≡ Menu
Layering for watercolor portraits by Sandrine Pelissier on ARTiful, painting demos

Layering watercolors for portraits

This is watercolor portrait painting tutorial of my latest watercolor portrait, asking for my friend Sophie to pose, she has nicely done this a few times for me already:
I struggled with the composition on this one until I decided to change the format from a landscape to a portrait one. I also like to leave an unfinished part in the lower area with some drippings.
I am changing my way to work on watercolor portraits recently, using a more improvised way of painting, leaving more place for the paint to do what it wants to.  Here are some of the steps I took :

In the studio, watercolor portrait step by step painting tutorial

portrait drawing on newsprint

The drawing on newsprint, I did some shading that is not necessary but helps me better understand the face in 3 D.

transferring drawing on watercolor paper

After shading the back of my paper with charcoal and graphite, I taped it on my watercolor paper.

reserving whites with masking fluid on watercolor paper

On my watercolor paper, I just kept the main outlines. I reserve some areas with masking fluid.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

 

Daler-Rowney Masking Fluid

This fluid is used to create striking white highlights or to mask areas for overpainting at a later stage. It forms a fast-drying, water-resistant film on watercolor paper and board, and is easily removed when dry.

how to paint techniques, setting your watercolor paper at an angle

I start working with my board at quite a steep angle so the paint will go down and drip

painting with watercolor wet in wet

My first layers are blue in the areas in shade and yellow in lighter areas, I am not trying to have much control on the paint at this stage.

painting with watercolor wet in wet

Once those first layers are dried, I start to add more layers, incorporating some purples and orange.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Yarka St. Petersburg Professional Watercolor Pans

Same palette of traditional colors the great masters used a century ago. Liquid-poured means semi-moist pans respond instantly to a wet brush. 24 pans in plastic case. Also individual pans. – Master Set

painting features and hair

I start working on the hair and the features, adding paint and scrubbing some off.

scrubbing watercolor paint off

I scrub a lot of paint off, revealing more light areas.

In the studio, watercolor portrait step by step painting tutorial

The finished painting: In the studio, watercolor on paper