View Full Version : Baby boy portrait- need help pls

07-10-2012, 05:06 AM
My friend recently had a baby and she asked me to do a portrait for her. I tried one today but I'm not happy with it. The eyes seem to dark and I always have trouble with noses It's watercolour on A3 water colour paper. I'm just starting to use watercolours so I'm still figuring out how to use them and would appreciate any suggestions. I've included the reference pic. I'm going to try again tmw.

07-10-2012, 08:26 AM
Hi! I think you have made a very good first attempt! Yes, the eyes are too dark and also too large, this is a common mistake so don't worry! The eyes are also a bit close together, they don't come that far across the bridge of the nose and not so close to the side of the head. The face is too short also, I think it is because the nose is turned up too much, so there appears not to be quite enough between the nose and mouth, and the mouth and chin. Subsequently, the face looks a bit squashed or scrunched up. Shadow under the chin could be softened slightly also. What an adorable baby, you are almost there, just a few changes will improve the likeness. Very good effort so far, I really like it. Cheers Debs. =))

Octopus Inc.
07-10-2012, 03:49 PM
i would try relocating the reflections in the eyes just a touch higher up. it should make the eyes appear wider and a bit more alert. but really, all in all a great job.

07-11-2012, 03:38 AM
Thanks so much for you advice Debzy and Octobpus, I tried again today from scratch. I'm much happier with this one although it just doesn't feel quite SHAZAM! finished... if you know what I mean? I'm wondering if there's clothes or background need to be changed to make it POP more? Actually I just noticed that I've amputated his arms! :eek:

07-11-2012, 06:19 AM
This is definitely improved, his eyes look like eyes now instead of dark sockets well done! I think the shadow under the mouth is a bit deep and a bit dark and could be a little bit straighter, also you will notice there is a very slight dip at each side of the mouth. The shadow at each side of the nose isn't even so the nose looks a bit crooked, sorry, don't mean to be picky....Apart from the missing arms... lol :D , it is looking great and I am yet to do a portrait in watercolour so I take my hat off to you. The recipient will be delighted. Cheers. Debs. =))

07-12-2012, 01:31 AM
Ella I agree with Deb your second attempt is much better, dimensionally the face hits the mark.
He does need some arms and maybe some detail on his little bear suit?
Deb is also correct re the down turn at each corner of his mouth.
I think this is really good though


07-12-2012, 01:42 AM
Andrew and Debzy I really appreciate your help :) I am in awe of people that can 'see' like you, maybe one day I will get there. The other one just wasn't sitting right with me so I had one more go. This one I think captures the smoothness and luminosity of the baby skin much better. I did some reading to figure out how to get rid of the watermark lines that I was getting all over the place making him looking wrinkly. So this time I kept the paper much wetter and didn't worry about matching the colours and funnily enough I think it turned out more realistic :D.

I'm much happier although I feel like there is again something crooked or wrong with the nose and mouth but I can't see what I need to do to fix it. Any suggestions from fresh eyes? I promise this is the last one! :o

07-12-2012, 09:22 AM
Hi Ella, yes, this is definitely a further improvement and looking so close in likeness. He is looking very cute now! I like the softer complexion you have achieved and the nose is much better. I think he is a little jaundiced =)), maybe he needs to be pinked up a little, and if you can take any more critiques, I think his face on the viewers right is a little too round in your painting. He has more of a lower jowl with the side of his face being a little straighter. This would make an amazing difference. Also, there is a very very soft shadow at the outside of his eyes extending outwards, (not much, just a hint) and I would soften the outline of his eyelids slightly too. The viewers left side underneath of his bottom lip could be slightly straighter, there isn't quite such a thickness to the lip there, and I would still soften and perhaps ever so slightly lighten the shadow under the bottom lip. I think all these little tweaks could be done on the current painting with little difficulty and would really work for you. As for the little bunny suit, awwww.... so cute! I would still add some of the soft pastel colours rather than the yellow, the first attempt you did had lovely effects in the bunny suit in my opinion. I hope I haven't overwhelmed or offended you, I can see you obviously want to get a close likeness (as I would) and little things make a big difference. So far, you have improved daily on this beautiful painting and you are so close now. Work on changing the latest one slightly and it will be spectacular. Great work and thank you for listening and posting your efforts with such commitment. I love this little guy and I feel like I know him. Cheers and Good luck, Debs. =))

07-13-2012, 02:16 AM
Hi Deb,
Wow you should really try a watercolour portrait, I'm sure you would be incredible at it!
I tried to fix up the things you have mentioned. I went over it all with a bit of pink to try and tone down the jaundice :clear: , tried to thin the bottom lip on the left, lightened the chin shadow, shadowed and slightly softened the eyes and attempted to straighten the right side of the face. I'm not sure if it made a huge difference but I wasn't game on doing anything too drastic as I'm a bit nervous about introducing more problems than I fix. Oh I also added some blue into this suit. I'm sure it's not perfect but I'm pretty happy with how much I have learned about watercolour and improved since my first try at this portrait so I'm calling it finished. Plus I had to give it to my friend today... otherwise I'm sure I could go on tweaking forever. She liked it so that's good! A huge shoutout to Debzy for your invaluable advice! :clap: Thankyou so much. This is the finished result...

07-13-2012, 03:18 AM
Ella, this is a smashing result. The minor changes though very subtly did certainly soften and complete the portrait! I think you can be very proud of this as you have certainly worked for your desired result and achieved it. From your first attempt, this is a totally different result which just shows that sometimes it is worth trying again as you become so familiar with the subject. Each time was better than the last and I am very proud of you too! Well done! I am sure the mother would have been thrilled to bits with such a priceless memory to keep forever. Not everyone can get a friend to paint a portrait of their baby! And especially with such talented use of watercolour! Top effort Ella, I love it. Cheers Debs. =))

08-15-2012, 04:08 PM
Well done Ella. What an improvement in such a short time.

Octopus Inc.
08-15-2012, 07:46 PM
Wow, I like this a great deal... Hats off!

leisure artist
08-16-2012, 11:55 AM
This is brilliant Emma your perseverance has paid off...well done...Christine:)