When learning how to paint a picture many artists want to learn how to paint portraits, this is not an easy task without knowing some basic techniques and tips. I will try to enlighten you into what I have learnt in my lifetime career as an artist. I hope this will help you to feel comfortable, and give you the confidence you will need to endeavor this genre.
Try to have a live subject to draw this will help out immensely, but if you can’t get the person live in front of you then ask for a clear picture one that is larger enough that you do not destroy your eyes by using a magnifying glass, I have known plenty of artists who have done this over the years.
When you want to do an oil painting of, say a person, use a red pencil first to draw the entire person, make sure you have the composite the major structure of the face correctly this is very important and a base for everything else to come. Observe all aspects of the character of the face.
Once that is done you need to paint out the eyes first. Once you can see the soul through the eyes, only then, can you bring it to life. Work on the eyes as long as you need because this can either make or break a portrait.
In painting different nationalities of people you used different painting techniques. When painting Caucasians the colors used are: Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre (just a little), Titanium White and very important under tone it with Prussian Blue. It will genuinely pull out a renaissance softness to the flesh like skin.
Verses, when painting the ethnic people of the America’s you will use: Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Titanium White (just a little to some of these colors). For these type-complexions, they ALL have an orange/gold tint even when the flesh tones are beautifully richer. The richer (deeper) the tones, there will be hints of purple and velvet grey’s mixed with light blues for highlighted areas. Applying Titanium Whites and then mixing those colors gradually until you get the darker complexion that is necessary; with that in mind, it is important to remember those undertones will have purple hues.
I reveal this information because many books will not touch on this subject, but let’s get real, there are many beautiful skin-types to color in the world and you might as well learn how to paint them all.
When painting the features of the subject try to see the whole picture with areas of light and dark. Make sure your background is very basic; you don’t want the viewer’s eye to be distracted. And the last thing about how to paint a portrait is that you need to practice, practice, practice. But have fun while you do, because if you are stressed this will come through in your painting.