- Lesson details
In This lesson:
Mark does the graphite drawing for the male portrait on hot press illustration board. This time he chose a subject with craggy features and dramatic lighting. Mark puts down the base tones and gets the painting ready for further applying the darkest darks and the halftones in the next lesson.
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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and this is a two-part lesson because
during the first today our seventh lesson I'm going to do
reasonably specific graphite drawing on top of
hot press illustration board.
And then I'll put down the base tones for the
the hair, the skin tone. At that point
we'll have something that's ready for applying the darkest
darks in lesson number eight and the half tones and carrying
it through to
completion. So when you're looking at today's lesson just
concentrate a little bit on how careful I am with the drawing.
The quality of the painting depends naturally on drawing
and so I'd like you to keep practicing drawing and also
just paint along with this lesson
either during or after it and then you'll be prepared for
for lesson number eight which will follow.
and several things drew me to it.
First of all, we have a single source of light, form lighting,
and we have instead of our last lesson where we had a lot of
reflected light in the shadow,
we have a some reflected light but the rest of but accenting but the rest of
it can be seen as
50/50. In other words the head is divided right down the
directly there between the light and the shadow. Now
I want you all to squint at the image and ask yourselves two
things. What are the hot spots on the head, in other words the
And then within the shadow, what is the area of the
greatest reflected light?
The hot spot here is on the cranium just where the frontal
prominence joins the temple and also on the side plane of the
nose with a crest light running down the bridge.
The rest of the flesh tones in the light fall off in value
relative to those lightest aspects.
So in the shadow, I pointed out that we're going to look for
the most or the lightest reflected light and that would
be above his eye socket.
But when you squint you'll notice that no matter what that
reflected light in the shadow is not as light as anything
else in his head.
this proves that
the lightest light in the dark is still darker than the
darkest dark in the light.
If you screw that up, if you get it too light, you'll be
introducing a second light source, which should confuse
the whole issue. Don't want that.
On my shoulder, the torso, and the neck we get light
by shadows from his hair
and then from the pectoral muscle over across to the dark
side of his figure everything is in ehadow.
The greatest reflected light in that area is on his right
pectoral muscle before the shoulder.
So that's the
form as you look at it on the left.
Now I'm going to do a pencil drawing
and then we're going to go from there directly into the
painting. So let's start.
I'm using a -
this is actually a 6B
graphite pencil. You could use a lighter graphite pencil.
It's all to you. But this is a low-key, in other words a dark
value structure. So working with a somewhat softer and
lead will work fine.
Kind of sketching in the hair mass, the shape of that air
The hair over his ear
and the head in front of his hair
on his right side.
Now there's a lot of individual variation between one person
and another. He has a somewhat longer head than our standard three
by two ratio and seen from the front.
And he's not seen from the front. He's slightly three quarters and see it's
still he has a very long head, narrow.
There is the pit of the neck at the bottom here.
Now he's also not looking at us at eye level, his head is tilted
forward. So let's just put in now our brow line.
Adjust the position of the ear which is higher at
the top than is the line of the brow.
Let's put in our center axis.
This could be a first line. I put in the brow line, but
it's very important.
This is the extent of his mustache
above the lip.
Not sure - I'm not sure how far to the right of the left the
wings of the mustache take us, but at least I've got the
That's why the upper lip overlaps the lower lip at the
I'm being pretty specific in this summation of his head,
but it is graphite and I do have a kneaded eraser. So I'll
go over this before I apply paint.
Make sure I'm satisfied with the with the lay out.
I'm going to line up the tear duct on
a plumb line parallel to the direction of the bridge of the
So that's the approximate position of the tear duct.
Obviously an important landmark.
Let's do the same here.
Try to look at the whole eye socket as a shape or
instead of small planes at this point
let's think of the sphere of the eye
about halfway across, just like the head itself, halfway across
from the -
turning into shadow halfway across from the direction of
the light source.
Or halfway across the eyeball.
We're going to try to describe the form in the light and
suggest the form in the shadow.
So that means I still have to go in and describe and actually
sketch in the eye in the shadow.
Notice there's a highlight on the iris coming from the
direction of the source of light to the right on the other
eye. There's a highlight on the iris, but it's coming from the
opposite direction because it's shown to us only by virtue of
And not direct light.
The pencil I'm using I described, it's a 6B graphite.
It's made by Staedtler Mars Lumograph 106B. illuma graph 106 B.
Other graphite pencils would also work.
I'm drawing on
hot press illustration board today.
We'll be painting on that.
Do just a little bit of clean up with my kneaded
We'll do more editing,
refining, and designing
as we move further through this but
just a little bit of
removing some clutter
at this point.
The earlobe lines up with the bottom of this eye socket.
The whole ear is overlapped by the sideburn in the hair above
Okay, now let's design the hair.
Now a lot of the hair of course, it's edges, its various strands,
those are going to be a matter of the paintbrush,
but so don't get too too tight about it.
It's going to be
part of the painting process.
Okay, so let's pull back now and see the entire image before
I start refining it.
Okay, so we're going to run off the page here.
I'm going to keep it within the border on the other side and
we're very close to the top with the hair mass.
now let's go ahead and start
cleaning up to make this more legible.
Remember when you apply the paints
the graphite beneath it
you're not going to be able to erase it.
So unless you want your lines to show through, which isn't
always a bad idea, but it's up to you unless you want that
then you have to go back in and lighten what you've done
so that it's clear enough for you to see.
And I hope clear enough for the viewers at home to see
Not so dark
that it will foul the painting.
This always works very well with gouache, which is opaque
A medium where you can actually go light on top of dark.
But with watercolor, we don't generally go light on top of
dark. I have not used in this series.
I haven't gone into the -
any kind of like white. They do make a Chinese white it's
called I think,
I've used it before, it's called a watercolor, but
being white it's opaque and
I don't think there's any -
the watercolour police aren't going to go after you in the
middle of the night because you used it, but that's basically
to be used as a
white, white as white, in other words put it in for a
highlight on the eye or put it in for something
that is absolutely white. Don't ever use that to mix
with your other colors.
Having said that if you're painting in gouache
It's very convenient. For instance if you're painting
outdoors to carry a small kit of watercolor and then just
one tube of white
and that will allow you to -
it'll handle like gouache so you don't actually even have to buy
the gouache, you can just use your watercolors with some
In case you ever do that.
on some of the areas
which are going to be dark in the painting anyway.
I'll try to point out a few of those.
So one of the things I'm looking for when I refine the
drawing is the space between various prominent features. So
for here for instance, the
space between his eye socket
and the shadow on his nose is too long. So make a simple
If you're using wax pencil, you can't do these things. If you're
using charcoal it's difficult at best. But here
with graphite it's not really a problem.
It's almost an exercise in geometry.
Just comparing spatial relationships.
I lighten a little bit with the eraser so that I can make
for instance here, we have a plane
outside the eye socket and I just created an arc, a shape
and now I'm going to look at the distances here for instance
between the eye socket
and the point where the
side plane of the nose
joins the front of the facial mass.
And here we turn
the septal cartilage
over the base of the nose.
As we continue I'm really looking critically at the
scale of each of these shapes.
So let's go back here
to this passage.
If I look for the corner of the mouth,
just outside of a plumb line leading to the iris, we
turning of an important plane.
so let's get really serious about getting that shape
We'll correct the position of the moustache now,
which comes with his head tilting forward the base of his
nose overlaps the mustache.
And that means we're going to raise the base of the mustache
a little bit.
Just lightening it a little bit.
And there's a little crest light on the lower lip
where the top plane meets the front plane.
So I'm looking now for the point at which the under plane
of his tooth cylinder
changes from light into form shadow.
And the same thing here
on the chin.
Chin is made up of three muscles.
The mentalis and the quadratus labii quadratus maybe ice in maybe I
inferior here. So you see this dimple on his chin.
A lot of these
aspects are something we downplay. We did
so on the last demonstration for the young lady,
but for a character like this, he's a bit of a character
actor I would say,
we want to go ahead and take advantage of that. It adds
attitude to him.
Gonna angle the brow like so, so you can get that arch to his
Okay, we're just about ready now.
Lighten up some of these strokes.
I'm getting quite ready now to go ahead and start putting down
of water on top of this
and then begin to apply the pigments.
Just kind of roughly define the
shape of his hair.
Just going to lighten it up a little bit
before we put a wash of water and then pigment on top of it.
fairly smooth. Pretty smooth. Its
It doesn't absorb in the same manner quite that
cold press does. So the first thing I'm going to do
is take a brush with some just some water
and see how absorbent it is. It's still pretty absorbent. So
let's go ahead and lay down our wash.
This is just pure water
synthetic filbert brush.
Keep Kleenex on hands and just saw pop up any excess
And go over all of the head not just the shadow area or the
light area but all of the head.
It would be a bad idea to try to fix or seal
the graphite drawing.
First of all, it would make it impossible to
erase any of it,
where you may need or want to.
it would affect the absorbency.
It would become less absorbent,
the board on which you're painting.
All right. You don't want that to completely dry.
I'm going to go ahead and start painting in an overall ambient
I'm going to start with a little yellow ochre.
Maybe even some raw sienna. He's got pretty dark complexion
and the lighting is
not too intense, so
waw sienna might be a good idea.
And take a little bit of alizarin crimson too.
Touch of magenta.
Very high tinting power so we'll need to put in some more
Let's test that out on our scratch sheet.
That looks pretty good.
So, let's see.
So what I'm doing now
is I'm kind of following the planes which I designed
in the drawing.
I want to keep it pretty light
in the light section of the head. I'm still using the same
mixture of pigments.
since we're going to mostly paint from -
well we're definitely going to paint from light to dark -
I want to have
not too dark of a surface to start with.
That would give me a lot of difficulty
some of the lighter planes in place.
I'm working at an incline. It's not
parallel to the ground, the floor, but if you keep a
kneaded eraser at hand
you should be able to
sop up any of the dripping paint.
Unless you want let it drip too, which can be done as well.
I'm going to add a little bit of
cadmium red light
into my mix
let that work for us on some of the
more ruddy passages we're going to encounter in the
along the bridge of the nose.
And probably here around the
Take a little bit of crimson
and work that into the lip area.
Tested it on scratch sheet.
Seems pretty acceptable.
Let's work on the hair now.
And this is quite dark obviously, so let's start with some of
those darker colors.
which is actually a mix between black
and ultramarine blue.
Gets us started with a nice dark.
It's very colorless though. A little cool, but still
colorless mostly. I'm going to add a little bit of the
Crimson and phthalo blue both have very high tinting powers.
So I'm going to take a little bit of the raw sienna too,
get that into the mix.
That's turning quite green. So what do we do? We put in the
complement of green.
And let's use alizarin crimson for that.
Let's get back to some
And we'll put some magenta back into that. I need to mix up a
fair amount anyway, because we've got a lot of hair to
I'm going to add a little bit of an earth tone. Just use raw
We have some earth tones in the head already so I want to
want to pick that up here in the face and in the hair.
It's a good idea now to
put down a wash again
over the hair.
I'm just using a wash that comes from water
where I've already scrubbed out a brush
in creating the pigment on the palette right here. So the
water's a little dirty
such a dark
hair that we want to -
it doesn't bother us at all to do that.
In fact, it might even show up a little better to me from
where I sit close to the painting.
And so that we have a small benefit, too.
Here we're going to lay it in over the wash.
Don't let the edge form too hard of an edge
on his scalp
because it'll look cut out. So that I took the kleenex and just
dabbed it a little bit.
I may do that elsewhere too.
Kleenex is a really useful tool
especially in water-based
watercolor, gouache, or acrylic.
My put a little bit of the flesh tone
into the dark so that I could create some
Just going to take the brush
and tap it on my finger
just to create a little bit of
They will work with some of the small shapes that we're going
to find in his
Not too much.
So we have right now an average flesh tone
and we have an average for his hair.
And then combining the two
gives us a little variety.
Obviously the hair is nowhere near as dark as it intends to
and the shadow on his head is not either and that will give
us room at that point to start painting the smaller planes
within the light portion of his head.
So I'm going to switch over to a somewhat smaller set of
brushes. Here are a couple.
The first one is the number two Langnickel
synthetic filbert brush.
And then this one
is a number four
langnickel synthetic round brush, comes to a point
as you see.
Let's start designing the transitions
from the shadows -
between the shadows and the lights.
Taking the mixture that I used here, which is the hair plus
and now I'm mixing up
some of that with
I keep another brush at hand so that if I want to -
and I do in many cases - if I want to soften an edge I'll first
put down some water along that transition.
So otherwise everything would come out scissor cut
and it would wouldn't look too organic.
Let's see how this does us.
Going to get my mahl stick.
Give me a little more control.
And that tone is carrying a little too far over into my
light. So I'll just
hit it with a Kleenex.
Watercolor will draw it a little bit lighter.
I want this lower lip to be almost the same value as upper
lip in this area.
But in other sections, I want it to be lighter.
tone, but we at least have everything drawn and laid in
refined and then those base tones placed. So that's it for
the seventh lesson. In the eighth lesson we're going to
go ahead and carry this painting to completion.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 22sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. A Graphite Drawing (Part 1)22m 41s
3. A Graphite Drawing (Part 2)19m 38s
4. Putting Down the Base Tones33m 14s
5. Lesson Summary32s