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Drawing and Painting a Portrait in Watercolor

Jun 05, 2022
you guys hello everyone im back sorry i've been gone for so long but today i'm back with a new

watercolor

demo today i'll be

painting

this young lady you see in the top right hand corner this is a picture i took as part of a photo shoot i took for an illustration i did for an ad campaign a few years back so i chose a different photo i hadn't used before and i thought it would be fun to make a

portrait

out of this photo so here we go. I'm starting to draw the basic shapes trying to make sure I get the angle of her head there.
drawing and painting a portrait in watercolor
I draw a line through where their eyes will be and I usually draw a center line like well in the middle of the face you know where the nose is in the middle of the mouth and that sort of thing not sure why not i did it this time but you'll see me kind of chiseling away from larger shapes to smaller shapes and that's the way you want to approach

drawing

for the most part, you want to work like you're working almost on a sculpture if you know you're sculpting something out of a block of marble, you want to work from big to small, you know to work in the largest masses and once they are proportionally where they should be to each other you can start working. in some of the smaller details you also want to think about things in terms of real shapes when you look at a 2d photo you want to think about the roundness of things like the cheek or chin areas like that and really think about those objects in your mind and how they actually sit in space as opposed to just translating a 2d object from the photo to another 2d plane that would be your paper so it's good to think in those terms as you draw you know think about eyes as orbs think on the nose in this case it's almost like a box a bit of a box shape today I've included a photo of the model I'm working with so you can see what I'm looking at as I'm

drawing

and pain and it should help you understand why I am making the decisions I am making.
drawing and painting a portrait in watercolor

More Interesting Facts About,

drawing and painting a portrait in watercolor...

If you're looking at the same reference that I'm working on right now, you'll notice that I have a little problem with that right side of his face, the side that's in shadow, so he has the correct width and distance from his mouth, he has that shock of hair hanging in front of that side of her face and it made it a little hard to gauge where that cheek should be there but I think I straightened it out this resemblance is not one hundred percent sure but I'm trying to get the proportions there correctly and that does it for the drawing part of this, I think there's enough information here to start

painting

, though I'll change things up, as you'll see later.
drawing and painting a portrait in watercolor
I'm also going to use some masking fluid to mask a couple of reflections in her eye and on her nose. He wants to shake this. fill in very well you also want to use a little bit of soap or brush cleaner on you your brush to protect the brush from the kind of liquid rubber that is masking fluid and use it use a junk brush don't use your good brushes with this stuff because eventually it will ruin them this is just a cheap little synthetic brush i have so i'm coating it in a little bit of soap by stirring up the masking fluid and then i just put a little bit of that on my brush with that brush cleaner soap to help protect it from that totally adheres to the bristles, so I'm rubbing a little bit for a couple of little highlights in her eye and on her nose.
drawing and painting a portrait in watercolor
What it does is it provides a little barrier. You let it dry and it will stay white underneath while you paint over it. and then you can scrub it later, you always want to make sure you clean even your junk brush good once you've used this because it will get bristles and anything will ruin even a cheap brush. I am also using a new one. palette today it seems like i always have a new palette but t This is a giveaway from my friend Jared's column on the channel Jared loves to draw. He hand made it for me out of nickel silver when he was making some of these for fun last year like a great handle to open the flap on there since it's nickel silver it will never rust which is amazing it has a little removable tray you can put in your table and then use more space on the palette so it's an event which is a fantastic feature I love this thing it's built like a tank I'll be using it as my main palette quite a bit this is a quick look at how I have my table set up study so you can see the way I'm working. larger paintings, but for this little tiny painting, you can see how I have things set up.
I'm starting the painting part of this by spraying my palette and getting the whole thing wet by mixing a little bit of yellow ocher and a little bit of carmine in there. kind of a half tone to start to put on t he shadows his face and that's what i'm doing. I look at the reference and figure out where those mid tone shades are and also keep in mind that the value of this is going to get a lot lighter as it dries and that's kind of hard to gauge sometimes working in

watercolor

trying to figure out how light something will be once it dries and it's something I struggle with all the time and I've been painting for thirty years and have a better handle but it's still a bit of a guessing game as to how light their colors will end up a once they're dry go back in with some clean water just to soften some of those edges leave some of the crisp soften some of them I'm going to go back in with some pretty sheer yellow ocher to hit those yellowish gold tones in your hair a little bit more of my fleshy medium tone blend there for the dark side of her arm and shoulder and i dropped a little bit of blue in there because i use i knew the shade is pretty cool in a temperature sense once once qu e finished that arm will be cooler in there so now I'm going to go back and I've warmed up my mix a little bit and I'm going to go in and I'm playing what I know will probably be some of the lighter tones aside from the white paper that I'm leaving on his hair and on the side of her face are towards the center of the painting so I added a little ultramarine to my mix there my fleshy mix my reddish mix and started putting some of the dark ones in her hair just to help me gauge how things are going and for the most part I'm trying to work on this painting as a whole rather than working on specific areas and trying to complete it as a whole piece so I go in and put some cool gray that I did on her eye there and I'm mixing it up I go up a little bit of mostly lipstick to hit the dark areas of her lips there and then I hit that same mix with a little bit of I th you understand it was Payne's gray or something to darken it to put those pits s noses and it looks like she mostly paints gray to work the dark shape next to her her neck and her chin there in her hair and basically doing that just to get some value ratios so she can get a better idea of how dark things should be on the face.
I should probably mention the materials I'm using in this painting. at twelve i am also using daniel smith paints which is what i have this palette loaded with and the brushes i am using are made by oscoda they are the versatile ones that is the brand versatile brushes are synthetic they have great points and have a lot of water and have nice snap so I really like you you you're good I'm starting to put some of those darker shades that are around her eye and along the side of her nose it was a pretty strong dark shadow there and the n on the side too shading of her nose there are a lot of darks putting them on now you I'm starting to put darker in that area to define the edge of her neck and face you'll notice I don't do a lot of wet wet paint I tend to put a shape then take a some clean water and then work the shape from there and that's not a hard and fast rule of thumb for me but in a

portrait

like this I tend to do more of that kind of thing I'm putting some of the dark ones in the hair it up there on the side of the part of it.
I don't like all the strokes, so you saw me go in with a paper towel and get rid of some of those. darker along the side of his face to separate where his face and hair are I'm not trying to be exact with everything I'm not trying to match everything exactly I'm just trying to give the feel of the shape eg if the hair twists and hits the light or moves away from the light you may notice I have to hit some areas and shadows two or three times and that's par for the course with watercolor but it's also sort of a result of not hitting those values ​​what deep enough the first time, as I was talking about before, where I'm at, I just wasn't sure how dark those values ​​would dry out. when they're done, then you'll see me going back and hitting certain shadows in areas two or three times to make them as dark and as rich as I'd like them to be. light side of her face defining the edge of the eyelid and pupil stuff like this now i'm removing the masking fluid with a rubber cement remover you can use your finger or an eraser and i'm going to go back and detail around that highlight in the eye a lot of times they need to be made a bit smaller or whatever now i'm really darkening that shadow side of her hair and being careful to leave some of the strands of hair sticking out of the shadow section. give the hair a layered effect and a look of having d dimension and different levels on her she has a necklace and i'm putting it very loosely and not a lot of detail or anything.
I just want the suggestion that it's there rather than something that catches the eye here. I'm putting in the sign shadow of her arm and elbow by putting a little bit of Payne's gray in there to deepen the shadow on top. I don't want this to be too detailed, like the necklace. I don't want it to compete with his features on his face. to get attention, so I leave it a little abstract and loose and frankly a little questionable, but I leave it where he's putting some hair back there just to suggest that he's taking over her. shoulder there.
I've decided to put a background mainly to add interest and to help the light areas on her face pop more. I'm using a sort of diluted gray from Payne which seems to be my best bet. dark so I'm putting it around her hair and just grabbing a little bit that I can see and take a little bit of that warm red mix and just drop a little bit of that for a little color change little little interest little color interest in the background be careful not to be too clean by leaving little white space in the white paper which always adds a little bit of interest but you don't want it to have too much interest or it will start to detract from your main subject now that I put the background it's like give it kind of a crop look so what I'm doing is going back and pushing some of those shadow areas on the edges of her hair so they blend into the background a little bit better here I'm adding a couple of touches of white gouache straight from the tube my little brand of masking fluid wasn't enough so i went back with some whitewash.
Here I am strengthening she really needed the darker shade well the mid tone shadows were darkened for more contrast against the light areas of her face so I am going in a d and darkening all those areas carefully to soften the edges where they are she needs to soften that sort of thing and i noticed her hair maybe could have come forward a bit more so i'm putting a thicker shadow on that side to give the illusion of more hair on that side just some little details here and there and notice a few issues after letting it sit for a while, one was that the angle of his eye was off, it should be pointing more towards his nose. so i'm cheating a bit trying to darken the detail in the non-eye corner of hers a bit lower and then hit the top left of her eye more to try to give the illusion of an angle elderly. that eye and also i noticed her chin was too short there wasn't enough chin under her lip so i go in and put clean water over that dark area that doesn't look clean once i'm starting to move that paint on and then rub it off with a paper towel and that takes some of the paint off so you can go back in and redo that line to give you a little more of a chin.
I don't know how well it works, it's not ideal to have to do something like that, but there it is and you see the effects there, I don't know if it's something you would notice looking at the box without having seen the correction going in and trying to fill something with that color in that correction let's see just a little bit more detail you know I'm seeing proportion issues in this but that's one of the things with the watercolors there's not much there strengthening that line under her chin there a little bit with the watercolors you can't do a lot to fix things since it's a transparent medium you can do little things like I just tried there but in general if you find issues of major proportions it's usually a matter of starting over so thanks for watching this .well I'll see you next time take care

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