3D Portraits with Paper Layers

A course by Ale Rambar , Visual Artist

Visual Artist. San José, Costa Rica.
Joined September 2016

Learn to use paper to create three-dimensional compositions with topographical techniques

  • Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 99% positive reviews (178)
  • 3628 students

Learn to use paper to create three-dimensional compositions with topographical techniques

A course by Ale Rambar

What would human bodies be like if we transformed them into a topographic map? Costa Rican architect and visual artist, Ale Rambar, discovered an innovative form of expression in the topographic technique. Using layers of paper, he crafts portraits and sculptures of the human body to address topics about gender equality, tolerance, and respect for the environment. His work was used by the Costa Rican Olympic team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and he designed the EU Award for Gender Equality Champions in Costa Rica. He was also selected to represent his country at the Beijing International Art Biennale.

In this online course, learn to create a portrait with volume using layers of paper. See how to calculate and cut each layer before assembling and painting them to build a work of art with relief. By the end, you'll be able to apply this versatile technique to make models, lettering pieces, illustrations, and any kind of 3D art you can imagine.

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What will you learn in this online course?

14 lessons & 9 downloads

All on paper
8 minutes, 25 seconds
Tools: cutting and pasting
6 minutes, 14 seconds
Materials: watercolor
2 minutes, 32 seconds
Drawing of the work (part 1)
16 minutes, 56 seconds
Drawing of the work (part 2)
12 minutes, 51 seconds
Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 99% positive reviews (178)
  • 3628 students
  • 14 lessons (2h 15m)
  • 9 additional resources (4 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

What is this course's project?

Plan, design and create a 45 x 45 cm three-dimensional composition using layers of paper cut and painted by hand.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

Artists, designers, illustrators, architects, and anyone interested in creating artwork with layers of paper.

Requirements and materials

No previous knowledge is required, but any experience with serial planes or Adobe Illustrator will be helpful.

As for materials, you need watercolor paper, parchment paper and cardboard, graphite and colored pencils, colored pens, markers, brushes, watercolors, scalpels, scissors and a cutter, and double-sided tape or different kinds of glue.


3628 Students
178 Reviews
99% Positive ratings

Ale Rambar

A course by Ale Rambar

Teacher Plus
Visual Artist

Ale Rambar is a Costa Rican artist whose work is based on the topographic analysis of the human form through three-dimensional compositions made with layers of paper.

Just as a surveyor would analyze mountains, valleys, or rivers, he creates his artwork by analyzing human bodies topographically. Each piece is cut separately, layer by layer, and then assembled by hand—a visual representation to address topics such as tolerance and respect.


  • U1


    • Hello, my name is Ale!
    • My artistic work
    • What will we do during the course?
  • U2

    Materials and tools

    • All on paper
    • Tools: cutting and pasting
    • Materials: watercolor
  • U3

    Creation of the work

    • Drawing of the work (part 1)
    • Drawing of the work (part 2)
    • Traced on paper
    • Paper cut
    • Bonding the layers
  • U4

    Conservation of the work

    • Painting your work (part 1)
    • Painting your work (part 2)
    • Bonus track: Framed
  • FP

    Final project

    • 3D portraits with paper layers

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 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 member, when you complete a course you've purchased, 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.
3D Portraits with Paper Layers. Craft course by Ale Rambar

3D Portraits with Paper Layers

A course by Ale Rambar
Visual Artist. San José, Costa Rica.
Joined September 2016
  • 99% positive reviews (178)
  • 3628 students