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Biomedical Communications Alumni Association


Ryan Park Portraiture Class Live Stream Event

Illustration by Ryan Park

Even though COVID has hindered our ability to gather together, that certainly doesn’t stop our team from getting creative. On June 27th, we held our very first live stream workshop on Zoom!

Gathering on a Zoom call that imitated huddling around the artist at his workbench, BMC students, alumni and some fellow friends of the BMCAA attended a portraiture demo by 1T8 graduate, Klick Health medical animator, and fine artist Ryan Park. Around 58 attendees were on the call and followed along as Ryan went through a detailed presentation and demonstration of portraiture techniques.

Ryan’s presentation focused on how to properly observe a face and translate those observations into a drawing. He went over general relationships between elements of the face (such as the triangle formed by the eyes and the nose, spacing between eyes and nose, etc). He elaborated on the idea of the head as a cylinder, parallel features, and how to relate the most exaggerated facial landmarks.

He also discussed how a proper likeness can be achieved by a close observation of shadow, and showed how the face is made up of simple forms. The mouth rests on a rounded plane, and different prominence and dips in the skull form areas of lightness and darkness on the face.

Ryan showed how to create a Reilly map, a mental map for approaching the rhythms of the face to achieve harmony. Rose and Geoff commented that it looked like the Iron Giant - do you agree? (see picture below)

Ryan then provided a quick demo to sketching and building shadows as he took a range of questions from the audience.

After this, he walked everyone through some specific features and how to approach them: including the eyes, nose, ears and lips. With some help from audience members who knew the intricacies of ear anatomy (!), Ryan provided a broad variety of tips, approaches and techniques on how to use an understanding of light, line and anatomy to convey accurate portraiture. He ended the lesson with a reflection on how he purposefully manipulates features to create a specific style.

As Ryan dove into a longer drawing demo, participants had the chance to ask questions, comment, and take more time to draw alongside Ryan and explore the techniques he had shared. You can see some of BMC/BMCAA’s fantastic work here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us, and of course to Ryan for sharing his incredible portraiture techniques. We were so happy to see the incredible turnout! Don’t worry if you missed the event, or want to re-watch it! We recorded a live stream, available here. Ryan also generously provided his materials for use following the presentation, and all of these can be found here.

We hope that everyone is safe and well. As we are all staying home, we will continue to host BMCAA’s monthly events virtually. If anyone from our talented BMC community would like to present a BMCAA live stream, please reach out at If you would like to join us and have some social time amidst all that is going on, stay tuned for event updates via our Events Page or mailing list (sign up if you haven’t already!). Hope we see you at our next event!


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