All Levels Watercolor Portraits

Not Running this Spring. Retuning this August- registration opening soon.


Instructor: Aki Kano

Open to those with experience as well as beginners, discover the art of capturing the essence and unique beauty of people and animals.  Learn the fundamental techniques and principles of watercolor painting specifically tailored for portraiture.  Through a series of structured lessons and hands-on demos, you will gain understanding of composition, color, light and shadow, as well as proportion, and the nuances of capturing facial features.

The curriculum will first focus on fundamentals of watercolor painting as we will review the best materials to use as well as foundational exercises to develop brush control, color mixing, and tonal values.  Then Aki will go over the basics of the face and its structure as well as the placement of the main features.  We will transition to exploring the intricacies of portraiture, studying how to mix flesh tones, render fur, and add fine details to the face.  Aki will demonstrate the step-by-step process of portraiture, from composing the initial sketch to building layers of pigment, delicately blending colors, and painting the details.  

Current Session: Spring 2

Spring 2 (8 Weeks): May 5th – June 28th

No class Friday May 24th – Monday May 27th in observance of Memorial Day.

This class is not running for the Spring 2 session. Please see the Summer Session Tab for more info.

To get early access to enrollment for the next session, email [email protected]. Learn more about our early access list here.

Upcoming Session: Summer

Summer Session

Pottery: July 7th – August 30th
Art Summer 1: July 8th – August 2nd
Art Summer 2: August 5th – August 30th

Summer 2 ONLY:
Instructor: Aki Kano
Mondays, 3:00pm – 5:00 pm*
NOTE: This class will not run during the Summer 1 session!
*please note time change.


Early Access opening June 3rd. Online registration will open June 5th.
To get early access to enrollment for this upcoming session, email [email protected]. Learn more about our early access list here.

Suggested Watercolor Portraits Materials List

  • Please note that these are *suggested* materials, specific to Aki’s class. Students with more experience are welcome to incorporate their own materials. Most of the supplies may be purchased at Jerry’s Artarama, Blick, or can be purchased online at other art stores or Amazon.
  • PAPER: The singularly most important element. I recommend Arches paper, in block or sheet formats:
    • Blocks: 140pd. Cold-Pressed paper, in 9×12”, 10×14”, 12×16” size or any size you prefer
    • Sheets: 300pd Cold-Pressed sheets, in 22×30” size. These sheets can be divided into 2 or 4 smaller sheets, and the 300pd weight makes stretching on a small scale unnecessary.
  • PAINTS: I recommend a limited palette of nine Winsor & Newton professional grade colors:
    • 5 Warm Colors: Winsor Red and Winsor Yellow; Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna; and Permanent Rose
    • 5 Cool Colors: Winsor Blue Green Shade and Winsor Blue Red Shade**; Hookers Green; and Paynes Grey, Winsor Violet
    • You can find 5ml individual tubes in each color here: 
      • The Winsor colors are staining and transparent, which makes for excellent washes and glazing.
  • MASKING: The best, by far is Nichiban Tape for borders (recommended width is 24 mm).
  • PENCILS: I recommend Mars-Staedtler Mechanical Pencils and Rotary Sharpeners with 3H, 2H and 6H Faber Castel leads, although traditional pencils and sharpeners are fine if you prefer.
  • PALETTE and MIXING PANS: Best, but more expensive, is the white ceramic rectangular palette and small round mixing pans called ‘China Nest’.
    • Plastic equivalents are OK but very light and so less stable, especially outdoors.
  • BRUSHES: Please do not spend a fortune on brushes; you do not need Winsor & Newton Series 7!
    • Winsor & Newton also has a great and inexpensive line, Artists Watercolor Brushes. Or choose a brand you like. Utrecht, Blick, and Jerry’s Artarama carry many lines.
    • I recommend brushes that have a mix of synthetic and sable tips.
    • 1” Flat; #4, #6, #10 Rounds
  • OTHER:
    • Kneaded Eraser; 2 small water holders or cups; Viva Paper Towels or small rag/towel; 12” ruler or 9 or 10” Triangle.