The Art of Drawing a Criminal

Presented by the Getty Villa Museum in collaboration with Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA)

Join us for this special online session with visual artist Clarissa Shanahan and learn how to design your own most-wanted criminal, inspired by ancient faces - or your own lurid imagination. All levels are welcome. There will be plenty of time to share, discuss and get feedback.

What to Expect

  • Introduction to portrait drawing. 
  • Examining portraits of mythological and real figures. 
  • Demo and guided drawing sessions.
  • Designing your own criminal. 
  • Understanding details like gestures, proportions, and light.

Date & Time

  • November 2nd, 4-6pm PT
  • November 4th, 4-6pm PT

Click on "Get Tickets" above to select a date.

What you'll need

  • Sketch pad - 16 x 20
  • Charcoal paper, colored - 16 x 20
  • Vine charcoal
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White staedtler eraser
  • Graphite pencils - 3B - 4H
  • White pencil
  • Conte pencils - sanguine
  • Small mirror

Pencil and paper are just fine if you do not have all the materials. 

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA session on Zoom. We'll send link and details to join via email 1 day and again 1 hour before it begins. NOTE: The artist view will be recorded during the session. We encourage everyone to keep their cameras turned ON throughout the session so we all feel part of the same room and can easily share work to get feedback. However, you can choose to keep your camera turned OFF, if you prefer. 


Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA) is a global platform that enables anyone to book an in-person mini-apprenticeship with remarkable artists and makers around the world – from learning desert-inspired pottery in Joshua Tree, to learning calligraphy in Japan to natural textile dyeing in Mexico. Browse all artists and subscribe here for the email newsletter and updates. You can also follow along on Instagram here.

About Clarissa

Clarissa is a synesthete and a figurative painter. Her training and education is in the academic tradition of working with the figure, as well in the decorative arts. She studied in private studios around New York, then the New York Academy of Art, The Art Students League of New York and then completed her degree at Penn and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school in the country.

Her work appears in both private and public collections. You may have seen Clarissa’s work before without even realizing it. She spent almost two decades as a scenic artist with over 40 credits in film and television, including creating Lee Krasner paintings in the film Pollock. Over the years, she created sets varying from burned out buildings togilded ballrooms, reproductions of master paintings for films to original artwork for film characters.

Visit her artist page to learn more.