- Lesson details
In This Lesson:
The second part of the female portrait session. Mark puts down the base tones then goes into detailing the facial features. From this lesson, you can learn how to model a head with color.
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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second part of the female head demonstration. We did the
drawing, now we'll go to color.
And that will be today's lesson.
we've gone ahead and done the drawing lightly and it's just
graphite. So now I'm going to go over it with color. And for
starters I think I'll
put down water wash over the head,
over all of it except the background. I'll probably do a
vignette which means the background won't be painted. So
I'm just going to dip - this is a filbert, soft synthetic
Filbert brush. Dip it in the water and just lay down water
before I lay down paint.
And don't push.
You don't want the graphite to smear into the color, which
we're going to apply later.
Just lay it down.
If it drips a little bit, so that's all right.
There's not much humidity in the air today. So the paint
will set up and dry
a bit faster than it might otherwise do.
If you have some excess water, you don't want it to run or
Just take a Kleenex dabbing little bit.
I'm going to kind of mix up a
an overall flesh tone for the face, the shoulder, and neck and
one formula that tends to work pretty well
is a little bit of yellow ochre
and then a little bit of cadmium red light.
Just maybe a tiny little touch of magenta
that would take it away from
a little bit overly orange kind of a color cast.
Yeah like that more.
And we can test that.
I'm going to mix a little water into that.
Just add a little more pigment because
I've used up quite a bit of it already. So let me just mix
The cad red light has a higher tinting power by far the yellow
a little bit of it goes a long way. I'm going to bring some
more yellow ochre back into it.
All right, and then just a touch of magenta.
And probably thin that down a little bit.
I'll pick up a little bit of raw sienna
and mix in some
cadmium red light, maybe even a little bit of alizarin
And then I'll
a color tone over the hair with that.
Maybe a little yellow ochre, too.
I'll just take a clean
filbert synthetic brush
and touch into those edges a little bit so it's not quite
such a hard edge.
This area for instance.
Then soften up a couple of edges here.
Okay for the boa
I see a lot of violet or even purple in that.
And so we're going to mix something up along those lines.
Just clean up that mixing area.
Starts off pretty strong because that's paint right out
of the tube. But the complement to this color is yellow. So,
let's see what we can do.
I'll take some cadmium yellow light.
Put the two together.
That's pretty good. That's a nice rich dark. I think I'm going
to re-wet the
the area where the boa
will be painted.
You can do this with Kleenex, which is to just pick up some
of the extra water. I wouldn't recommend paper towels for
this. They're just too harsh.
So any kind of facial tissue is going to be better for you.
Let's mix up a little bit more of the pigment here.
Just picking up some of this
more yellow version
of the boa color and placing some of the darks
in her hair.
Softening a few edges because you don't want it to be to ocut out
We are trying to be a little graphic about these shapes, but
they have to breathe a little bit, too.
Okay, I'll just clean my brushes now.
And we'll start painting in some of the shadows on her
nose under her lip and of course along the side plane of
her face as well as some here in the neck.
Or I could start off painting some of the facial features
and then go for those other elements. I think that's what
I'm going to do.
So here I'm going to switch from a filbert to a round, which
comes to a point.
I have another one that's a little smaller.
Because the scale of this painting is not large.
This one comes to quite a fine point.
here we want to mix up our pigments.
I'm going to use a larger brush to mix with because it would
really damage the point on this if I scrubbed it into the paint.
Take some raw umber.
There are other ways to mix up darks, but I'll try this one.
And some ultramarine blue.
Still turning quite green because of the raw umber.
So let's try alizarin crimson, which is the complement of
And see what we get.
It's starting to go nice and dark. I'm going to wet the area
the eye socket.
If I don't do that, then when I put down these
description of her eye socket and the forms within it
it's going to look like it's just
cut out with scissors and put on top of her instead of
melting into the surrounding planes.
Just picking up a little the excess water, but still leaving
these shapes dark enough.
I'm going to add a little bit of crimson into that mix
and start to work around the mouth.
Here's where just your drawing skills
will make a difference.
Soften the edge at the wings of the lip
so it doesn't appear just cut out, pasted it onto her face.
I'm going to paint the lower lip, which
is considerably lighter.
Yes, this is rose madder and
I've got some cadmium yellow red - I'm sorry cadmium red
already laid down on the palette.
Just sometimes give it a test. If you have a little
clipping of the same illustration board you can
just use that to test your color.
And since we're not mixing with white, your color
is going to be raised in value by just increasing
the amount of water.
All right. She's got very dark amber brown eyes.
We're going to paint the irises now
and I think I'll start off with some raw sienna,
possibly a little touch of
All I'm leaving is a little dot
for the highlight in each iris.
And let's leave that for a moment to dry.
While we do that let's take a little bit of cerulean blue.
This we're going to use for the
whites of her eyes.
While it's wet, I just lighten it up with a dry
filbert round brush.
I'm going to take a little more of our
for emerald green
and let's try to get a good rich dark out of the two.
I don't really paint nostrils until I painted the planes in
which they rest and so that's why I worked around the under
plane here of the
The shadows on our head have a lot of reflected light. So
that's important to note right away, and I'm just going to
clean up my mixing area here first.
And I'm going to give the shadows a little bit of a cool
kind of a color cast.
I took some cerulean blue and then whatever was left on my
brush from the last
excursion on to the illustration board
we'll try to create the shape of the shadow.
All right, where her jaw and chin overlap the boa
I'm going to place a half tone.
I'm going to go back to my basic flesh tone mix which was
cadmium red light,
little bit of raw sienna,
and a touch
If I find other areas in the painting where this color works
then I'll just use it now, right, now don't wait.
Okay. Now one of the very
strongest characteristics of this image is the dark blond
And when I say dark, I mean dark. If you squint at the
you'll see. She may be blond or even a little bit of auburn but
in this lighting and with her hair, it comes across as a
pretty strong dark shape.
So I'll take some raw sienna, little bit of yellow ochre,
touch of magenta
with the areas that I'm going to work into
and I'll strive to get try to get that strong graphic dark.
We have the darks pretty much all over her
facial features, but nothing more really so let's
start establishing those.
Either take a little raw umber
just to darken it some more.
The color of the boa is very similar to the color of the
some of the shadows
on her hair.
So take advantage of that.
With this plane beneath her mouth
don't Loop it down in thisbig C curve. It'll look like a
pouch or something. That's really not very pleasant. Just
bring it across.
Horizontally like that
usually works best.
we spent a little time today and started to model the head
with an emphasis on facial features and edges. And I hope
you're getting a chance to do some practice at home, and I'll
look forward to seeing you guys in the next lesson. Thanks.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview22sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Putting Down the Base Tones19m 44s
3. Detailing the Facial Features21m 11s
4. Modeling the Head with Color25m 5s
5. Lesson Summary30s