View Full Version : Brothers -- WIP

07-28-2008, 08:58 PM
Here's a portrait of my two sons. I'm also attaching a preliminary, pencil sketch and the reference photo. What do you think? I would really appreciate your constructive criticism. The pastel piece is in its early stages and I would like to make adjustments now rather than later.


07-28-2008, 09:52 PM
I am very very new to pastel but I think it is coming along wonderfully.

water girl
07-28-2008, 11:09 PM
What adorable youngsters! I'm not a portrait painter, but before you go too far, you may have to adjust the upper lip on the child on the right. As it is, it is too straight. Other than that, you have a wonderful start.

07-29-2008, 01:32 AM
Looks like a great start to me. You have to adorable little boys!!


07-29-2008, 07:05 AM
Great start, and what cuties!:)

07-29-2008, 08:45 AM
Bongo1, they are so adorable and their pose is the sweetest!
You are painting them beautifully so far, keep going! I like the palette, too.

You might find this helpful, I put your painting image transparently over the photo and it looks like your older son's head is just a wee bit too small. Just a small fix!
Very nice!


07-30-2008, 07:50 AM
I tried to fix the older boy's mouth and make some adjustments to the hair to make his head look bigger, but I realize that his face is still too short. Is that a fatal flaw? Please tell me seriously. Can you tell that one child is virtually a newborn and the other a couple of years old?


07-31-2008, 11:56 AM
I would appreciate any comments and criticism that you may have.


07-31-2008, 02:16 PM
No fatal flaws. I think it's a beautiful portrait of your sons.

M Douglas
07-31-2008, 02:58 PM
Well done so far!! This is going to be a beautiful portrait. And yes you can tell the difference in ages of the two boys.


Deborah Secor
07-31-2008, 03:37 PM
Lovely atart! I think you're capturing the character and look of each boy--beautiful children! My thought is that I'd make the infant's head smaller in relation to the older boy. Draw an oval around his face and compare it to the other.

I'd also suggest that you look at the shoulders on the baby. Right now the shoulders seem placed at an incorrect angle. Remember that his neck is settled down into a soft cavity, of sorts.

Another digital tweak, just to show what I mean:


(That's not a halo, just where I shrank the picture.)

Keep going! This is very nice.


07-31-2008, 08:51 PM
The angle of the older boy's head is not correct. His face is angled down and to the side more--the top of his head at the edge of the photo to the to the fringe on his forehead measures the same as the fringe on the forehead to the chin. The lower part of the baby's face is fatter than you show, and the head looks as if it should be about half the size of the older boy's. Also, it looks like the baby has teeth. Deborah's shrinking has brought the baby's chin to about where it should be. Also, watch out for hints of hard lines. Children don't have them and using them makes the child look older. Using a technique of "lost and found" edges helps to describe the shape. Hope this helps.

08-01-2008, 07:26 PM
Thank you all so much for your great comments! I made some of the adjustments that you recommended (e.g., raising the baby's collar, dulling the lip highlight and softening the lines on the face). I think it's too late in the game to make dramatic changes to the placement of the head even though I asked for your comments!

What do you think now? Background?

08-02-2008, 01:31 PM
I really like the technique you use, and the use of colors. It will be beautiful!

08-04-2008, 12:01 PM
Okay, this one is close to being done, but I'm not averse to making minor adjustments, particularly to the background.

Does the baby look happier? Are the lower value areas of the background distracting?

I would really appreciate your thoughts!


08-06-2008, 06:07 PM
Hi, aw, such adorable kids!

You've sweated a lot with this painting, and most of the troubles have stemmed from drawing-issues. Next time, do yourself a favour and grid it, or trace it. Or, do several careful pencil-drawings, one of which you then can trace onto a pastel paper with the help of covering the back with either charcoal or a white (soft) pastel. On this pencil drawing you can use plumblines and other help-lines.

Painting-wise, there is a likeness, it is not exact, but it is definitely there. At this point, I think that *the* most important features are the eyes. These beautiful children have enormous gorgeous eyes that are really dark in the iris. Let them be really dark in the painting too, but don't use black pastel for the iris, take your darkest browns, maybe with help of vine charcoal, which is a bit brownish and not so harsh a black. And use *small* highlights.

I see you tried to give the light more of a direction, and the older boy thus got a nicely 3D effect in the face. Also good you simplified the background, and edited out the distracting yellow towel-thingy.

They definitely look like children of two different ages in your painting. You caught their considerable charm, and the older brother's happiness and slight shyness. Looks like he is really proud to hold little brother for the first time!

You're blessed to have such wonderful children!