils has been a passion of Marco’s since he was a student. He tells a compelling story through his pencil portraits, drawing inspiration from Sardinian mysticism and the plants that he began sketching as a boy.

Marco’s recent achievements include illustrating for the French publishing house Albin Michel Jeunesse, in an illustrated version of the Hans Christian Andersen classic Poucette, where he takes the reader on a captivating journey through his use of color and texture. His work is exhibited in galleries and museums across Europe and North America.


  • U1


    • Introduction (About Me)
    • Influences
    • What We Will Do on the Course
  • U2


    • The Importance of Sketching
    • Planning the Portrait: Conceptualization and Choice of Elements
    • Composition + Basic Lines
  • U3

    Chiaroscuro and Basic Colour

    • Chiaroscuro (Black & White) - Theory
    • Chiaroscuro (Black & White) - Practice
    • Second Colour Base
  • U4


    • Itten Circle and Optional Choice of Colours
    • Applying First Colour
    • Applying Second Colour
    • Applying Finishing Touches
  • FP

    Final project

    • Creative portraying with pencils

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

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Chiaroscuro Creative Portrait with Pencils. A Illustration course by Marco Mazzoni Best Seller

Chiaroscuro Creative Portrait with Pencils

A course by Marco Mazzoni
Artist and Illustrator. Voghera, Italy.
On Domestika since 10/04/2019
  • 96% Positive reviews (273)
  • 4030 students