Best seller

Realistic Portrait with Graphite Pencil

A course by Diego Catalan Amilivia
Painter and Drawer. Madrid, Spain.
Joined November 2017
, Painter and Drawer

Learn the basics and technique to create realistic anatomical drawings

  • Best seller English, Spanish
  • 99% positive reviews (4.6K)
  • 119726 students

Learn the basics and technique to create realistic anatomical drawings

English, Spanish
  • 99% positive reviews (4.6K)
  • 119726 students
  • 35 lessons (9h 30m)
  • 27 additional resources (8 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English, Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Painter and expert anatomy artist Diego Catalán is as passionate about realism as he is about fantasy and horror. His incredible portraits emerge from this eclectic mix as well as the inspiration he draws from the classical masters. Diego works with a range of techniques, but finds the greatest expression in graphite as it allows him to work in maximum detail and with an understanding of the light and structure of the human anatomy.

In this course, learn how to draw a realistic portrait in pencil using a model. Diego explains a wide range of technical concepts, from composition and the anatomy of the head, to modeling and adding texture. Discover all the skills you need to make your own realistic portrait with graphite.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Materials and preparation
  • U3
    U3. The drawing
  • U4
    U4. Modeling and texturing
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Start the course by getting to know Diego's work. He also tells you about his favorite artists, giving you a tour through the history of portraiture.

He goes through the materials you need for your final project and gives you some tips for choosing your model and the best way to compose the photograph to facilitate the drawing process.

Then get straight to work learning the fundamental principles of academic drawing to help you draw the silhouette of your portrait and begin your first sketch.

Next, Diego teaches you to analyze the proportions of the face from a theoretical point of view and you begin to consider scale and proportion.

Study the bone structure of your model's skull as well as muscle structure. Now it’s time to carefully detail each facial feature.

Once your portrait is down on paper, apply two-dimensional shadows. Diego goes into detail about the physics of light and its properties, before moving onto the modeling phase designed to bring realistic volume to your portrait.

Finish up by applying textures to your drawing, including hair, wrinkles, and pores, etc.

What is this course's project?

Compose a realistic drawing with graphite pencil from a photograph of a real model.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

Illustrators, drawers, designers, and anyone interested in doing realistic drawings with graphite pencils.

Requirements and materials

Basic drawing knowledge is necessary for this course.

In terms of materials, all you need is a pencil and some paper. An easel or board, a range of different grade pencils, an eraser, a stick, and a mirror are also recommended but not essential.


119726 Students
4584 Reviews
99% Positive ratings

Diego Catalan Amilivia

Teacher Plus
Painter and Drawer

Diego Catalán graduated in fine arts from the University of Salamanca with a major in painting and completed postgraduate studies at the Art Students League and at the National Academy of Design in New York. He has spent more than a decade combining his artistic work with the teaching of artistic anatomy at the Escuela Superior de Dibujo Profesional in Madrid.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • Influences
    • History of portrait, evolution and types - I
    • History of the portrait, evolution and types - II
  • U2

    Materials and preparation

    • Materials
    • Choose your model
    • The photo
  • U3

    The drawing

    • Concepts of academic drawing - I
    • Concepts of academic drawing - II
    • The size, scale and composition
    • Face proportions
    • We draw the inside of the face
    • Anatomy: Advanced skull, neck and shoulder osteology - I
    • Anatomy: Advanced osteology of the skull, neck and shoulders - II
    • Structure analysis: perspective and 3D shape - I
    • Structure analysis: perspective and 3D shape - II
    • Surface anatomy: facial features and muscles - I
    • Surface anatomy: Factions and muscles of the face - II
    • Surface anatomy: Factions and muscles of the face - III
    • Introduction of the shadow 2D - I
    • Introduction of the 2D shadow - II
    • Introduction of the shadow 2D - III
    • Introduction of the shadow 2D - IV
  • U4

    Modeling and texturing

    • The physics of light - I
    • The physics of light - II
    • Modeling - I
    • Modeling - II
    • Modeling - III
    • Modeling - IV
    • Modeling - V
    • Texturing and finishing touches - I
    • Texturing and finishing touches - II
    • Texturing and finishing touches - III
    • Texturing and final touches - IV
    • Texturing and final touches - V
  • FP

    Final project

    • Realistic portrait with graphite pencil

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific 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 teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Realistic Portrait with Graphite Pencil. Illustration course by Diego Catalan Amilivia Best seller

Realistic Portrait with Graphite Pencil

A course by Diego Catalan Amilivia
Painter and Drawer. Madrid, Spain.
Joined November 2017
  • 99% positive reviews (4.6K)
  • 119726 students