Portrait painting techniques
Based on some portraits that I am currently working on, I explain some dos and don’ts in portrait painting technique. Of course I have to say my 10 dos and don´ts. So to say my painting style.
Portrait painting techniques I
1. The two skin folds around the mouth, I make them lighter in tonal value and warmer in hue.
2. I show as few as possible individual teeth. I smooth the contrasts there.
3. I NEVER use Blue or Black to indicate the contrasts in the mouth. Those two never match with the adjacent areas and make the portrait unbelievable. I normally use a combination of Crimson and Raw Umber.
Portrait painting techniques II
4. I avoid “blending” as much as possible. I am looking for “connecting” brushstrokes.
5. I use as many recognizable colours as possible. So not a kind of general brown in the shadows areas or a general flesh tone in the light areas.
6. I try to render as little as possible the details. (Photorealism is not my cup of tea, you may know by now). Especially around the eyes but also with the mouth. I endeavour to translate what I see into brushstrokes.
7. For the (high) lights I often use a White + Crimson combination. Or White + Cerulean blue. (Highlights are cool)
8. In the nostrils never Black or Ultramarine Blue but the Crimson + Raw Umber combination.
Portrait painting techniques III
9. I always keep the hairline as soft as possible by blurring it into the background.
Portrait painting techniques IV
If the model wears glasses then I don´t paint them perfectly. I paint “around the truth”. Otherwise the risk is that you first see the glasses and second the face.
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