View Full Version : Textured face

06-15-2007, 02:05 PM

I appreciate your discussion Meg and Ralph, about the pencil lines (under Ralph's WIP thread). You can see them here. Can I paint a face without an underdrawing? It seems impossible if I'm trying to get a good likeness because I really have to study the face and erase alot until I get it right. In this case, I wasn't going for an exact likeness. This face was from a magazine ad so changing it abit is probably good. I was thinking of a more "generic" face that someone might want to hang on their wall because of the uplifting expression.

This is my first time working on Arches 300lb coldpress. Wow, so different than the smooth, lighter paper. Didn't struggle with the buckling that's been such a problem. And I experiemented with alot of texture. Maybe the pencil is OK because of the overall texture.

Dick Blick has these precut mats in unusual shapes, in black so I tried a mock-up. Does black actually work as a mat? I have yet to frame anything, so that would be learning process too. I'm thinking of doing a series of little faces.

Thanks for looking.

Textured face
8 x 6"


06-18-2007, 01:39 PM
Well, no comments on this so far and I don't know what that means. Please let me know if you think this portrait doesn't work as I have a lot to learn.


Old Tex
06-18-2007, 01:45 PM
Selene, I rarely do a face without an underdrawing (line only, no shadows or shading). Never spent enough time in life drawing. Use a kneaded eraser and lift off as much of the pencil line as you possibly can, and then rub very lightly to get even more off. A lot depends on your surface, but I find that working with a very light touch doesn't seem to affect the surface (on illustration board - paper is a different animal). I try to remove enough that I can barely make out the line, and even then, it will show through a wash. Sometimes, you just don't worry about it and let the occasional line add to the charm of the painting.

For a series like this, I don't see anything wrong with the black mats, just keep in mind that there will be people who won't like it as much. I think people are more accustomed to seeing photographs on black than paintings.

The only thing that catches my eye negatively on the face is the outlining of the lips. A little too much for my eye, even though that may be the way the person actually looks. Otherwise, good job!

06-18-2007, 01:52 PM
Sorry, it's been a few days since I've visited! Too easily does life get in the way of painting and posting...

I love the colors in this, especially how the shadows in the face match the background. I also like the "graininess" of this and how the texture of the paper shows in the skin. Cool effect!

Suggestions: we're seeing her left eye straight-on, but we're seeing her right eye from slightly below. The effect is that one eye is looking at us and one is looking above our heads. A small tweak in the shape of the eyelid might be able to help that.

I think as long as you keep the rules of facial proportions in mind, and you don't need an exact likeness, free-handing a face works just fine. I couldn't do it properly because I don't have enough experience drawing faces to nail the proportions without drawing first. But, I think it can be done eventually! I freehanded a self-portrait in oils (roughly positioned the features with paint at the start) but it'd be tough to do that in gouache. Practice, I guess!

In this portrait, I can't really see any pencil. If it's not glaring or distracting the viewer (like when we can't even see it ;) ) then pencil lines are fine, IMO.

And I think black is a good generic mat for many things. It works well with the colors in this painting. I'm not sure about the unusual shape - could be personal preference, so ask around to see what everyone thinks!

Great job - your paintings keep getting better and better!


06-18-2007, 02:00 PM
Oh yeah, forgot to mention... For my gouache portrait of my grandpa, I did a really detailed drawing on paper, then transferred it to illo board by scribbling on the back of the paper and "carbon copying" it. The lines were nice and light - so light that I lost a few of them with just one wash!

[here's a link to the WIP (http://www.crashoctopus.com/2007/01/07/guinness-and-gouache-portrait-wip/) - you can barely see the lines after the first wash, although they were still visible up close (click that first pic to enlarge it)]

06-24-2007, 11:38 PM
Ralph, thanks for your suggestions about the pencil lines. And yes, I've tried to avoid lip lines but there it was in the photo.

Meg, I'm so glad you mentioned about the eyes because I knew they were off but didn't know if it could be fixed. They look a bit better now but I will need check this out better in the initial drawing.

Your tuttorial is awesome! Amazing to me how little blending you did and that it's just two layers. Thanks.