Color Pencil Portrait Course Review – Unmask Art

by Wendi OBrien

Today, I am going to be reviewing the Color Pencil Portrait course put together by Will Stoller from Unmask Art.

For complete transparency, Will provided me the course and asked me to do a review on it. There were no other promises or guarantees and everything in this video is of my own opinion, thoughts and experience going through this course. 

I did another review on his intro to pastel course in which I purchased the course and did the review on my own without him asking.  You can check that out here.   So without further ado, lets get started.

Downloading the File

I began by downloading the course.  It comes in a zipped or compressed file for easy downloading. 

I right clicked on the compressed file and clicked on extract all.  I was pleasantly surprised at the organization and file structure of this course.  The base is 5 folders containing the complete course.

Exploring the Folders

The first is the introduction folder which includes his intro, list of materials, his completed work, the reference photo and the line drawing.  Though I do recommend creating your own line drawing. If you would like to view the video explaining why I recommend doing this instead of using the one provided for you, you can see it here.

Upon exploring the intro folder I was most interested in the list of materials.  Will stayed true to his minimalistic approach to his drawings and only used 25 Prismacolor colored pencils.  

If you have worked at all in colored pencil then you know keeping that number down is difficult with all the color variations you find in reference photos.  This is a great way to not only keep your budget low for completing the course, but is great practice in layering various colors and blend them to create the color you need.  

I did find one or two additional colors could have been added without affecting the final budget cost too negatively, but could have added a bit more depth and color interest to the piece.  I will go more into this in a minute.

The remaining four folders contain videos that are broken up in parts 1-11 taking you through his step by step, real time drawing of this portrait.  

He created this course in the exact manner as he would normally work on a portrait.  Every artist has their way of approaching their artwork and it is always interesting to try something new as I have a completely different method of working than Will.

Video Breakdown

I really appreciate that he breaks the course into these smaller more manageable lessons so you don’t get overwhelmed with the process.  This allows you to work in small bits, take breaks and come back where you left off easily and without getting lost. 

At the beginning of each video he tells you the pencils he will be using for that lesson prior to starting so you can pick them out and have them ready instead of fumbling through all 25 pencils to find the one you need for that section.

Each video also includes the pencil number he is using as he uses it.  This is great if you fall a bit behind, but not so much that you need to pause the video you can glance and see the pencil he is using without rewinding to find out.  Though, you do have that option should it be necessary.


He speaks clearly and his directions are easy to understand.  He often tells you the amount of pressure that should be put on your pencil when layering. 


One thing I wish he would have included more is the amount of saturation of the different colors especially in the shadow areas on the neck, shoulders and under the chin.  

Now this could just come down to the way I laid down the pencil and not completely clear as to how much saturation of each color to put down in that area, but by the time I got done with that section I felt it appeared  more like a sunburn than a shadow.

I think by adding maybe a couple of additional colors into the mix could have fixed this problem instead of relying on that pink so heavily.  

I ended up glazing some grey over the top of the pink area to tone it down and give it a bit more of a shadow appearance.  

I feel if one or two more colors would have been added to the pallet, I would not have had to do this extra step as it would have been part of the original direction.

One other thing I wish he would have done was taken more time on the ear.  He just has you put in a bit of color, but to me there is enough of the ear showing through the hair that you should concern yourself with developing the ear more.  This would also give that area a bit more depth. 

These are really the only two negative things I have found in this course and it is actually more of personal preference and does not affect the overall teachings of the course.


That being said, I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning how to create portraits with colored pencil and has not taken the leap.  It is also a great course for those that have toyed with portraits, but is looking for a more focused approach to creating them with colored pencils.  If you are an experienced colored pencil portrait artist and are happy with your current pieces and want to take your skills to the next level, then I would pass on this course and wait for his more advanced course to be released.

Final Thoughts


This is just one of many courses Unmask Art has available.  Be sure to check out his website for more information. 

Until next time…keep on arting! 

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