May 16, 2011

Portrait - Tanush

Portrait - Tanush

After so many days of trying to shake myself out of the watercolor-portrait block, I finally managed to finish a good one. This time around though I made a note of everything that I did to make the portrait, so that the next time I need a push, I don't end up with 'I'm not sure' as an excuse.

I am going to mention every bit of a thing that I did to make the portrait.

1.   I checked up online to see if there were any simple tutorials for portrait painting. There are quite a few! And they are pretty good at the explanation. The only thing that they differ in is the color pallette that each of them uses. And probably a few steps here and there.. More or less, things explained remain the same.

2.   I went over my previous portrait (yeah, the one which I drew of myself!). I stared at it for quite a few hours -  off and on; trying to see why sometimes I felt it was just fabulous and sometimes that it wasn't at all like what I had imagined it to be! Yeah, I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary blues that cropped up at many odd places! I took a pen and paper and made whatever little notes that I could make. I regretted not making these notes while I was painting that portrait!

3.   I had decided pretty long back that the next portrait was going to be of Tanush's; so the block kind of stopped me from trying any other portraits as well! I missed Julia Kay's Portrait Party so much, because I was determined that this one needs to be done first and then the others! After a few days of just trying to get started, one fine day, I made up my mind that I need to have my own studio (I like to call it that, though it is just a desk LOL!). So I put up notes, pulled out my small desktop easel and arranged my paints, papers and other stuff in a way that would be organized and easily available! It took me just a day! I wonder why I hadn't done that before... Well, tell you what!? That just got me started!!!

4.   I had shifted Tanush's photo in a different WIP folder on my Picassa. That just had this one photo, but worked well.. I made quite a few rough sketches to get a good hold of the features as well as to get the best portrait. Well, I think I drew this photo about 4 times. The last one was the best and I stopped.

Portrait - WIP

5.   I darkened this final rough sketch with a 2B pencil. I placed the sketch on the light table (I don't really have one! I have a glass top table, and I slid down a table lamp under that while covering the whole place with a curtain....), a Watercolor Cold Press 140 lb paper on top, and then lightly traced over the picture with a 2H pencil and lightened it further using a kneaded eraser. By now I knew where I had to draw really light and where some emphasis could be given...

6.   By now I had decided on which tutorial to follow! You can go through Wetcanvas' Portrait Lesson which gives you a simple and easy to follow series of steps to make your portrait. I made simple notes of it in a paper emphasizing mainly on when to take a break.  I mounted the drawing to a hard support.


7.   I kept away the drawing and took a day's break, because I was getting too excited! :) As the next step, I decided on what all colors I will use for the portrait. I went through the photograph trying to notice what shade are the different shadows and created a small palette with all the colors that I was going to need and what shades could be mixed with them. I had decided on a mild - almost monotone portrait, so I needed just 4 colors or so. I pulled out appropriate brushes too.

Portrait - First Wash

8.   The next day, I lay a basic shade over the entire face, leaving out a few white areas on the face and hair. I let the color flow on to the hair and a little bit of the background too for harmony. I looked for the violets and greens in his face as suggested by the demo.. I dropped a bit of violet wet into wet. My paper wasn't too wet either, though - I didn't wet the sheet completely before starting. I started with wetting areas and then dropping colors, to see how that works.. I let it dry completely before I started another layer on it.

9.   The next day, I started with the eyes. I had to look for the soft violet and green tones in the shadow areas. I had my shades mixed in preparation. So I wet the crease in a line above the eye. With a small brush I dropped a soft shade of burnt umber in a line along the crease. With a clean damp brush I directed the flow of the color to the drier area. I kept doing this until I got a crease effect and then, I let it dry. I also added a wee bit of color to the inner corner of the eye. 

10.  I worked on the shadows around the eyes some more. And I also added a soft warm color to the left side of Tanush's face., which was reflecting a good red color from the pillow he was lying on. 

11.  I dropped in soft colors for his Iris.. I was still working with soft colors and shades.. I added a few eyelashes and a soft color to his lips. I used the same coloring technique all over the painting - I used to lay down a wash, and then with a clean damp brush I used to lift up excess water and color. And I kept doing that until I was satisfied with the work.

12.   I added a good bit of shadows and details to his ears and the area between his nose and upperlip. I again went back to work around the eye and an overall light touch up all around the face. You can notice the greens in the inner corner of the right eye and also around his nose. The painting looked quite scary at this point! I just wanted to finish off the hair and eyebrows as soon as possible. 

Portrait - WIP - Building it up

13.   I came back to it the next day. I started with his nose and worked on it adding shades little by little. Every now and then I would take a break from the area where I was adding all the details and start looking for shades to be added on to the entire face. Once I was 'done' with the nose, I went to the hair. I didn't want to use a dark color to his hair and shift all focus there, so I used loose strokes and shaded it to the minimum. I put in burnt umber and shaded it up with a mix of burnt umber, alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue. 

14.  I went through the ear shadows and details once the hair was done in completion, so that I could harmonize ear with the hair and skin. I touched up areas on his temple and forehead with some alizarin crimson.

15.  It was time to draw his eyebrows - something that's a real challenge for me. I am always worried that if they don't turn up in the correct length, width and angle the whole painting would be doomed! :) Well, I didn't take so much time to characterize them! I will have to thank my initial sketch for that! I used burnt umber and then touched it up with violets..

16.  Re-touched the face everywhere and 'polished' the nose. I was quite happy. It was time to pull the face out of the background. I worked on the chin and neck to bring them up. And then pushed the background down a little with a bit of a violet mix. Ta-da!!!! :) :)

 My palette :)


Mary C. Nasser said...

Fantastic portrait and wonderful tutorial! Love the picture of your palette, too! :)

So glad I found you through the miz kate dot com Artist blog hop!
I am your newest blog follower. :)
Looking forward to seeing your upcoming posts!

I welcome you to check out my art blog, too!

Mary C. Nasser

Shalini said...

Thanks Mary...

Shelley Whiting said...

Your portrait of the boy is very lively and full of joy. A beautiful and spectacular picture.

Shalini said...

Thank you Shelley