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“Before I started, I really didn’t think this was for me. And now I look at people thinking ‘Can I draw you?’. It’s addictive!”


Illustrative portraits, what are they?
When we start drawing people, we often think of life-like portraits. It must be an exact match, otherwise the drawing will feel like a failure. Pooh, that’s quite a high bar to reach! That’s why I find it much more fun to make so-called illustrative portraits. With these portraits you draw a person (from a photograph for example), but it doesn’t have to look exactly like the original. The main thing is that you draw recognizable elements. And most importantly: it’s easier to start with and therefore you will hopefully enjoy it more!


What will you learn in the course?

In 5 lessons and 2 bonus videos we will work on the following topics:

  • Lesson 1: Tips & tricks on using alcohol markers
  • Lesson 2: Facial features, proportions and how to illustrate them
  • Lesson 3: Sketch a portrait using reference pictures
  • Lesson 4: Add color to your illustration with alcohol markers
  • Lesson 5: Combine alcohol markers with other materials
  • Bonus videos: 4 extra portraits from start to finish

“Very fun and informative course! Nienke explains and shows everything very clearly. You are immediately inspired to get started yourself!”


What materials do I need?
I work with alcohol markers in this course. These markers are great for coloring and illustrating. They ensure for vibrant colors, evenly colored areas, great blending and the possibility to give lots of depth by layering.

Pakket alcoholmarkers Splendith Winsor Newton

Maybe you’ve already worked with these markers before or maybe they are still new to you? During this workshop you will get smart tips & tricks on how to get the best results and how to combine the markers with other materials.

What you also need is a pencil, (kneading) eraser, fineliner and paper. You can use whichever brands and colors you prefer. As I am very enthusiastic about the quality of Winsor & Newton, I will be working with the following materials in this course:

  • Winsor & Newton Promarkers
    (colors O518 / O225 / O324 / Y156 / G657 / V264 / B637 / CG0 / CG7)
  • W&N fineliner 0.3 (sepia color)
  • W&N ‘Bristol Board Extra Smooth Drawing’ paper


Want to purchase all of these materials at once? You can!
Together with the webshop Splendith I created a special package for this course. As soon as you register, you will receive a unique discount code for a 10% discount on this package! You will also receive 4 templates that you can use to practice with the portraits and drawing people from head to toe.


Can you take the course with other materials (such as watercolor or pencil)?
Part of the course is about drawing portraits in general. For example about the proportions of a face, where shadows fall and how to use reference pictures. So those lessons definitely can be followed with other materials! Part of the course is specifically about the use of alcohol markers. But who knows, maybe it will also inspire you to try these markers out sometime?


“Nienke explains crystal clear how to draw portraits, how alcohol based markers work and how to color your work. There’s only one problem: you get hooked! I can’t wait for a sequel to this.”


What level is this course for?
The course is most suitable for beginners and intermediate level. You will learn about facial proportions, sketching a face from a reference photo, working with alcohol markers and coloring your portrait layer by layer.

If you have drawn portraits before, then drawing a face is of course familiar territory for you. But maybe working with alcohol markers is completely new to you? In doubt whether the course is something for you? Feel free to send me an email.


When and how often can I watch the lessons?
After purchasing, you have immediate access to all videos for 6 months. During this period you can watch the lessons as often as you want! You join the lessons in the online platform of this shop. The videos are pre-recorded, so you can watch them whenever and wherever suits you best!


“I’ve wanted to draw portraits for sooooo long, but I was really dreading this! Can I really do this? Nienke has really helped me get over this fear. With her clear explanation of the proportions it is suddenly not so scary anymore!”


Illustrative portraits by Nienke VletterHow much time will the course take me?
There are 5 lessons in total. The lessons last 20 to 25 minutes on average. The bonus videos together take more than an hour. And then you’ve also got the homework assignments after each video!
If you want to get the most out of the course, I recommend you to watch the lessons one by one. Draw along with the video exercises and then take a few days to do the homework. Even if you already know some things: extra practice is always good! It’s also nice to give your brain a break in between and practice a few times before moving on to the next lesson. So if you take your time, you’ll be at it for a few weeks. Or even longer if you are like me and get totally addicted to drawing portraits ;)!


Will I get feedback on my homework?
No, this course does not include that. I know that feedback can be very nice, but this also takes a lot of time to give to everyone personally. I would then have to increase the price of the course and I want to keep it more accessible. Therefore I have chosen not to give personal feedback with this course.

Do you have a specific question about a particular class? You can! You can ask your question below every lesson in the online platform. Every week on Monday (except when I’m on holiday) I will answer all questions there. This way all participants can read the answers and learn together.

“I can’t draw at all, but I am immensely proud of my portrait! It almost feels bizarre. What a lovely tutorial, I’m really getting the hang of it.”


cursus Illustratieve karakters Nienke Vletter

Do you have any other courses?
Yes, in the course Illustrative Characters we are going to draw people from head to toe. We’ll start with the proportions of the body. Then I’ll show you how to easily put each pose on paper with a few clever tricks.

Do you want to join both courses? Buy the combo pack and get a 20 euro discount! You then pay 65 euros per course instead of 75 euros. You can use the material package for both courses.

Want to learn more about illustration, hand lettering, composition, urban sketching and watercolors? You might want to check out the online course Sketch Journaling. I’ve created with my colleague Anne from @goudenlijntjes.

For the Dutch speaking people:
Zijn de cursussen ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar?
Jazeker, klik hier voor de Nederlandse cursusomgeving.


I have another question about the course.
Is your question not listed here? Send an email to hello@nienkevletter.com and you will receive a response within 2 working days. Preferably not via Instagram or Facebook, because those messages sometimes get lost among all the notifications :).

Course Curriculum

Ready to get started? 00:05:00
Lesson 1 – Getting started with alcohol markers 00:20:00
Lesson 2 – The features that make up a face 00:25:00
Lesson 3 – Sketching and reference photos 00:20:00
Lesson 4 – Time for color! 00:20:00
Lesson 5 – The fun little extra’s 00:15:00
Now it’s your turn 00:05:00
Bonus videos 00:45:00

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