View Full Version : Martha

07-23-2013, 06:42 PM
Wanted to paint a portrait for a long time now. Realised that a good drawing is important for a good portrait. So I have been working on a portrait of my daughter Martha. Here is my drawing, I haven't a clue where to start on painting it, only really done landscapes, my basic palette is alizarin crm, light red, lemon yellow, raw sienna, ultramarine blue, paynes grey, and burnt umber would these colours work on a portrait.

This will hopefully be a wip and I will take pics...

Cheers for the advice

07-24-2013, 02:02 AM
Nice sketch Rich. Not sure about the shading.


07-24-2013, 05:30 PM
Nice drawing of your daughter. Check her eyes though, the lower rim would probably cover part of the iris.

Check out the Watercolor Handbook....scroll down to the section called Portraits and Figures in Watercolor; also there are several Monthly Classes on painting portraits you might want to look at; and finally, there are lots and lots of demos of paint portraits in The Learning Demos. The links to all of these are in my and Doug's signature line. Enjoy and learn how to set about painting the portrait of your lovely little girl.


07-24-2013, 06:16 PM
Keep forgetting about the links, cheers, here is the photo, I did read about iris usually get covered, but they don't in the photo, also read a good tip that suggested to copy what you see and try not let your brain take over and do things it thinks it should, for example if eyes aren't level dont paint them level, it is hard had to rub out eyes a few times, kept doing them level, but there not in th photo.


07-24-2013, 06:33 PM
I can't help you a lot Rich as I don't do portraits, but when I did try them I got good advice here and the best advice I got was to take out a ruler and make precise measurements. We think we can do it by eyeing things, but it makes a huge difference when you learn to measure the differences etc...

What a doll, you'll do a great portrait because it's something you love :-)

There is a forum specifically for Portraits also

07-25-2013, 06:29 AM
I can see why you want to paint your daughter. She is beautiful. I do think you need to practice more on the drawing, especially her features.
Just a little additional information given to me by my instructor who made a living painting portraits for many years. Always look for something that makes the person who they are - its the look in the eyes, the way the mouth is set, etc. I think, although your daughter has beautiful eyes, it's her mouth that make this photo special - She has such a cute, wonderful smile. Good luck.

07-25-2013, 07:32 AM
What a lovely young lady.

Your sketch is pretty good but I see a couple of things that will affect the likeness.

The eye on our right is a little too large.

Her mouth is a little low and doesn't extend far enough to the right. On the photo, if you draw a vertical line up from the corner of the mouth, it will be a little right of the inner corner of her eye. It looks like the left side of her mouth may be a little too far left also. In the photo, it is even with the left side of her nose.

The eye on the left may be too straight. Hold a piece of paper on the photo from eye corner to eye corner, then do the same on your sketch. The angles should be the same.


07-25-2013, 09:55 AM
Yes I agree its not right, and this is before I even consider painting, I thought about tracing, but I do feel that bit like cheating, but I might do the basic proportions then fill in around. Yes she is cute, but a monster too :) . I agree you need to capture the person and that seems to be the differcult thing. I will sketch another one, I am finding his very challenging, but enjoyable.


07-25-2013, 10:06 AM
She's beautiful, and so is your sketch. In addition to the above comments, watch the line of the neck.

07-25-2013, 10:54 AM
I don't think tracing the shape of the head and placement of features in a portrait is cheating. I would rather see a portrait that looked like the person than one that the artist sketched and got skewed. ;)

Even a traced image needs to be painted carefully to bring it to life. I agree with Jan that it is the way your daughter's mouth is pursed in the photo that gives personality to it...and her beautiful gray-blue eyes as well.