Drawing Portraits (5 Day Tyalgum Art Retreat) with Manuela Pilz

Learn how to work from the live model and the necessary tools and techniques for creating likeness in portraits over 5 days. Our Tyalgum Art Retreat brings together the arts community like no other with a whole 5 days dedicated to your arts practice whilst meeting new friends and learning from the masters. Price shown is for deposit only. Full price is $1395pp

Drawing Portraits

Are you wanting to draw your loved ones but are finding it difficult to do it from life or maybe you are an artist who loves working from photographs but wants to be challenged and learn to see what a photograph can' t always show you. This drawing workshop will be a perfect opportunity for those artists who love or are ready to try drawing from a model with the support of an instructor. Sometimes it is difficult to move away from working from photographic reference, and in a workshop environment I can help you with dealing with the usual physical and mental obstacles that come up when drawing from life.

In Class

Classes start with a demonstration of the general shape and proportions of the head and the placements of the features on the face. A likeness of a person is very often captured in these initial planning stages. One of the key skills to learn from a life model is how to recognize the different planes of the head and how to use tone to represent volume and space. Over the 5 days we will have 5 very different and exciting models and we can study what is unique to each person we are drawing.

As the week progresses we will also look at the structure of the neck and shoulders and how to show the gesture or the posture of the pose. It will be fun to work with some props and costume too so we can study folds on the clothing or shadows cast by a hat. Particularly if we are using props or costumes the design and the composition of the portrait will be important and I will show you how to work this out with thumbnail studies.


We will also be able to work each day with a different drawing material. I often choose my material according to the type of face I have in front of me and what it is I want to express.

Here is a list of all the different materials we will use.

Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencil 1400/645 (red terracotta pastel pencil)

White chalk pencil Pitt Pastel Soft

Good cotton cartridge A3

Strathmore charcoal paper Velvet Gray (Will sell at course approx. $2.50 a sheet)

Some mid tone pastel paper in a blue grey or A2

Watercolour paper A

Nitram charcoal sticks HB B 2B ( I will have these for sale $3 a stick)

Sandpaper (cheap basic red one is fine)

Chamois cloth

Bristol brushes small and large

Charcoal powder (I will supply)

Putty rubbers

Harder rubbers

Conte a Paris Pierre Noir B or 2B

and/or generals charcoal pencils. B 2B 4B

Good quality drawing pencils H HB B 2B 4B

A stick like a knitting needle or a wooden kebab stick (used for measuring)

A small square mirror

Small container to collect sharpenings or charcoal

Feel free to bring along other mediums, if you wish to work with these.


This workshop is being held as part of our 5 Day 'Best of the Best' Art Retreat at the Tyalgum Ridge Retreat. We anticipate that these workshops will sell out very quickly and encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment. *FULL WORKSHOP PRICE IS $1395 - YOU NEED TO BUY YOUR WORKSHOP PLACE USING THIS LISTING TO PAY YOUR DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE 31 MARCH 2019.


Please note that the Tyalgum Ridge retreat is located at 783 Tyalgum Creek Rd, Tyalgum Creek NSW. You will need to head to the end of Tyalgum Creek Road and continue onto a dirt road for about 100m before you reach the retreat. Please note that there is no internet reception so make note of your directions before you leave Tyalgum.

There is parking to your right as you arrive. The building is located over 2 floors so there are some steps involved.

Tyalgum can be reached from the coast via Murwillimbah or from the north through Chillingham and the Numinbah Valley - both are beautiful scenic drives.

From Tyalgum take Tyalgum Creek Road (runs between the Tyalgum Hotel and the service station) for 9kms. The last kilometre is a good quality gravel road. The retreat is the last property (no. 783) at the end of the road.

We are 30 kms or 25 minutes from Murwillumbah.

The drive from the Gold Coast Airport takes about an hour.


Students must be 16 and over for all adult classes unless arranged otherwise with Artable. The enrolment form for under 18s who are attending an adult class must be signed by a parent or guardian. Participants under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult if they are staying in the accommodation.



Bookings for workshops will be in the order of bookings received on our website and paid in full at the time of booking. Artable bookings via the website give you an automatic confirmation via email. You need to write in the notes section of the booking form if you wish to share a room with a specific person or persons.


Telephone bookings must be accompanied by full payment via credit card or direct debit and all booking conditions apply as per website descriptions.


Artable reserves the right to cancel a class if minimum enrolments are not reached by 1 June 2019 or for circumstances beyond our control. Students will be offered placements in an alternative workshop or a refund of all fees.

Artable relies heavily on group numbers for this retreat and we are contracted to our accommodation provider. Therefore Artable charges the following cancellation fees if you choose to cancel or do not attend:

On or before 15 March 2019: FULL REFUND

From 16 March – 16 May 2019: 25% of workshop fee

From 17 May – 1 June: 50% of workshop fee

From 2 June: NO REFUNDS


Registration is from 8-9.30am on the first day. We will gather together for orientation at 10am on the first day in the main hall. Classes commence at 9am and conclude at 4pm each day. Lunch is for 1 hour and held from 12.30-1.30pm. Dinner is held from 6.30-7.30pm in the Dining Hall.

Morning and afternoon teas will be permanently set up in the dining hall and tutors can work around their own times for these breaks.


Evenings will combine tutor discussions, art demonstrations, product demonstrations and more. You will be presented with a weekly timetable of events when you arrive and register.


Shared Dorm Room: Dorm accommodation is in basic shared room accommodations (male and females are kept separate) with basic shower facilities. All linen is provided, however you are encouraged to bring your own doona/blankets for extra warmth. If you are traveling interstate, we will arrange bedding on your behalf (advise at time of booking). Rooms are shared between 2 and 4 people.

Please note that we are unable to offer single rooms at the retreat due to the limited number of beds available. If you require a single room, we recommend

Camping On Site (Campervan or Tent): You can choose to camp onsite. There are shower facilities available for your use.

External Accommodation $150 Discount Applies: Feel free to make use of local Bed & Breakfast Options if you would like either your own room, or more comfortable accommodations. Please understand that there is very little discount as fees are set by the Tyalgum Retreat and include 3 meals a day, morning/afternoon tea, linen hire and venue hire fees.

Please advise us in the notes section at the time of booking if you do not want to be allocated to a dorm room. You will be asked to fill in a registration from after booking and will be able to stipulate who you would like to share a room with.


All students must register at the front desk upon arrival and before heading to their room or workshop. Registration is between 8 and 9.30am on Wednesday 4 July.

All course, accommodation and events information will be provided at registration.

By purchasing this workshop, you agree that:

You have read and agree to the above conditions.

A class without meeting minimum numbers may be cancelled and you will be given a full refund.

If you choose to seek external accommodation, you will have $150 deducted from your workshop fee.

Cancellation fees apply from 16 March as outlined above.

Artable may take photographs & video throughout the 5 days to be used for marketing purposes.


Tyalgum Ridge Retreat

Book online

$300 per person

Meet the Teach

Manuela Pilz

Manuela has been a practising artist and teacher for more than thirty years working and exhibiting in the UK, Spain, and Australia. Her field of interest is life drawing and portraiture using oil or charcoal. Recently, she has won first prize for the 2016 Master Skill Building Challenge at Watts Atelier. In 2017 Manuela fulfilled a lifelong dream to study in Italy and attended the Florence Academy of Art allowing her to work with artists trained in the classical skills that Italy is renowned for. Her initial training was at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) where she studied a Fine Art BA Hons course and it is there that she discovered a passion for working with figurative art.

“Every time I go to Europe or attend an amazing course here, I am itching to get back to my students and share what I have learnt. I believe it is part of an artist’s life to “pass it on”. There is so much amazing knowledge out there that shouldn’t get lost or forgotten. It needs to be shared.”


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