View Full Version : Hair Help Needed PLEASE!!!!

Mikki Petersen
02-09-2005, 06:50 PM
Hi there! It's me being crazy again. Decided to do a portrait of our daughter for her partner's birthday gift. Things are going along quite well except now I need to do hair. Not only her hair but the Pom's hair as well. HELP!!!!!!

Heidi and Georgie Mae
Pastel on Wallis Pro Belgian Mist

Here's the photo ref I chose:

In case you wondered...I'm finding that I had better control with the acrylics. Or maybe I'm just not working large enough...

Thanks for any C&Cs or advice or ...

02-09-2005, 07:10 PM
Wow Mikki! YOu are getting so good at portraits! I think you have a super likeness here.
It looks to me like her bangs are done...super job there. Maybe the main body of the hair should be filled in more with the side of the pastel, then use a fine edge for some of the individual hairs a bit lighter...then again, probably someone who does a lot of hair can advise you better.
I think this is coming along beautifully, except for her hair...the dog's isn't bad but it looks a lot smoother and glossier in the photo. I haven't done much with fur though...I better shut up....I don't think I am helping...just trying to be encouraging because I think you are well on the way.


02-09-2005, 09:48 PM
This is great so far! One of my favorites I've seen of yours. I'd take a second look at the lavendar/purple color towards the front of the hair. If you look at the photo you'll see that area is actually lighter in value than her face, and in the portrait it's darker. Plus, if you put in some individual hairs in that area, it'll break it up as a solid shape. For the dog, just add some light highlights around the peripheral of the dog's hair. Take a look at the photo. It's a great portrait!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

02-09-2005, 11:49 PM
Mikki... I am lovin ' your skin tones...this is fantastic...I can tell you've been doing your homework.....the nose, the chin, the mouth..all look good to me..(sorry, I am no help on the hair.)

02-10-2005, 12:11 AM
I don't know about the hair either - but this is great! What a likeness and great gift. This is really good! :clap: :clap:


02-10-2005, 12:40 AM
This is lookin' good! I can't help ya on the hair either, sad to say, but I'll be hangin' out watchin' to see what the experts have to offer, cause I'd like to know how to do it too!

I love the face of the dog especially...he/she looks like a little devilish angel! Your daughter looks like a mischievous sprite. Her partner should love this!

Sherry Richardson
02-10-2005, 03:04 AM
Mikki---you are on a roll---each one is more amazing than the previous one. I get a wonderful feeling of 'freshness' about this one--the skin tones and the expression. You are doing great work these days........No help on the hair, though.

02-10-2005, 04:04 AM
Mikki, this is going to be a double-sided compliment.

One the one hand, this is a well-painted portrait, you have done really well so far.

On the other hand, there are some small problems with the proportions, and I feel that if you can do it this well, yuo can do it BETTER.

And if you do it better, you will capture the quality of your daughter even better. She is prettier and softer than you have made her.

Ok bit by bit.

1. You have made one eye higher than the other. Although she has wonderfully pixie-eyes, one is not higher than the other.

2. You have given her a chin which is longer than it is.

3. You have made her mouth wider than it is.

Here is a real easy way to check your drawing. Print off both images, the pic and the photo, from the computer screen. trace the main features from the photo. Then, put this tracing down onto the pic of the painting, and see where you are "off". If you dont have any tracing paper, any thin paper will do, and you can use a light box. if you dont have one, then put a lamp under a glass table and use that as a light box, or else, if all else fails, use a window - tape your pic to the window, )I did this, and here is the result (the red is your painting):


I would be FAR less worried abou the hair, than about the features, in your shoes. The hair will not matter at all, if you improve the rest, and I know you can do it.

I know people will think I am a nit-picking old witch, but I just feel that you can do this, or I would not have posted at all. You are SO close!

Incidentally ...when painting portraits from photos, it is so much easier to work with a photo which has not been taken with full frontal flash. Side lighting is softer and easier to paint.


02-10-2005, 04:11 AM
Mikki, you have come such a long way from the days of 'the Duel Challenge' :D ... remember that ha ha ha .... this is gorgeous.. beautiful skin tones.. your nearly done, just a bit of tweaking..... perhaps block in on the top of her head - black or dark brown with added dark purples,blues and greens.. and just highlight less strands using lighter blues.... and greys with an edge of pastel, or pastel pencil .... pick out the grey/blues for the doggies face and use on the paws.... leaving whites for where you see them

Super Job Mikki....... well done indeed

Deborah Secor
02-10-2005, 11:10 AM
Mikki, you are getting good! The skin tones and the expression are terrific. Jackie has you on track for your daughter's face, now I want to suggest you do the same thing for the dog. Just make sure that the mouth, the nostrils, and the top of the nose line up with the pupils...they may be at an angle but the relationship of those parts stays the same.

As to the hair, think dark, medium and light in both. Find the direction of the light, choose an area where it is the lightest, then add darks. I usually start with a nice medium to medium-dark color, and work out from there. I'm going to put in a photo of a doggie I did that might inspire you, since the flash has flattened out highlights in your daughter's hair in the photo. (I don't usually make it a practice to put my paintings in other people's threads, sooooo I hope this helps...)
The neat thing is that in light colored hair you can add almost any colors for both highlights and shadows (saving white or the lightest color for your last, last, last touches!) For the darker hair, if you add warm highlights it will come off brownish, and cool highlights suggest black. Remember, ANY warm or cool colors will do the trick, so you have my permission to use blue, green, red, yellow, orange, purple--anything! (Yeah, like you need my permission...)


K Taylor-Green
02-10-2005, 01:12 PM
This is going to be great! Especially with all the good advice you have gotten. I can't help but remember the gorgeous cat you did. The fur on it was fantastic. This will be, too!

Mikki Petersen
02-10-2005, 02:32 PM
OMG! I somehow forgot to subscribe to this thread and was getting my feelings hurt that nobody was responding...so glad you all have not black balled me for some reason. :o

Jackie, I've been struggling with my phot program trying to figure out how to superimpose the photo over the image and cannot do it...yet. Your idea of tracing is SO much less complicated! I began with a sketch done with an opaque projector, thinking that at least if I got everything in place in the sketch, I would be on the right track. Fooled me! Everything you pointed out are things my hubby has been saying are wrong and I've been fighting him! Gosh I hate to apologise...but guess it's in order. I'm taking these notes back to the easel. Thank you so much.

Deborah, You hit it!...I could not figure out why I could not lay in the hair...I've been relying on the photo and the photo has blacked our her hair...duh!

The rest of you...thank you so much for all the wonderful comments. My head swells...now to go earn your faith in me.

Oh, and I've now subscribed to the thread :rolleyes:

02-10-2005, 02:58 PM
Mikki - you are so funny...


02-10-2005, 03:57 PM
Hey Mikki!

I think you've done a fine job rendering the hair on your pooch. When working on Wallis paper rendering hair can be tricky because there is so much tooth to fill. You have to be careful not to make the hair look too greasy, or too thick like colourful but soggy spagetti, or straw. I often use different methods for each individual surface. The beauty of Wallis is that you can build up so many layers of interesting colours, and even after ten layers you can still take some of the harder varieties of pastels and get some nice thin strands of hair.

Anyway, all that said I think all you need to do here is what Deborah mentioned before, add a light source and push those values a little to add demension.


02-11-2005, 02:05 AM
sorry Heather, but your last word cracked me up! I do know exactly what you mean ... dimension...but your spelling made me think immediately of the root word "demented" and I got an instant vision of Mikki trying to make her daughter look more demented..... :D

Poor you Mikki, having to grovel to husband..but so often, mine casts an eye over my work, and much as I hate to admit it, he sees things that I do not. It is only cos we are so close to the work. Always trust fresh eyes. Yes, the tracing idea is simple and easier than the computer idea, I tried that for you and got frustrated because the images are slightly different in size.

Using one of those opaque projector thingies only ever works, with a portrait, provided you draw
REALLY accurately from the projected image. If you get things slighly "out" you just make matters worse and worse when you begin to work in colour.

Worry not, you will get there now.


02-11-2005, 05:28 AM
Mikki, I had no idea you were so GOOD at portraits!!!

Like you, I much prefer tracing and superimposing a hard copy image to struggling with the 'toggle' function in Paint Shop Pro, to see where my drawing is wonky.

Jackie's already pointed out all the important areas of your daughter's face which you need to adjust - these slight tweaks will really make a difference to the likeness. As for the hair, I would start with solid areas of colour, rather than build it up by individual spikes: put in the darkest areas first, then midtones and lastly the highlights - you'll find that with dark hair, it's usually only in the highlights that the shape/direction of clumps or individual strands of hair are that obvious.

Look forward to seeing the finish. I am much impressed by your recent portraits, Mikki - both pastel and acrylic. Hope you will do many more! :clap:

02-11-2005, 07:42 AM
Everything you pointed out are things my hubby has been saying are wrong and I've been fighting him!

:D Yep....funny how that is. I remember one of the first portraits I did a couple of years ago. I was using a photo of my grandson. Hubby insisted the head was way too wide...it was a sort of side view...and I insisted he was wrong. But of course once someone here did the overlay thing I could see immediately that he had been right. Why is it so much easier to take from you guys? :D

Looks like you are getting good portrait advice from some super portrait people...you'll get there.


02-11-2005, 09:27 AM
Besides what's been mentioned so far, I think the dog's hair looks a little scraggly. It needs a few more standout strands closer together. You've got the right idea. The top of your daughter's hair needs some spikes that thin out. Right now the strands look wide & don't taper. That purple spot in the front does bother me. You have it larger than the photo. That'll be easy to fix. You're doing so well with portraits I may decide I can try one. :D

Mikki Petersen
02-11-2005, 01:54 PM
Thanks for all the supportive advice. I got downed by a migraine yesterday but this morning I'm going to go fix all the fixes. Hope to post an update later today.


Laura Shelley
02-11-2005, 05:32 PM
I can't wait to see what you do to this one. It's already got wonderful qualities of character and coloring and will be worth every bit of work you put into it! I'm always hauling my portrait WIPs outdoors with a kneaded eraser and canned air in hand and blasting the parts I don't like into a cloud of pastel dust! :)

Natalie NZ
02-12-2005, 02:48 AM
Mikki, you are doing such beautiful portraits and thanks to you I am learning lots.

:clap: :clap: :clap: