Course Code SC1804250
Tutor Toby Wiggins
Dates Monday - Friday, 19th August - 23rd August 2019
Days 5
Times 10.00am – 5.00pm
Experience Level Advanced
Fee £395
Location The Art Academy, 165A Mermaid Court, SE1 1HR

This five-day portrait painting course will offer an opportunity for intensive study under the tuition of Toby Wiggins RP. There are many ways to make a successful portrait painting; Toby prefers not to prescribe a particular method, manner or technique, but rather to re-examine the fundamentals underpinning the language of painting and drawing with particular attention to the challenges of portraiture. During the course you will discuss examples of great portraiture, and look at issues around materials – paints, mediums and supports. You will gain a better understanding of what constitutes ‘likeness’, unpicking and exploring drawing and mark-making, the anatomy of the head, composition, the relevance of scale and uses of tone and colour. Finally you will look at ways to move beyond ‘likeness’, towards personal intent and personal expression.

It’s an intensive five days that offer a high level of tutor contact time with Toby giving demonstrations, individual guidance, criticism and advice. The course aims to stimulate, refresh and advance your practice on an individual basis.

What level is this course?

This course is suitable for students at our Advanced level.

  • Advanced

    Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.

     Our Advanced courses include our Masterclasses.

Other course levels include:

  • Beginner

    Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Students spend time learning the very basics of the taught medium, for example, how to mix colours, use different tools, set up an easel. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience, they tend to follow a more structured path than our other courses, ensuring each student receives the guidance they need from the tutor.

  • Beginner +

    Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium, but still follow a structured path with guidance from the tutor.

  • Intermediate

    Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.

    These courses tend to be less structured and instead are tailored to the classes’ needs and the direction they want to advance in. Choose an Intermediate course if you are looking to improve your skills and have more critical discussions around the work you produce.

All attendees must be aged 18 or over.

What should I bring?

The following materials are requested by Toby Wiggins:
Day 1 – pencils between 2B – 7B, graphite sticks, conte pencils, charcoal, compressed charcoal. Eraser, sharpener/sharpening knife, small sketch book, drawing paper

From day 2 onwards:
Oil paint – to include alizarin crimson, cadmium red or scarlet lake, lemon yellow, viridian green, ultramarine blue, a violet and a white ( flake, zinc or titanium) and a black (mars/lamp). You should also include one or more of the following: yellow ochre, Paynes grey, Vandyke brown, brunt umber, raw umber or similar earth colour.
A selection of hog hair bristle brushes ranging in size from 0.5inch wide to 2inches wide (approx) plus larger ‘household’ brushes or varnishing brushes ( 3 or 4 “) and any other synthetic or sable brushes may have some use so bring them along if you own them.
a palette knife(s) various.
palette – wooden or glass or waxed paper
An oil – refined linseed, poppy, safflower
zest-it or ‘sans odour’ substitute for turpentine
cotton rags and an apron
Any additional material that you might want to try using such as – beeswax paste, marble dust, painting mediums such as ‘painting butter’ etc. They all have a use sometimes.

Day 2 students will need 2 small canvases or boards at 12” x 10”/ 30x25cm (approx) both with a mid grey ground applied over the whole surface of both. To be fully dry.

Day 3 students will need 4 canvases or boards (or 2 of each) at 12” x 10”/ 30x25cm and/or 16” x 14”/ 40x35cm (approx)
All 4 will be painted with coloured grounds on day 1 so as to dry for day 3.

Day 4/5 students will need 1 canvas or board at 16” x 14”/ 40x35cm (left from previous day) or larger up to
30” x 24”/ 75x60cm(approx)


You will need to bring your own painting materials to the class, which you can store at The Art Academy for the duration of the course. If you do not have your own materials, we recommend you order the one of the Painting Packs, below, at the time of booking, which will be available when you arrive for your first class. There is also a mini shop in the Academy that supplies the basics such as canvas boards, paints, Zest-it etc. (card purchases only).

The Academy is a white spirit and turpentine free environment and only odourless spirits, such as Zest-it or Sansodor, are permitted on the premises. These can also be recycled on site. If you are using oil paints you must bring 1 small jar with a lid to hold your solvent as this should be reused each week. If you want to dispose of your solvent please speak to your tutor as these cannot be poured down the sink and must be disposed of correctly. 

Please also bring an apron or old clothing to wear.

The Oil Pack contains:

A set of bristle brushes, both flat and round
One tear off palette (9”x12”)
One palette knife
One bottle of Zest-it (250ml)
One 10″x12″ canvas board
One 10″x14″ canvas board
Two 12″x16″ canvas boards
Eight Daler Rowney 38ml Georgian oil tubes of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Coeruleum Blue and Burnt Umber

Please note that pack contents are subject to change at the discretion of the Academy at any time.

About Your Tutor


Toby graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 1999. He has exhibited widely and won the Prince of Wales Drawing Award in 2005 and 2013, the Lynn Painter Stainers prize for Figurative painting in 2009 and has exhibited regularly at the RA summer show, BP Portrait Award and the Royal Society of Portrait painters, becoming a member in 2006 when he also won the BP Portrait Travel Award. Toby continues his practice in portraiture, undertaking a variety of commissions alongside excursions into landscape painting and teaching roles at the Arts University Bournemouth and Heatherleys School of Art.


Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street
London SE1 1HR
tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Borough (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough High Street”.

Art Academy Map

Refreshments and Facilities

All students have access to a common room and kitchen. Here you will find tea and coffee, a fridge, kettle, microwave and eating area.

There is a wealth of supermarkets, shops and cafes in the area as well as the world famous Borough Food Market just moments from our Mermaid Court location.

We are always striving to improve our facilities but due Mermaid Court being an old building we have limited disability access. Should you have any access requirements please speak to a member of the Academy team before booking the course.

Further Details

  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment.Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.
  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be booked on our Materials Page or on this page when you book the course.
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork at the Academy MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silentduring the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you at the beginning of your class.
  • Sometimes our photographer will pop in to get some of our classes in progress. If you would like to not be photographed please let the photographer know!
  • To find out more about what’s going on at the Academy follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’d like to share images of your course, your progress or your finished work we’d love to see them! Please bear in mind you must have the permission of tutors, other students and models to photograph them.
  • If you would like more information or advice on courses at the Academy please contact

From: £395.00