82688157 Secrets to Painting Realistic Faces in Watercolor

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secrets to PAINTING



Ta b l e of C on ten tsIntroduction 6

! Materials and Supplies $ Watercolor Basics18


E Painting Hair


Heres what you need for both watercolor painting and drawing.

Discover how to handle watercolors, including the secrets of successful watercolor washes. Wet-on-Wet / Glazing / Masking Underpainting for Glowing Color Establishing the Darks The Importance of Negative Space

Use simple watercolor washes to suggest hair color and style. Demonstration: Painting Straight Blond Hair Demonstration: Painting Dark Curly Hair Demonstration: Painting a Shaved Head Demonstration: Painting Hair in Profile

R Common Mistakes


Take it from mewe all make mistakes! Heres how to avoid them.

% Preparing to Paint


Learn how to scale reference photos and transfer them to your paper. Using a Grid for Proper Proportions Four Ways to Transfer the Drawing Masking Off

T Stepping Out of YourComfort Zone104Try these ideas for meeting the challenges of watercolor portraiture. Demonstration: Painting From a Life Drawing Demonstration: Painting on Watercolor Canvas Demonstration: Watercolor on Gessoed Board or Canvas

Q Values, Shading andSkin Tones34Whether drawing or painting, the secret to successful portraiture lies in creating accurate values. Demonstration: Painting Light Skin Tones Demonstration: Painting Medium Skin Tones Demonstration: Painting Dark Skin Tones

Conclusion Index 126


W Drawing and PaintingFacial Features52Want to achieve a true likeness? Pay attention to the details. Demonstration: Painting the Eyes Demonstration: Painting the Nose Demonstration: Painting the Lips



For free downloadable bonus materials, visit artistsnetwork.com/Carrie-Parks-Watercolor

IntroductionIm so excited that Im running around my studio doing my finger-popping happy dance. Why? Because Ive written a watercolor portrait book for North Light! I have authored three drawing books to date (and you really need these books, by the way), but watercolor is my true love (sorry, Rick). Ive painted in watercolor since 1968, a remarkable feat as I wasnt born until . . . um . . . a long time after that. I love watercolor, and I know you will love it, too. Its a wonderful medium, full of life, expanding and challenging you with its ever-changing moods. I want you to have every secret, every tool, every technique, every shortcut and every success in your painting. I want you to feel that youve found your true artistic style and expression with this medium. Not only have I painted in watercolor forever (or at least since the last of the dinosaurs became extinct), but Ive also taught classes and attended many workshops. I know about the difficulties in learning something new and how to smooth the learning process. What Is Real? For those of you who are picky about language, in the context of this book, achieving a real likeness means you can identify the person Ive painted; it doesnt mean painstaking photorealism. So, you could identify the person, assuming you knew whom I painted. You get my drift. Now that weve cleared that up, before you reach for a brush or pencil, Id like to share some profound thoughts about watercolors with you.

C hiara22" 22" (56cm 56cm) Transparent watercolor on Arches 140-lb. (300gsm) cold-pressed paper

How to Handle WatercolorsMaking a Watercolor WashPick up your brush, get it wet, dip it in fresh pigment, smoosh it around on your palette to mix the water a bit with the color, and make a stroke on your paper. Voil! Youve made a wash. A watercolor wash is simply where you apply color to dry paper. Its sort of like painting a wall. Why Im even mentioning it is that many folks like to paint on their paper as if painting the side of a barn. If one stroke is good, then 473 strokes must be better. First important lesson: Your first brushstroke is usually your best. Dont go back over it unless you absolutely need to. A graded wash is not one where a teacher might give you a C+. It means the color becomes less intense by applying more and more water into the pigment as you proceed down the paper. I might use some sort of wash for the background or clothing.

BlossomsNope, Im not talking about flowers. A blossom or crawlback (different artists call it other names) occurs when water snakes into a drier, often pigmented area and forces the paint outward, forming a random, wiggly edge. Blossoms can be fun, but not when they occur on, say, the nose of your portrait subject and resemble some rare skin disease. They can be interesting if they occur in the hair or clothing, possibly even on the edge of a shadow.

Blossoms or crawl-backs, if occurring in the right place, can add interest to a portrait.

Avoiding BlossomsLess is more. Learn to not go over your paper with repeated brushstrokes.

Before putting your color-loaded brush to your paper, touch the back of the brush (close to the ferrule) onto a dry paper towel to discharge excess water. Dump off excess water from your paper before you paint so puddles dont form. If using a small brush, watch that water drops arent hovering on the ferrule waiting to sneak down when you least expect it. Stop painting when your paper has a matte nish and has lost the shine. Gently spray-wet your paper again if you see a blossom forming.


For free downloadable bonus materials, visit artistsnetwork.com/Carrie-Parks-Watercolor

PracticeOnce you have a drawing of your subject, dont limit yourself by transferring it to a single sheet of watercolor paper. I often have two or three sheets ready to go of the same subject. If I goof up, all I have to do is start with another piece. Its less pressure and means my work is that much more loose and free. Ill also try out different colors, papers and techniques.

Ive drawn and painted Courtney many times. Shown here are two paintings from the same drawing: one on Arches 140-lb. (300gsm) cold-pressed watercolor paper and another one on Arches hot-pressed paper. Different surfaces mean different handling of the paints and techniques.


Like the latest gizmos? Put your photo on an iPad. Just a quick ick and you have it enlarged. And you will look so cool!



Painting Light Skin TonesThis beautiful young lady not only has light skin tones, but she is also young, so overshading can age her. Additional challenges are her dark eyebrows, which can look like black blobs if Im not careful, and the fur hat. Ill be working with very light to very dark pigments in this demonstration.

A beautiful photograph makes painting that much easier. This lovely young lady was photographed by Ernie Fischhofer.

Rick created a detailed drawing for my painting. What a guy!

Quinacridone Rust

The colors used to establish the light skin tones are, clockwise from top, Quinacridone Rust, Cadmium Red Light and Quinacridone Rose.

Quinacridone Rose

Cadmium Red Light


For free downloadable bonus materials, visit artistsnetwork.com/Carrie-Parks-Watercolor

R The dark hairThe young girls hair is more implied higher up on her face and doesnt really show until toward the bottom. I wet the paper around her face and down into her chin area with clean water. I used a lot of water, forming puddles. I wanted the hair to run. Just before I was ready to paint, I allowed the water to run off the paper. You need to work quickly now and with a tilted board. Using a large (no. 12) round brush and freshly squeezed pigment (Burnt Umber, Red Iron Oxide and Anthraquinone Blue), I stroked the hair downward and curving under her chin. Be sure you dont add extra water to the pigment; touch the back of the brush to a paper towel to discharge the excess water. I used a wet clean brush to soften the color around her face. A 1-inch (25mm) at brush will lift pigment and break up the bigger chunks, implying strands of hair.

T Furry hat and nishReady? Get those deep colors out and freshly squeezed onto your palette. I used the same three colors as before: Burnt Umber, Red Iron Oxide and Anthraquinone Blue. I wanted the red to warm up the other colors. Wet the hat and all the way to the end of the paper all around her face. You can even wet a bit below the hat. Dump the excess water; we want the paper very wet, but absolutely no puddles. Make sure your brush does not have extra water in it as well. Load the brush with all three colors at once. Make your rst stroke near the masked area to see how far it will bleed. You can adjust the pigment/water ratio if it bleeds too much. Work quickly. Dont panic if some of the pigment starts to drift across the paper; a wet at brush (damp, but not adding extra water) will clean it up. Once this dried, I lifted the remaining masking and blended some of the white hairs into the hat. You dont want to see both ends of a linehair comes from a darker source. A slight wash over her coat and Im done.


Q Building valuesThe deceptive thing about watercolors is that when it seems youve gotten really dark, you havent. The darks on the face were almost black, yet I was still tiptoeing around. Yeah, I was scared I would go too dark and mess it up, but thats why I always have more than one drawing at the ready. Here I added Anthraquinone Blue to the Burnt Umber to darken it more. I rewet the paper from the chin to the forehead and added more Quinacridone Rust mixed with Burnt Umber.

W Looking for darks in all the right placesBy this stage, I decided to not add any more color to the paper on the left side of her face, so I glazed washes