7 Essential Tips To Paint Portraits From Photographs

Portrait painting can be seriously intimidating, especially for many beginners. Drawing a human face is a challenging goal because of the many different details that give that face its specific expression. And what about colours? Getting the right colours for each small detail of the face is always hard and sometimes even frustrating.

blackjack gamblersThe Hardest Side Of Portrait Painting

Imagine that you want to paint a portrait of a group of fervent gamblers while betting on a lively blackjack game. Their faces, their eyes, their looks… it all seems too difficult to represent with brush and colours. A gambler’s face is often tensed, you should imagine that his face “speaks” itself about how the blackjack game is going.

Facial muscles should express mental concentration, fear of not winning, or extreme happiness for winning. If you’ve never gambled yourself, you can’t know what feelings and deep emotions you are missing. If you are unfamiliar with casino games, check the superb games at Sportsbetting India and things will be easier for you, as you will have a clue of what to paint and how you can do it.

The bottom line is that you should always spend much time practising portrait painting. Probably, you won’t like your work, but it’s ok because you are only at the beginning and the best is yet to come.

Successful Steps To Learn Portrait Painting

Practice can be time-demanding and exhausting but it’s essential if you want to improve your skills. Among the various ways to make a portrait, there is one that you may like. It’s about making portraits from photographs. This trick is simple and practical, particularly if you can’t have a model in person in front of you. You can use your imagination but having a photograph under your eyes makes the entire job much easier.

All you have to do to paint a portrait from a photograph is to learn and practice the following tips:

  1. Pick a photo with high-level contrastportrait from a photo
    A large part of your results with portrait painting depends on the photo that you choose. If you can take a photo yourself it would be better as you can be in control over the lighting and pose of the subject. Anyway, make sure to pick a photo with high-level contrast between highlights and shadows, so it will be easier for you to see lines and boundaries among the different parts of the face, hair, neck, shoulders, and other elements. Another thing, keep in mind to choose a photo where the subject’s face is not entirely under the light. If there are some shadow areas on the subject’s face, you’ll get more dimensionality when painting the portrait.
  2. Sketch the image
    Once you are sure about the photo that you’re going to use for your work, begin to sketch the image on your support. You may mark the shadow areas on the face so you’ll be facilitated with the next passages, but this is not necessary. During this phase, focus on the shapes rather than on the lines.
  3. Get the right colours
    You don’t need to use too many colours. Usually, all portraits result to need no more than 5 colours for the skin tones (french ultramarine, titanium white, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, and burnt umber). You can also use some linseed oil to give your colours the feeling of the flow. Just keep in mind to use only a small amount of linseed oil otherwise your paint will get translucid.
  4. Eyes come firsteye drawing
    At the end of your sketch, you have to think about painting the details. Start by painting the eyes and keep in mind that even the white part of the eyes is never pure white! There are light shadows and variations in the tone of white. Then, focus on the pupils and try to get the right colours.
  5. Shadows and lights
    As we’ve told you above, the subject’s face of your photo should have some shadow areas and light areas. Start by painting the shadows and keep mixing the colours to get the right tone for every part of the face.
  6. Mid-tone colours
    Now, focus on mid-tone colours by working from dark to light. Once you’ve placed your darks, go on with the mid-tones. This is a delicate phase of your work because you have to keep always attentive to every minimal change in colour. So, keep mixing colours.
  7. Light colours
    Avoid using white for your light tones. You simply have to mix either warm or cool colours depending on your photo. Mix the right colours with some white and block in the light areas on your portrait.

Finally, try to create a flow between different tones to eliminate any tone cut. Adjust the colours with light touches and add light reflexes where needed.


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