Sunday, July 31, 2011

Newborn Portrait - Now for the arm!

Layer upon layer has been applied to build up depth and colour. Now, it is apparent that more work needs to be done on the little foot. The colours here are a bit browner than in the actual picture, but, still, more pinks will need to be applied to the baby's foot to give the impression of realistic, pinky baby flesh.

At this stage, I need to apply more burnt ochre over the hand and arm. The fingers have already had this layer applied. The finger nails need more pinks and reds - they are quite white-looking and seem unhealthy, at the moment. The cuticles will need to be toned down with either a coating of peach and pink or, if necessary, some lifting of the pigment with a piece of Blu tak. I have applied a very light layer of dark blue to the deepest shadows and the veined areas, and this may need to be lightened around the nails to soften the effect. A little more red and an all-over layer of peach will probably be sufficient , before I move on to the next part of the portrait.

The new pencils have made a huge difference and that is one reason why the foot now looks odd. A different technique and more colours has meant a different approach and a different effect. I have settled upon using both Prismacolors and Derwent Coloursoft pencils for my flesh tones. They both produce creamy, rich colours which are not quite possible with the harder pencils. I have found that Prismacolors have a lot more peach and cream colours than the Derwents. This makes it possible to build up the tones gradually, which is important when a smooth finish is desired. Derwent Coloursofts have more pale and medium pink colours and, so far, I am finding some warmer reds in the range, although I do need to experiment more before making a real jugdment. Having such a good range of colours is making it is easier to achieve exactly the effect that I am aiming for.

The adult arm has more oranges and yellows than the baby skin, which has more pinks and purples. It, also, has more browns in the shadowed areas. The baby's shadows are more red in hue. None of these colours is set in concrete, yet, however. I will continue to stand back from the portrait to assess those all-important adjustments which will make such a difference to the finished picture.

I haven't mentioned the type of strokes I use to achieve different textures - that may have to come in the next post.


  1. I wonder now you are getting such great effects with your new pencils, if you will go back to your previous works and feel dissatisfied. Will you feel the urge to touch them up using your new colours?

    The arm looks so realistic. I can't wait until you have done enough work to give another view of the whole portrait.

  2. You're right, Sue - I am dissatisfied with my previous work. But, I won't go back to retouch them, partly because I have new ideas and have moved on, since then, and partly because I need a fresh surface to achieve the flawless finish that I am aiming at.

    Thank you for your feedback, Sue - it's so helpful to my progress:)

  3. I can definitely see the difference between the baby skin and the arm. It looks so good at the moment. I would love to see the finished product for real. It's going to look great!

  4. Thank you, Immy. I try to make the photo look like the real picture but there's also differences in screens to think about, so I'm not sure what it looks like on your computer. On my computer, the colours aren't quite as nice and the contrasts don't have the same effect. I'd love to have you visit us to take a look though!:)


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky