SEND Artist demonstration: 3 ways to challenge yourself

Don’t know where to start with drawing? Artist Curtis Holder has three portrait drawing challenges for you. They may seem tricky at first, but they are also a lot of fun. Your drawings might surprise you! The challenges will help you come up with some interesting lines, marks and shapes.


  • I’m Curtis Holder. I’m an artist. And I’m going to show you three ways that you might like to challenge yourself as an artist.

    Now, you’ll probably need some paper, pencils, a rubber and a sharpener.

    I like drawing in pencils, and so do many other artists, just like Frank Auerbach.

    Challenge yourself to draw a face from your imagination without taking your pencil off the paper. It’s tricky, but it is fun. Let’s have a look.

    And you’ll find that you might have to go over the same lines over and over again. But that’s all right. It makes the drawing I think, way more interesting.

    Shall I give this person hair? I think I will. What kind of hair? Not really sure. Erm...Maybe...I’m going to give them glasses. I hope I didn’t take my pencil off the paper.

    This time, I’m going to challenge myself to draw a portrait upside down. I think I’m going to start with the nose.

    I’m going to make tiny eyes this time. I’ve missed out the eyebrows. Let’s make them quite hairy eyebrows. These are very big ears. But that’s okay. I know, I might give this person a moustache that might grow into a massive beard. But I can’t forget his mouth. I think we’re there.

    We’ve got eyes, eyebrows, ears, nose, spirally beard. I think we did it. Now I’m going to give myself another challenge. This is going to be quite tricky. I’m going to try and draw a portrait with the hand that I don’t normally use. Let’s start with the ears.

    Now, drawing with the hand that you don’t normally draw with always feels a little strange at first.

    But once you get going, it is so much fun. Drawing with a hand that you don’t normally draw with, you can make some really interesting marks that you don’t normally make. Which kind of look quite funny. Wow. That felt a little bit weird, but I really liked that.

    These are three ways that I have chosen to challenge myself. Now it’s your turn to give it a go.

Learning objectives

  1. Pick up tips from a portrait artist.
  1. Discover creative warm-up ideas.
  1. Build confidence in drawing.

You will need

  • Paper
  • Pencils and/or charcoal
  • Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener