How I Paint Watercolor Portraits

If you are my friend on Facebook, you might have been sick of me posting my artworks several times in a week since I started on May 1. Nevertheless, I still get encouragement from friends. Some have expressed their interest in my work by asking me to paint for them. The usual request was to paint portraits. Err, I still need to practice that. I have done self-portrait once before as a requirement in art class. What I did was face the mirror and start sketching my face freehand. The sketch hardly looks me like except for the headband since I used that accessory almost everyday back them. With portraits, you really need to get  it right.

Since I know I cannot copy faces by hand, the next best thing is to use gridlines. I picked a photo I wanted to copy. Using photoshop, I added gridlines. I followed the instructions from this site.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

The next thing I did is to draw gridlines on my paper by counting how many squares I need to draw. A little arithmetic does not hurt. 😉 Then I start sketching square by square. This way, even if I did not get the details right, there is one thing I can be certain. I get proportionate baseline drawing.

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Then, I erased the gridlines. (Tiring eh?)
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Then, I started with the underpainting. An underpainting is the initial layer of colors which serves as a guide as you add more and more color. I took note of the shadows and light.
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I added more and more colors to the underpainting until I got tired of trying to make it look like the picture! haha!

By the way, watercolor painting deals a lot of blending of colors. I test my mix by having a blank page of the sketchpad nearby. I try my stroke on an another paper first to test the color.
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I also keep tissues nearby to wipe water off my brush.
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I always stop painting when I think I can no longer do anything about it. Sometimes, I leave the painting halfway or close to completion to rest and get a better perspective on how to improve it.

With this portrait, I just want to move on. Haha
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When I posted this on Facebook, one honest friend commented that I looked slightly cross-eyed in the painting. Still, there were those who wanted their portraits made, too. I promised then they’ll get one from me when they reach 40. Haha! I have to work on those eyes.

Maybe I should start with pets first. I found a random painting of a dog on the internet which I practiced on.

I missed a few hairs  on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting.  Oh, the things you see under the lens!

I missed a few hairs on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting. Oh, the things you see under the lens!

Since my problem is painting the eyes, I found a temporary solution. One cousin wanted a painting of her son with angry birds. I found a solution when I saw her update her profile pic. This is the final painting.

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Cannot copy the eyes? Put sunglasses! hahaha

I hope you get to try to paint portraits, too!

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