Marvin Mattelson: Realistic Portrait Drawing

by Matthew Innis |


Marvin Mattelson is an international award winning artist and educator with over 40 years of experience. For three decades he was a highly acclaimed illustrator who’s client list included companies such as MTV, IBM, CBS, ABC & Dreamworks. He created cover art for Time, Newsweek, The Sunday NY Times, New York, Scientific American & Omni magazines, to name but a few. He also created movie posters for Martin Scorcese and The Cohn Brothers, album art for Frank Zappa and the Rolling Stones, as well as iconic subway posters for SVA. After stepping away from illustration, Marvin reinvented himself as a prominent portrait artist, garnering awards from various portrait societies and magazines. His subjects range from religious and corporate leaders to intimate family portrayals. Marvin was an original ARC Living Master. His paintings hang world-wide including in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution. He has been on the faculty at the School of Visual Arts since 1972 and has led workshops throughout the country.



What differentiates Marvin’s teaching, is that his goal is to transform you, his student, into the artist you were destined to become. In order to attain mastery, first you must learn to understand how a master thinks. Taking clues from his exhaustive research into the mindset of the great artists of the Western tradition, Marvin has created a rigorous course of study that allows his students to improve the quality of their work at an accelerated pace in a very concise timeframe. His methodology is based upon thinking strategically. Although Bouguereau, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Raeburn, Paxton, Vermeer and DeCamp each had their own unique signature styles, their approaches dovetail perfectly with Marvin’s teaching.



Whether your purpose is simply to draw more beautifully or to find a way to strengthen your paintings, a deeper understanding of the drawing process is critical. Drawing lies at the heart of all representational art. It involves far more than merely copying what lies before you. The purpose of this workshop is to develop your ability to approach drawing in a contextual way, where each part serves the greater whole. We will start with exercises designed to sharpen your ability to see objectively and overcome your mind’s tendency to contaminate what your eyes perceive. Working with live models, you will learn how to identify the specific proportions and structure unique to each individual. The basic medium we’ll be using is charcoal and white pastel on toned paper, a medium used by master artists for centuries, since it is far more efficient compared to building up tone on white paper. By weeks end, you will understand what it takes to achieve a full-fledged tonal portrayal of your subject, bathed in light and surrounded by air. Draftsmanship is a learned skill not a gift from heaven. The techniques and approaches you will learn can be readily adapted to any type of subject matter and style. All aspects of this method will be presented logically and coherently. Every step will be fully demonstrated and explained. When not demonstarting, Marvin will be working with his students one-on-one.



Realistic Portrait Drawing

School of Visual Arts
New York, NY
Location T.B.A.
Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri 9:00AM – 5:00PM Jun 05 – Jun 09
5 Sessions


To learn more about more about Marvin Mattelson’s paintings and teaching, go to


Who: Marvin Mattelson

Where: School of Visual Arts, NYC

When: June 5 – 9, 2017

Cost: $980

Cost: $980

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