Paint A Male Portrait: Introduction And Reflection
In this workshop, you will learn how to paint a male portrait. You can view the full live demonstration here.
I had a lot of fun painting this one. I was quite excited to paint the shadows as it creates a dramatic effect and emphasizes the subject’s hat/face.
Shadows are very important in painting, and often beginner artists are afraid to add them in or to go dark enough. Painting shadows in watercolor has the additional challenge of predicting what tone the shadow will be once dried.
In watercolors, you will find that the color you put down will dry a shade lighter, so you need to compensate for that by making that tone slightly darker. This takes a lot of trial and error which is why you will see me constantly mixing around colors in my palette to try to get the right tone before I put the brush to paper.
Watercolor paint has high reflectivity when added to paper, and it often looks out of place when compared to the flatter areas of dried paint. Once you’ve added the tone that you feel is correct, let it dry and it will dry to a matte finish which will blend in with the other areas
Watercolor painting is like playing chess! You need to think a few steps ahead and plan out which areas to paint first. Some areas such as the subject’s skin can only be painted at the start. If you try to add the dark areas first, such as under the hat, you may run into some issues with a soft edge where the shadows meet the skin. Or worse, the dark areas can merge with the lighter ones if the paper is too damp.
Painting from light to dark is a surefire way of ensuring that you preserve the light part of the paper. This was important too when ‘painting’ the subject’s mustache and shirt. By leaving these areas mostly white, they pop out of the scene.
A little gouache is also helpful at the end to bring out fine details for highlights. I’ve used some for some stray hairs in the subject’s eyebrows and mustache. You can also add some to the hat and parts of his clothing though I chose not to.