The other night, as I spent important time catching up on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I practiced drawing portraits. I couldn’t do it on the fly. I paused the tv and took a couple of photos of each of the women. I can see a glimmer of the woman in each sketch – some more faintly than the others. 🙂
I really enjoy sketching in front of the tv. I wish I did it more. It turns non-productive time into productive time. Give it a try!
Today I practiced painting a portrait. I think I am making some progress in adding in shadows without making the skin look blotchy. [Blur the edges!]
Beach girl is a character I have been trying to illustrate. She is inspired by my daughter (when she was younger). I’ve struggled with painting beach girl’s face. So, I selected a photo of my daughter to work from. I figure when I’ve mastered painting her face, I can then, work on a less detailed, more illustration style version. I am finally starting to capture some of the elements that resemble my daughter.
Here are some of my steps:
This one looks like an alien!
Halfway through my first lesson and I’ve learned a lot so far! Here are the key things:
- Skin color is a mixture of many colors. You don’t pick a tube and say this will be the color. For the demonstration I’m following, I started out using a Yellow, a Rose and Cobalt Blue.
- Work wet with light washes. I first painted a wash of the yellow and then added the rose to it. In certain spots I dropped in the Blue.
- One of the most important things I learned was – soften the edges! Whenever I added a “shadow area” I would soften the edges. This was one of my main mistakes in the past. I would paint a shadow area, not soften the edges and the result would be blotchy looking skin.
- Painting skin is a gradual build up of colors. Before, I would paint the face a solid and then try to add in the shadows.
I am excited about my progress so far! Watching TV last night, I was noticing the shadows that make up the face.
My “lesson” is from “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton. I picked one of her demonstrations and I’m following along, trying to recreate it.
Here are my steps:
His face looks like a rainbow.
The “crevices” aren’t black shadows.
Even the lips have soft edges and are made up of different colors.
Last week I must have been feeling extremely ambitious, when I decided to paint not only a portrait in watercolor, but a portrait of my husband and I! It was a fun photo of us at the beach and I thought – why not? I think I thought with the hat and sunglasses it would be easy. lol!
Things went along smoothly until I got to the faces, where I encountered a struggle similar to painting my “beach girl’s” face. Both faces were partly in shadow and no matter what I did, the skin looked blotchy and unnatural. I realized that, quite simply, I lack the “know how” to paint the highlights and shadows on a face while maintaining the smooth look of skin.
Despite this, I still think I did a decent job. Towards the end, I relied heavily on watercolor pencil, to add in the shading. But the main reason I feel good about this project is that I identified what training I need. Not only that, but I found a book that will help me in this area. I’m very excited to follow along with the step-by-step demonstrations in this book, “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton.
Here were my steps:
I started sketching in a light watercolor pencil, because I figured I could erase any lines I wanted to. Then I added in the color – except for the faces.
Once I started adding paint to the faces, things got blotchy and funny looking.
I went back and forth with paint and pencil trying to get the right shading and trying to get it to look smooth.