Portrait Painting Stage Three

Well, I’ll call this done, or abandoned🙂

Here I’ve brought up the highlights along the forehead, and decided to soften the edges along the shoulders to allow him to blend a little more into the background.  I always find it’s a delicate balance between hard and soft edges in a painting, especially with portraits.  Hard edges tend to stop the eye, while soft edges tend to allow the viewer’s eye to travel, so I’ll attempt to place them within a painting to allow for some movement.  Again, this is another pretty standard trick with drawing and painting, nothing new under the sun.  He’s also been flipped again to the intended angle.  I probably could have spent a little more time on the ear, but I set a limit for myself, and I wanted to stick to it.  This one clocked in a around 3 hrs, but I already had a sketch scanned and ready to go and paint with.  Maybe I’ll post the sketch too…  Anyways, thanks for having a look.


Portrait Painting Stage Two

At this point I’ve hit everything with paint, and gotten it to a three value system with darks, mid tones and some lights, but not many. This is a handy tip for anyone interested in painting, as the values(lights/darks) are doing most of the work.  With this type of loose painting I’m working with broken color, meaning I’m not blending the paint as much as I usually do in some of my tighter work.  I like working this way because it allows the viewer to fill in some of the blanks; if the silhouette of my subject is believable then I can leave a lot of detail alone, and only go for areas that I’d like to use as focal points.  Here’s I’ve knocked in some color to represent a collar, but it’s starting to distract from the face, so I’ll have to go back and build up a few more lights in the forehead to help balance things out.  The lights on the forehead will be the most intense, and the rest of the highlights will be dimmed down as I move away from the forehead.  This should help create a believable and hopefully dramatic light source on the character.  One last note, you’ll notice the image is flipped from the original.  I do this a lot when painting digitally, flipping the image allows you to see all kinds of mistakes, and makes it easier to correct.  Again, it’s a fairly common trick, same thing as holding a sketch or traditional painting up to a mirror.

Portrait Painting in Stages

I was experimenting with some brushes in Painter, specifically some oil brushes that I could try and get looking close to the way I like to work with real oils.  It turned into a random portrait, and then I decided to save it in stages for anyone who’s curious to see how it might evolve.  In this one you can see how I’m almost drawing with my brush(my actual sketch is still somewhat visible too).  Here I’m just trying to break down the image into a light and dark pattern, and get the pattern of the shadows looking like it makes sense.  I didn’t exaggerate things as much as I usually do, but I’m still trying to give him a sense of character and push a few features beyond reality.  I had a little photo as reference, but really didn’t use it much as the sketch had everything I was looking for.  The colors are fairly muted to start, I began with a crimson palette, and just used light and darks of that color.  This is really a pretty standard way to approach painting, I’m certainly not reinventing the wheel here.  You can see near the nose where I’ve blocked in the areas that I’ll add shadow to, it might look a bit strange now, but in the next stage I’ll add the darks.  I usually save the highlights until the later stages, if I start noodling away at one area the rest of it usually falls short of what I’d like to achieve.  By slowly building up the lights I can pick one area on the image as my focal point and build the lights up to that spot.