- Lesson details
In This Lesson:
This time Mark paints a female portrait on cold press illustration board. He chose a very rhythmical, classic, romantic type of pose which will take three lessons to complete. In this lesson, Mark does the graphite drawing part.
In This Course:
Learn to paint the portrait in watercolor with this new course from the late Mark Westermoe.
Mark Westermoe was a renowned artist, illustrator, and instructor, known for his work on many feature film posters such as Braveheart, Total Recall, and Home Alone.
Mark will cover all the tools and materials youʼll need for work in watercolor. You will start with small watercolor sketches and work your way to painting finished portraits using the Reilly Method.
You will learn to not simply copy your subject, but to add your own attitude to your portraiture.
In Mark’s words: “Try to bring yourself into whatever subject youʼre drawing or painting. As long as you have that youʼll maintain your interest.”
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working on cold-press illustration board. It's a very
kind of classic romantic type of pose and the hair and the
boa that she wears, all that. I want to do justice to that
subject matter with the watercolor. So I'll spend the
first session this one doing a drawing a careful drawing.
Last session you might recall I didn't start with any kind of
a drawing. I just started directly painting but for this
one because of the elements which you'll see
coordinate each to the other. It's really a good idea to do a
pretty good drawing. There are such things as quick
watercolor sketches, but at the same time this is going to actually
become, you know, finished watercolor. So that's what
we're going to do today. And then next session
we will go on to doing the painting and we'll explore
All right. Well, I hope you enjoy and learn from this
head painting and watercolor class. This time we're going to
work with a female and I like this particular pose partly
because it's kind of romantic with her hair, you know, waving
off to the right
and creating nice interesting shapes and rhythms.
We also have
not only a three-quarter view, but we have light coming from
the left and so our shadow pattern is going to be on the right
side as we look at it or left side of the nose
and we have a couple cast shadows particularly under the
and we're also going to have the side, the right side of her
head, from the zygoma or cheek bone all the way down to
the corner of the mouth and then down along the chin to
the base of the jaw.
And the interesting thing about this shadow pattern
you'll notice it's got a lot of reflected light, a lot of fill
light. Not sure if they used a reflector on this particular
or if it's just off of the ambient light in the room.
So that means you don't want to make your shadows a real super
It's not in keeping with the mood of the photograph and the
pose and it's also not -
it's going to - it's not going to let the head breathe a little
bit which this
shadow with the reflected light will help to so we'll be
looking for that. But do notice that the reflected light in the
shadow see is still darker than any halftone within the light
pattern. So don't let it get as light as the lights on her
face or on her
torso and shoulder.
We have a few textural elements here that
might we might able to tackle by
use of Kleenex and Q-Tip and and then painting into it a
little bit but we'll see as we go, there are a number of ways
of handling that sort of thing.
Okay. What I am going to do to start is do a quick pencil
we want to keep the head raised so that it's -
if this is the center line approximately
of your image
You want the body of the head to be above that line. You have
to take into account how much the hair takes up in this
image. So we're going to be placing the head
in the first half
of a division
that goes vertically like this.
So that's the approximate center. Notice I draw lightly.
The approximate center of the format which is quite the format which is quite
Probably about a two by three ratio, two across, three down.
Which is close to a movie poster ratio.
Okay, so we want to look at the farthest point to the right in
our composition and the farthest point to the left. And
I think I'm going to go with pretty much what we've got
here. But I'm going to consider maybe cutting the - cropping the
right at the pit of the neck and not too much below it. I
think that's probably the best option. Okay, so When we have a
three quarter head we want to put in place an oval for the head
and then we want to run a line not down the center of that
oval but somewhat to the left of that oval because that
represents the center of the
central axis of the head.
So let's go ahead and start. The highest point on our image is
this plane of hair here
let's try to place the
chin about here,
even a little bit farther to the left.
There's the line of the
scalp about there.
the drawing is going to be specific, but it's not going to be super
Look at the hair overlapping her forehead
and these strands of hair plus the shadows beneath them
not going to probably draw now. I might suggest one or two, but
that will be for the painting.
So there's an approximate central axis.
Let's indicate the position and sweep of her hair.
coming up under the chin
and then down
and off to the left.
We will draw the shoulder and the pit of the neck after we
get the head more established.
I'm going to go ahead and
let the hair run off the
and I'm just using this as a
cold press illustration board today.
Notice, it's a little bit off white.
It's kind of a little warm and then a little off white.
That's where the ear falls pretty much and then here
we get the line of her neck.
Okay, so now let's establish the highest point in the head,
the lowest point of the head and we're going to divide that
distance in half.
We're gonna add a little bit
above it where the brow
overlaps the eyeballs. The halfway position top to bottom
is where the eyes are located. Thus the line I've drawn above
it is where the brow structure overlaps the eyeballs.
And from that point to the base of the head, we're going to
divide in half and that will give us the extent of the
height of the nose
Then we're going to take the distance from the base of the
nose to the chin and divide it in half and that will be the
bottom of the lower lip. Those are standard proportions
she's probably pretty close to them. She has sort of a
So there are some points of deviation from the standard but
not that important at this point. I'm going to turn the
head back here at the temple on the forehead
Got a long neck.
The shoulder line
is about here
and the wrap comes over
about like that.
And there's the top of her arm.
Okay, now we're going to go back into
these proportions and design the specifics of her head. I'll
start - I usually do - at this
above the bridge of the nose.
then I'm going to add
let's follow the bridge of the nose
down to the base
and those turns under
and falls into shadow
wraps out over the tooth cylinder
and the wing of the nose ends about here.
And then if I go from the wing of the nose along the same
angle as the bridge,
I can draw a straight line
and that will give us the point at which the tear duct falls.
when you squint at the head, you can help simplify all that
especially in the
in the facial features, the nose, mouth, and the eyes.
orbicularis oculi muscle comes from the brow bone and
overlaps the eyeball.
And so we want to show that.
And then we're going to draw up from beneath it to indicate
Notice that especially with makeup the eyelid is fairly
So we're going from the bigger shapes progressively to the
Get a little more specific with the shape of the side plane of
It falls against the diagonal plane,
which is the front plane of the facial mass.
And when it does that it creates a diagonal movement.
Try to gauge the distance between the wing of the nose
and the base of the eye socket.
That'll help prevent a nose looking too long.
or part of the head looking too short.
So you keep doing these cross checks with other shapes that
you've established in the drawing.
Naturally, they may be in error.
So you have to be very careful about placing your shapes to
All right. Let's see. Now we pick up here
And beneath the philtrum
the peak of the lip
and we've got the bottom of the lip pretty well and halfway
between those two points
the lip overlaps the lower lip
I'm going to look for the corner of the mouth.
And that lines up under the highlight in her eye.
And I'll line up the other corner
which lines up
almost where we picked up the iris.
And then I'm going to draw an ellipse. lips.
This is the plane beneath her lower lip above the chin.
It's the orbicularis Oris muscle.
Here's a shadow coming off the eye over the cheekbone
and then from there
the cheekbone is in shadow.
The side plane of the facial mass is in Shadow.
And so I'm looking at that triangle of light here
and I'm trying to match it up
She has a fairly prominent chin
which ends there
and then the big shape of the head will be refined a little
The corner of the jaw where it turns from vertical to diagonal
is approximately on line with the
top of the chin.
The earlobe lines up just below.
The base of the nose because her head is tilted back a
little bit. So it's a
in which case the facial features
rise relative to the ear.
And the pit of the neck lines up
just beneath the outside of her iris.
is the sternal mastoid muscle
running up behind the ear to the back of the skull.
There's the form shadow at the head of her arm.
And here is the boa. Okay, let's get a little more into
the hair now.
There is a light and dark pattern to her hair.
First of all, you see a crust of light here.
You also see
Primarily the hair just overlapping the boa which is up
into here and this is where that overlap occurs.
So now I'm just going to take a white vinyl eraser pen and I
could use a kneaded eraser to be just as good and I'm just
going to take out
some of the earlier construction lines, the
proportion lines and so on.
Just basically to clean up.
And don't wipe it with your hands,
use a Kleenex or desk brush.
I wouldn't use charcoal.
Or a wax pencil if you're going to do a preliminary drawing.
Because you need to be able to erase it
Some of the facial features which are dark in nature.
We're going to
draw them a little bit darker before I proceed to painting.
Some places I kind of cross-hatched a little bit of
a darker value so I could separate my lights from shadows,
see it clearly. But before I paint generally want to remove
I'll keep the borders of those areas intact but
I'll take out any of this cross hatching.
I've lightened a couple of strokes too without erasing them
in particular these strands of hair on the forehead.
This is a 4B graphite graphite pencil. I'm using so it doesn't
take much pressure for it to go sufficiently dark.
you certainly don't want to go dark dark, that's what your paint is
so that's just about
good enough. It's a lot tighter actually of a drawing
I often do in watercolor, but it's got so much interesting
stuff going on, so many different textures and rhythms
and she's very beautiful. We want to design the head as
nicely as you can
that I took the time to do that.
I just started off with paint and that was that so it depends
on how precise the project has to be
or just how you're feeling about it that day.
After all, when you paint with a brush, you're just drawing so
it's not really different from -
in real ways - from
working with your pencil.
cleaned it up and darkened a few areas, but I kept it very
light so I don't really want the drawing to be dominant, it's
after all a painting. And the drawing will continue when we
We'll be refining it at all stages. So this now gives us
the chance at our next class next class.
to go over a color and focus on that and other things like
paint application and edges. So
I hope you learned a little from this one. If you get the
chance, you can take my lead and find a good photo and just
go ahead and do a careful graphite drawing.
Try not to use wax pencil, Conte, or charcoal
because they're kind of permanent and make sure you
draw a light and we'll finish the painting in two sessions.
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1. Lesson Overview1m 30sNow playing...
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2. A Graphite Drawing42m 27s
3. Lesson Summary and Assignment Instructions1m 13s