View Full Version : Innocence

12-13-2009, 10:49 PM
Hi Everyone,

I've been checking in periodically over the past few weeks and though it was time to post what I am working on. I am working on a portrait and have say, I am enjoying myself quite a bit so far!! I am still learning but I think I am beginning to understand how to utilize my pencils (thank God for erasers!). This piece is not done yet but I thought I would see what the professionals think. Hope you like it. CC appreciated!

12-13-2009, 10:50 PM
Few more images.

Donna T
12-14-2009, 08:45 AM
Hi Kevin, I don't do portraits but enjoyed watching the progression of this painting. Cute little girl! Maybe you could possibly soften that shadow line on her neck? I'm not sure, but if you're working from a photo it might be a little too defined. I wish I knew more about this kind of thing but hopefully someone else does.

12-14-2009, 10:04 AM
Hi Kevin, Looking good. You're searching for the shapes and working on sculpting the face, that's great! I think the next to last picture works best (sorry...). Reason: the details (eyes, teeth), they are a wee bit too hard. See, the problem with teeth, especially in children (who have so white teeth), is that they are the lightest light against the darkest dark of shadows inside the mouth, and because of that become the area of interest. My advice is: fake it! Make the teeth slightly darker, the edges soft and blurry -- more 'hint at' than 'spell out'. Same goes for many details, often less is quite enough.

Good work, especially that you've painted the volumes and shapes in the face. It looks like it is a very good likeness, and you are getting a grasp of those pencils (no pun intended). Very nice!

(And yes, I have a pet pevee about teeth... :-)

Hope to see many more by your hand!


12-14-2009, 11:40 AM
Great advice! I agree completely. When I took the picture, I really noticed how the shadows were WAYYYYY too pronounced. I fixed up her eyes yesterday as well but agree, they are a tad too hard. I will try and soften up her face as much as I can. Shadows on a face are a bit more difficult than I expected. Thanks again!!!

Paula Ford
12-14-2009, 12:26 PM
Very nice job! Thank you so much for showing us the steps you took!

12-14-2009, 01:09 PM
I agree with Charlie's advice, you have done a pretty good job though and it was great to see her appearing gradually as I scrolled down!

12-14-2009, 01:18 PM
Kevin, glad you took the advice in the spirit meant! I've found (and read about) blues and greys for shadows being too hard on a face. Blues make people look like they have a black eye... are bruised. While layered red-violets and somtimes even greens on top of them, make a more glowy dark. Then we have the trusted warm browns, too, but to my eye, a warm light looks warmer with a cool shadow, but not too cool, therefore I prefer a magenta type of colour. On the other hand, blues *under* browns look good.

Happy painting,


12-14-2009, 11:06 PM
Hi Kevin,

You are doing a nice job on this! I think Charlie's comment about the 2nd to last version working best is right on - for the reasons discussed. The sides of the head where cheek meets hair can always be a difficult spot, too, when the shadows there are very dark. The high contrast attracts the eye and brings the area forward. So one always has to find ways to make it recede - either lessening the contrast or softening the edge of the face (which is a good idea because it is a receding edge). One other small nit pick - where the hair hangs down over the forehead, usually there would not be a definite line at the edge of the hair. Some forehead will peak through, especially where the hairs end.

Otherwise, you have done a nice job sculpting the forms of the face and finding the shadow and light shapes. Nicely done!


12-18-2009, 11:06 AM
Thanks for all the great advice!!!

Don, I will look into the hair line tonight (forgot to look at it before I took the latest picture ha).

I tried to tone down the shadows around her face last night and added in more detail on her hair. One thing that is bothering me a bit is how the hair is not as "smooth looking" as the face. I do not like having pastel looking lines in a painting, (similar to crayon looking lines) my goal is to have a painting that looks painterly but professional. Any advice? Maybe I need to layer more? Thanks!

12-18-2009, 11:12 AM
Oh and a few more things I noticed after taking the picture which I will be fixing tonight are..

-Her right cheek (our left) is lower than the right
-Her left eye (our right) is smaller than the right
-Her nose...something looks off?

Anyone have any advice on what I should do with the background?

Deborah Secor
12-18-2009, 11:52 AM
Kevin, looking good! You've received excellent advice.

Think of hair as a mass, not strands. Look for the areas of light, dark, and highlights, and squint like crazy to make them shapes. Then add a few strands along edges where the texture is seen, in the interior where light and dark intersect, as well as along the outside. Go look at Ken Tiessen's work for some ideas. http://www.kentiessenart.com/

I usually try to paint backgrounds right along with the portrait so that I don't face the 'what should I do with the background' question! What paper are you using for this? I think the color already in place is suggestive, though I might put slightly lighter colors on the dark side of her head and slightly darker ones on the light side, because such simultaneous contrast suggests 3-D even more. I might try flavoring it a bit pink over the ochre, only because that might quiet the pinkish tones of the skin. Maybe others have more ideas...

She's charming. Have fun!

12-18-2009, 03:15 PM
Kevin, have you seen Don's great class over in Pastel Talk? Here's a link (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=595516)to the latest (figure), which has links to the portrait start of the series at the very top of the post (there are 6 other lessons). It goes through features, how to do hair, backgrounds, why the tip of the nose is so important, and is just wonderful! Highly recommended!


12-22-2009, 05:27 PM
Well, I think it's finally time to mark this one off as completed! Thanks to everyone who helped out!! This is my very first fully completed pastel painting. I learned a lot and have already begin my next project. Hope you like how it turned out!

12-22-2009, 07:41 PM
Looking good! I like the background you chose, its blurry looseness pushes her forward and intensifies the warm colors of her face and hair.