Learn Watercolor Portraiture Now: Steps To Creating A Beautiful Portrait

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Learn Watercolor Portraiture Now – Introduction and Overview

Learn watercolor portraiture now by following the steps in this demonstration. I painted this portrait live last night and am fairly pleased with how it turned out.

Lately, I’ve been choosing photographs with strong contrasts as I really like the look of the light ‘popping’ out of the page. I had to take extra care to preserve the lighter parts of this portrait, mainly the skin, the left side of her hair.

Sometimes you might like to change things in the original reference photo, and here I’ve increased the contrast between the light and dark areas and emphasized her eyes more by introducing a lighter wash for the shadow under her hat.

Hair is very challenging, and I used a flat brush with some broad and sweeping strokes to emphasize individual strands and bunched areas. Just layer over the top when dried with a slightly darker wash to create depth.

Adding a bit of red for the tip of the nose seems to help create some extra projection, not sure where I heard that from, but it works here! The nose and shadow/lip and shadow were very tricky to do. I added the reddish hues first then merged a sharper shadow shape under her nose with the half-dried paint above. This creates a soft edge, but you have to time it right.

I painted this on smooth or hot-pressed watercolor paper. Hot-pressed paper allows you to get in more sharp details and vibrancy. However, it is a challenging paper for beginners to use as blooms and smudged areas form more easily. I only layer over areas where absolutely necessary. You can see a bunch of blooms and inconsistencies in the finished painting, but I’ve come to accept and like some of these artifacts.

Learn Watercolor Portraiture Now: Steps To Creating A Beautiful Portrait

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