Block Sketching / Drawing for Oil Painting

Updated: Oct 4

Rad Educators is a 1-year program intended to help beginner artists learn step-by-step techniques from professional artists across different mediums. This is in no way sponsored or promoted by any particular Art Brand.

Nilisha Phad is Rad Educator for Oil Painting - Portrait.


In this tutorial, you'll learn the in-depth process of an initial sketch/drawing that is to be done before starting an oil portrait. Here are some steps and pointers to keep in mind when drawing :


  • When drawing the head of a person, it is essential to study the alignment of the features of a person. 

  • To do the same sketching on a daily basis from a live model ( it may be a friend or a family member) is necessary. Sketching from a 3-dimensional person will improve the study of facial features.

  • The process of “ Blocking “ requires such tools. The following are examples of a “block sketch”.

  • The importance of a “block sketch “ before painting is such that it-


1.) Helps register the model’s features in our mind which are later revised again while painting.  2.) It is a preliminary study to study shadow and light which later makes it easier to paint. 3.) It is a study of dimensions and planes of a person's features.  4.) The purpose of a block sketch is to see the subject in the form of “ masses “ instead of focusing on the smaller details right away which hinders the process of studying dimensions. Without proper dimensions, a sketch will look flat. 

These points should be remembered each time one sketches. A sketch is like a “mock exam paper “ before you solve the final exam paper. Both are equally important and complement each other. They are interdependent and together help in the process of creating a painting. 


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