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Thread: Portrait attempt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    118

    Portrait attempt

    Hello!

    This is the first painting I post here. Very unsure about doing so, as I can see many mistakes, but I figured I'd ask if you have any advice and that's easiest to do when you see where I go wrong I imagine. So here it goes.

    Mainly oils, although I did find blending of watercolour brush (0% thinners) easier and it worked better (together with the airbrush) when it came to shadows/highlights.

    Main things I struggle with:
    - Skin colour. I just can't get it right, I've tried for soooo long with this one and ended up using the pick tool to get the main colours - it was between that and not painting. Once I had a few main ones I could create lighter/darker ones no problem, but just can't seem to get the main colour right. It's always too pink. Do you guys have colour palettes you use for skin? Or are you all just good/experienced enough to easily pick the colour you want? Any suggestions how to deal with this? It's really discouraging, I struggle with painting people enough as it is.

    - Eyes need more work. I don't quite know how to go about eyelashes and eyebrows - how to get that balance between solid colour and completely separate hairs (both look unnatural).

    - Nose is wrong.

    - I struggled with that hand here lots too, which shows I think, but since I was doing it from reference and I'm not good at drawing people I didn't want to attempt to modify it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Advice and comments appreciated! Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brighton uk
    Posts
    12,837
    Hi if I could that I'd be Chuffed to buggery

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    118
    Thank you, I've been getting through your Bus sketches, there are many great ones in there!

    To be honest, this is by far the best drawing/painting of a human I have ever made, so I am quite pleased that I've managed to do it, and it's the only reason I'm putting it here! However, I still relied very heavily on the reference photo and as mentioned needed to colour pick tool - which I feel is cheating and I can see there is lots of room for improvement (or so I hope).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    22,517
    Looks really good, attentive to details.

    You're right, there are some structural issues, but those skills will develop in time.
    I don't have the source photo in front of me so I can't know what you were looking at and where it went off mark. But overall it's pretty darn good. The human face is not forgiving since we instinctively know how they should look and if they're off by a little bit it could indicate a flaw in the model rather than the painter. If it's off by a lot we can generally attribute it to the artist.

    I think you're right about the nose. I don't know if there's merely one overriding solution for all the problems that you've listed. But there are a couple things to keep in mind:

    Look carefully. If you're not tracing, then find some landmarks and triangulate around, getting a relative distance, then compare that to what you've done on the painting. This works better with a full figure because there's a lot more going on. But it also can work for faces and everything else as well.

    About her nose, I would guess she is at a slight angle to the camera. When one side of the nose gets hidden, that's what it generally suggests. And thus the rest of the head needs to be on a similar axis. Looking at your painting, it looks like she is facing straight into the camera. So if you were doing that, you would have to probably construct the nose to be consistent with that.

    Therefore, learning bits and bobs about anatomy as you go is a good idea. If you're zealous, you can study it for real. But it's fine, sometimes better, to learn it as you need it. This way, you will remember what you learn and apply it instantly to something you're intent on getting correct.

    I think overall the only thing missing is finesse. You have most everything looking very good.

    I have a recommendation if you are interested in painting heads. It ALWAYS is easier to pick a source photo with a solitary light source, where the shadow is really descriptive. (Remember the old drawings of primitive shape objects like a ball, cone and tube? The lighting/shadowing makes these ultra simplistic shapes read with volume -- the body works the same way, as does anything solid).

    It may not be flattering for beautiful women because it exposes flaws, but it divides the head up into distinct areas that are far easier to translate into a painting. Also profiles are easier than straight on shots. You would want to be comfortable with all angles. But giving an image variety gives you points of relationship to map out your image.

    As to the palette for skin color, it's relative. Barring the expressive colors some artists use, much depends on the overall color of the painting. Color is about relationship. So it's a little more complex than having a set palette, unless the set palette includes everything in the pic, more or less. That includes little color accents to liven up the image, or not, depending on the style of painting.

    If you want to discover some good palettes for modern looking people, look at old paperback covers. There are websites all over the internet that have that kind of imagery.

    Anyway, keep going. You're doing great.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mirithiar View Post
    Thank you, I've been getting through your Bus sketches, there are many great ones in there!

    To be honest, this is by far the best drawing/painting of a human I have ever made, so I am quite pleased that I've managed to do it, and it's the only reason I'm putting it here! However, I still relied very heavily on the reference photo and as mentioned needed to colour pick tool - which I feel is cheating and I can see there is lots of room for improvement (or so I hope).
    Good day....looks very close. For skin tones continue to work with oils and blend. Always work from dark to light. Paint the face first. I always paint the pupil in first with jet black, then iris around.(more on that in a sec.) Then would be eyelids/lashes. Then would be dark nose side and lips. Then main face tone. Once those are on you can adjust tone. If it seems to orange add big strokes of really light yellow. Then come back in and blend with driest brush. This will look way awkward untill you blend in. You work is close, I would recomend adjusting the subjects right pupil until it sits right in the miidle of the iris. Then move the subjects right nostril twards middle of nose more. The eyebrow may just need a few highlight srtokes of very thin line light brown.....looks great/have fun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Puerto Rico
    Posts
    1,182
    I applaud you for your efforts on this portrait. You are aware of what's needed as you have explained. Work on those areas one at a time until you believe it's done. If you have a reference photo you can paste it on a corner, under ref pic I believe, and you can use the pick color tool on the ref pic, helps a lot in choosing the right color. You can try and remove the black outlines on the iris or color them same color as iris. On the left eyes there are 2 light reflections, one is smaller. It's not on the other eye, I would blend that smaller spot into the iris color, " The eyes are the windows of the Soul "....... good work so far, will stayed tune to see your art evolve.........
    Last edited by Tonyjazz; 06-21-2013 at 01:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    China
    Posts
    7,498
    Very nice painted portrait to me. I like it. Just keep painting.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Englishman in Ont, Canada
    Posts
    3,729
    Nicely done, the two things that stick out for me are firstly the nose as others have mentioned that needs to be realigned with the axis of the face.
    Secondly the iris on the left eye is misshaped which effects the appearance .
    Geoff

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    118
    Hello!

    Thank you for all the responses, kind words and tips, I will take it all into account and try to incorporate it into the next attempt I might be more careful with choosing my next reference photo too - to be perfectly honest I didn't give much thought to how difficult it's going to be to paint it, I just liked the photo and went for it. Next time I might pick something easier!

    I spent the last few days in the Lake District and I hope that some of the photos I taken can be used as references for paintings - excited to try some landscapes!

    All the best,
    Mirith

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    6,727
    Mirithiar,
    An impressive portrait. Those captivating eyes are absolutely riveting,
    almost hypnotic. Well painted!
    Mairzie Dotes

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