Watercolor Portraits

Mondays, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Instructor: Aki Kano

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, light and shadow, as well as proportion, and the nuances of capturing facial features.

The curriculum will first focus on fundamentals as we will review the best materials to use as well as foundational exercises to develop brush control, color mixing, and tonal values.  Then 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.

Spring I (8 weeks): March 4th – April 29th

No class April 1st

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

No classes Friday May 24th – Monday May 27th

Mondays 12:30pm- 2:30pm (7 Classes)
May 6th – June 24th, no class May 27th


To inquire, email [email protected] with your name, email address, phone number, and class you are interested in.

If we have availability in our Spring 2 Classes, we will reach out to our waitlists in April! Due to the popularity of our classes, we offer priority enrollment for current students to continue their class. Many students find that they want to continue their class beyond their initial session. If any spots become available in a class, or if a student is ready to move up, we are then able to offer registration to new students, starting with those on our waitlist.

Open Registration starts April 15th

To receive a discount, pay via Venmo, Zelle, cash, or check!

Click here for the 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: https://www.dickblick.com/products/winsor-newton-professional-watercolor-tubes/ 
      • 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.