Short courses


Portraiture: Drawing and Painting the Head (Summer School Short Course)

  • 60 hours
  • 2 weeks


This two-week course will develop your ability to represent the human head and allow you to build a body of work around a single subject.

The emphasis is on developing your drawing and painting skills through a practical approach to the study of portraiture.

The course runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. You'll also have the option of attending extra-curricular events such as talks and exhibitions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

This course is part of the annual summer school run by the Slade School of Fine Art at UCL.

Course content and structure

Initially you'll focus on investigative and analytical studies working directly from the head/model - these will include linear drawing and measurement and tonal studies.

You'll then move onto approaches that allow for more expressive potential. 

You'll explore colour and its interaction and relativity, as well as its role in the articulation of space and form. This will include looking at restricted colour palettes, scale, composition and cropping.

These structured, developmental studies - together with an exploration and preparation of supports and materials - will lead into a final three days of sustained painting. The ideas covered previously can be called on as needed.

You'll be be supported through individual tuition, informal discussion, slide talks and group critiques delivered by visiting figurative artists.

The course will conclude with a final group critique, during which the group's work throughout the two weeks will be discussed.

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for all levels of ability.


You can request an attendance certificate after completing the course. These can only be supplied during the year you take the course and can't be produced retrospectively.


This two-week course costs £800.

A 10% discount is available for UCL current students and staff. You'll be asked to enter your UPI number (available on your UCL ID card) when booking.

Course fees must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Only basic materials will be provided. Once you've been accepted onto the course you'll be sent details of the materials you'll need.

Slade Summer School

The Slade Summer School offers a unique opportunity for you to work within the studios and vibrant atmosphere of the Slade - a world-renowned school of fine art. 

You'll become part of a wider community of artists and will have a real sense of studying in an art school environment among Slade students and alumni. You'll test your abilities while learning new skills and different approaches to making art.

You can take part in a lively range of extra-curricular activities, including: 

  • art history lectures and artist talks introducing the varied contexts and histories of fine art
  • exhibition openings and talks by Slade undergraduate and postgraduate students about their work
  • a series of artists' projects run by Slade tutors, alumni and recently graduated student residents - you'll be invited into these studio spaces to discuss the works with the artists 

Evening events take place at 5pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

Take an extended programme of multiple courses

Many different one, two and three-week courses are available. You can build a personalised programme of study by taking a series of short courses over the ten-week period. 

Please call the Summer School team if you'd like do this - they have detailed knowledge of the curriculum and can help you plan a programme.

All the Summer School courses available are listed on the Slade website.

Further information

Read more about this course and others on the Slade website, which provides information about booking and cancellations.

Course team

All tutors are practising artists

All tutors are practising artists

Course leader: Kate Hopkins.

Learner reviews

"I really enjoyed the varied teaching we had from the tutors - each one with a different focus/expertise. Very helpful!"

Course information last modified: 29 Oct 2021, 11:16