poor_medea: (Harry Yell)
[personal profile] poor_medea
I thought it would be fun to document step-by-step how I do my watercolor portraits. Now, keep in mind, I haven't had any formal art training, and I only started using watercolors this summer, so this certainly isn't a tutorial, or anything. It's just how I work.

I forgot to take a picture of just my sketch, but I start out with a pencil drawing:


1. The first thing I do is paint in some masking fluid (not visible) on the highlights of the face--this rubs off, leaving the white paper untouched underneath. I then do a flat wash of a very light skin colour, all over the face. Harry's skin is particularly pink, so this is heavy on the red in the mix (unlike, say, Louis, who is both tan and has yellow undertones to his skin). This is the only shot of my paint I took, but these are the colours you use to make a skin tone:


2. I then mix a slightly darker version of the same skin colour, and lay in the shadow areas of the face.

3. I make a very light gray wash, and add it to the shadow areas, leaving a bit of the darker skin tone showing around the edges. Going overboard with the gray makes people look ill, so I try to have a light touch!

4. There are some areas, though, that will be very dark--these are the deepest shadows on the face, under the nose and chin, etc. I've also started to lay in the lip colour, again starting light and then building it up.

5. Okay, here I've added in the eyebrows, lined the eyes with a very dark brown, shaped the lips with a more intense version of the same wash I put on in the last photo, and laid in the base for the hair. Just like with the face, I start with an even, light wash of colour, and then add in depth.

6. Here I've given his crazy hair shape with a medium and a dark brown laid on top of the lighter wash. I also added in eyelashes in a near-black and did some quick detailing work on the clothes (I like to leave the clothes vague to put the focus on the face. Also I'm lazy!)

The final touches, then, are to rub off the masking fluid (it peels off like rubber cement) to reveal the highlights put in at the very beginning, and to add a bit of white acrylic paint for any highlights I forgot (in the hair and on the eyelashes).


And that's how I do these things! It's actually super simple once you work out mixing the colours. And the best part of watercolors is that there's a lot of room for error, since you start so light and can just layer on until things are right. Much easier than oil paints.

I hope this was fun to look at!

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