View Full Version : Portrait - In Progress

04-08-2013, 12:55 PM

I was watching a Mary Whyte video this weekend and was inspired to do a portrait. I was actually quite chuffed that it is coming out as good as it is. Apart from the black eye which needs attention I'm fairly happy so far.

However - I'm getting stuck with the hair. I want to give the impression of hair without doing every strand but I'm not getting very far. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

04-08-2013, 08:30 PM
I wouldn't be too concerned about the hair you've given a fine impression of it, maybe soften the hard edges of it a little. Your skin tone is absolutely beautiful and the dark patch is not having any negative effect. Good work, don't over fiddle.


Devoted 2Art
04-09-2013, 01:10 AM
Very good job so far. your skin tones are fabulous. I think the hair and the black eye will be fine once you add some color to rest of the painting. The only thing I see is that the nose seems a bit low for some reason.

04-09-2013, 05:05 AM
I also love Mary Whyte's work!!! You've got a good start painting this portrait. I would leave the hair as is as it's very good as are the eyes. The 3/4 view is tough to paint - or should I say draw correctly. I think your drawing is off some - too much cheek bone on the left or, as pointed out, the nose might be too long and too much to the front view. And, her ear looks too large. Really look at your reference and do measure comparisons.

04-09-2013, 10:40 AM
I agree with the others, I think the hair looks good. And the skin tones are nice. I particularly like her lips - very natural looking. :thumbsup:

04-09-2013, 10:54 AM
Thanks everyone for the feedback - it is very useful. So the consensus seems to be the hair is fine and I should soften the edges a little and leave it. Good advice and I'll act on that this evening.

From Jan's comment I now realize why I haven't done a portrait before. My drawing is just about good enough for flowers and trees and the like but people's faces have to be spot on otherwise they look odd.

Yes the nose is too low - I think the whole face is too long which give the nose a stretched look. And Jan's other comments are likely true too. I might break out the photoshop this afternoon and overlay the reference with the painting to see exactly what's wrong.

Thanks everyone again!

04-10-2013, 12:19 PM

So I didn't get round to doing anything last night (was unfortunately dragged out for free food and wine) but I have superimposed the outline from the reference onto the painting.

And indeed the nose is too long. The mouth and face shape look ok but there is also something awry with the left eye and the hairline ear.

This is definitely a case of back to the drawing board - it's very hard to make a good painting from a bad drawing.

Brian Barnes
04-10-2013, 01:57 PM
I've gone through the same procedure similar results in the past. Even did the PS outline overlay to check and there were many things incorrect. In future I will be doing the outline overlay trick before I start applying paint.

Assuming you don't know the girl, an exact likeness isn't necessary. I suggest you continue on with this and make only small corrections (the eye for instance). It would be a good exercise to finish this one. It's too good to give up on it now.

The rule I've made for myself now is .... If a good likeness is needed, always check with a ref. photo outline overlaid on the drawing before applying the paint. If no likeness needed, slop away. :D


04-10-2013, 02:41 PM
DOn't bin this one yet; keep on going and finish it because you will learn much from it. When you do the outline overlay you really see just where you are off. Do it again if you want and correct the drawing before you lay down any paint. This is very good so far!

04-11-2013, 04:52 PM
Oh don't worry - I won't bin it. I'll finish and try again - at least for the drawing part anyway.

You're right that I don't *need* to have a likeness but I would like to trust my drawing skills to produce an accurate replica if that is what I intend.

And yes - checking the drawing before starting in with the paint would be a good move in future :-)

thanks again for the comments.

04-11-2013, 06:46 PM
You have a nice gentle touch with the watercolour, and despite your problems with the likeness, I think it is a good start otherwise. I'll be interested to see how you finish and if you try another one.

Brian Barnes
04-12-2013, 02:13 PM
... but I would like to trust my drawing skills to produce an accurate replica if that is what I intend.

My feelings exactly. :) Never stop trying. One day you (and I, hopefully) will place the overlay on the drawing ... and voila!!!! Right on! :D


04-13-2013, 04:42 AM
Overlaying the painting with a transparency of the reference is an excellent way to show problems. Getting the drawing right is something everyone painting a portrait deals with and only practice gets it right. Been there, done that more than I want to admit.

05-05-2013, 06:46 PM

So this is what I'm calling finished. Thanks to everyone for the advice - I did take notice but I wanted to put this one behind me so I didn't correct very much.

05-06-2013, 04:25 AM
You did well!!!! It works.