Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stages of the Little Boy Portrait from the Start

I've taken a step backwards with this portrait - back to methods that I used to use before I began to blog about technique - and, it seems to be working better for me.

Instead of applying light layers of pale wash first, going from light to dark tones, I have applied red, blue and brown shades first. Then, I have alternated between darks and lights, gradually building up the layers and increasing the pressure to create depth.

Here's the stages of progress from the beginning.

At this stage, a simple coloured outline is all that's been applied. Everything has been rendered lightly so that drafting errors can be corrected if necessary.

The shading is very blue here and, again, lightly applied.

Next, some red tones. The colour is bright scarlet but the pressure is slight.

Some light peach and orange hues have been laid down here and the eyes have been started with shades of blue.

The eyes seem to dominate, at this stage, but they are still too pale. More shading will bring more depth.

Brown shading now gives a more 3D effect and the eyes appear a little less exaggerated.

In between shading, I keep adding layers of light peach, peach, pink and yellow to bring out the highlights and add a glow to the skin.

The eyes have been intensified with black, blues and some white highlights. The eyelids have been shaded with many different colours including reds, browns, pinks, orange and peach. For one layer, I introduced a spruce green in the darkest areas.

Now, the hair is begun. The first step is to draw the shape of the strands - never individual hairs - using a mid-tone, which in this case is a light ochre.

Some brown ochre has now been applied to deepen the shadowed areas.

Some yellows and reds bring depth to the hair and create a more natural look - real hair is made up of many different colours.

The darks have been intensified with darker browns and some black, while the lighter areas have been improved with yellow, orange, red, light brown, grey and white.

I'll return to finish the hair and face, later, but, the next step from here will be the body and the background. The head seems unbalanced because it was snuggled into a cushion so I won't be able to improve it much more until I see it in the context of the surroundings.

Some of the pictures appear a little blue but the ground is actually a light grey. I took the last photos on my iPad and it seems to have recreated quite well the picture as I see it in real life.


  1. It's awesome to see the progression of a portrait like this, Vicky!

  2. Thank you, Mary! I love looking at the different stages when I read art books or design magazines. I wonder if it's the fact that something's being created?

    I so appreciate your encouragement, Mary - you are so wonderfully kind!

    God bless:-)


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