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Old 11-25-2008, 11:28 AM
Dana Design
 
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Arrow Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Post any questions you might have with reference to drawing or painting the head and our generous and much-talented members will answer them for you and help you find your way through the process.

In addition to the Portraiture Classroom which is chock full of great tutorials and WIPs from our members, The Baron suggested that we have a one-stop shop for all head related questions.

Go for it! We'll all learn something new!
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:20 PM
mickeyw3340 mickeyw3340 is offline
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Painting Portraits in General especially the head and face.... Is it better to lay down the shadows and darker areas first and then put down the base skin color and blend, or is it better to do the opposite, put down the base first and then blend in the shadows and darker areas?
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:59 PM
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TheBaron TheBaron is offline
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyw3340
Painting Portraits in General especially the head and face.... Is it better to lay down the shadows and darker areas first and then put down the base skin color and blend, or is it better to do the opposite, put down the base first and then blend in the shadows and darker areas?

How do Mickey

I have two books by well known portrait artist and both stipulate in painting in the shadows first to keep within the profile of the facial features.
However thats ok if you are good at getting or mixing the correct shadow tones colour otherwise you will have to adjust the tonal range.

Mixing darks and trying to lighten them takes up more paint than mixing lighter colours and adding to darken them.

My own way is laying down a mid range(pinkish)or(90% of what the main flesh colour is in the face)flesh colour all over and darkening and adding highlights as I progress.

Basically its down to how comfortable you are in when it comes to losing the drawing and having to work from the source,theres nothing worse than losing a specific shadow or highlight which can throw the likeness right off course.


Last edited by TheBaron : 11-25-2008 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:20 PM
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jocelynsart jocelynsart is offline
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Basically, one of the biggest first steps is to get down the gesture of the proper perspective of the head. Then, it's a matter of working from large shapes and proper proprtions, towards shadow and light masses, then eventually towards detail specific to that person.

Perspective/ correct angle
Mass proportions
large light and shadow masses
only then begin detail

These are the steps I tend to take, myself.
if I have the perspective off, getting the mass shapes right won't matter, and therefore the details of that subject's specific face and features will also be off down the line.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:20 PM
mickeyw3340 mickeyw3340 is offline
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Thanks for the tip George. I'll try them both. My background as a "hobbyist" is graphite, colored pencil, watercolors, acrylics mainly in landscapes. I know I can do this portrait thing so I am excited again. After all, I can do a tree, lay in a meadow full of flowers, scratch in a mountain or two, but nothing has challenged me like the human head and form.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:38 PM
Dana Design
 
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

I also make sure the proportions are correct, measuring carefully. I then lay in my mid-tones, then shadow masses and finally start in on details. However, I at times, get impatient and begin with eye details before finishing the bottom of the face. The eyes are important to me to give me a direction. Crazy, I know.

Few portraitists that I know lay in shadows first. It can become to difficult to bring in the clean lighter colors.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:46 PM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Design
I also make sure the proportions are correct, measuring carefully. I then lay in my mid-tones, then shadow masses and finally start in on details. However, I at times, get impatient and begin with eye details before finishing the bottom of the face. The eyes are important to me to give me a direction. Crazy, I know.

Few portraitists that I know lay in shadows first. It can become to difficult to bring in the clean lighter colors.

Hah! D
You're like me..I want those eyes finished before I can continue,otherwise I might not be able to reach at em with the face covered in oils.

My previous update shows how I've left the lower jaw area so's I can still work the eyes
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:13 PM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Heres some helpful info , not just the head but the whole human Anatomy


http://www.posemaniacs.com/?p=624
p.s. you click and hold while moving your mouse on the selected pic and you can see any angle you wish!
Gary
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:42 AM
Dana Design
 
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Gary, that's a sensational site! Thanks so much for this.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:20 AM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

So how do require your creases?

My usual ploy is to add the creases with a slighly darker colour and push up the surrounding skintone towards the creases and then blend in.

Bit finicky this way any other suggestions?

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Old 12-02-2008, 08:05 AM
kentiessen kentiessen is offline
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

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Originally Posted by TheBaron
So how do require your creases?

My usual ploy is to add the creases with a slighly darker colour and push up the surrounding skintone towards the creases and then blend in.

Bit finicky this way any other suggestions?

Creases are a detail very slight importance- particularly on a young person and even more so on a female. I agree with Jocelyn's priorities- expanding #4:
1. Perspective/ correct angle
2. Mass proportions
3. Large light and shadow masses
4. Detail- correct placement, proportion, shape, and form of: eyes, nose, lips, cheeks, neck, jaw, hair, etc.

Creases are not yet relevant in #4- the cheek and lower lid still create forms, not creases. The extremely subtle differences in the neck photo are best left out.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:46 AM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

I think it depends how hyper realistic the portrait is to be, whether to get in to defining minute skin creases. Think about how your eye would see a person at a normal distance, say about 3 to 6 feet. That photo section of my daughter would mean the viewer or artist would need to be standing right in front of the person, their nose almost touching the neck. Notice you can not only see creases, you can see pores. Get used to knowing how the eye would see a person at a typical distance and see what detail is and is not visible.
When you take a photo ref and zoom it up like that, you have to remember that that is a huge advantage to what you would "see" standing in front of a subject.

If your intent is to work hyper realistic then it depends on what medium you are working in, how you would then render creases. If it is watercolour for instance, you could remove or scrub back and then redifine the edge, etc. In acrylic, you'd need to build up to the edges and literally paint the highlight. Oil there are various ways as you can scrub back and paint in. It depends on what way you use oil. Some do a certain amount of glazing then need to let that stage dry before continuing. Some use scrub back method, using the oil pretty translucent, some paint alla prima.
Jocelyn

Last edited by jocelynsart : 12-02-2008 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:53 AM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

I lay in shadows very near my beginning stages as value changes. I even indicate them in the drawing stage. They are not their deepest however, till much later. Shadow shapes will help define the proportion and the distances from plane to plane, as well as the terrain of the plains of the face.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:07 AM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

In order, in my honest opinion, to paint a portrait, one needs to decide on what is the main focus. Is it important to the artist to paint each individual nuance, hair, pore, fine crease, etc? Or is it important to paint that person more as one's eye would likely be able to see them. I think that that decision alone will determine whether your intent is to be super hyper realist, painting beyond how the eye sees in general, and rendering each thing and feature (within that portrait) almost as it's own subject.
With a photo ref where it is so easy to go right up to each detail, one will get caught up with painting each individual little area and forget the portrait as an abstract whole of values, planes and shapes effected by the light. I think photo ref needs to be treated first as hwo one would see that person standing about normal "from life" distance. thsi will somewhat mimic what would be in focus and what would not. For instance, when you choose their face as focal, maybe even the eyes as very main focus within that focus, then treat the surround howour eye would view in life that surround when your eye is focused right on the eyes. Your eye would not be focusing on hyper detail in the ear or in the neck while being focused on the subject's eyes. Therefore, paint the way your eye would see.
In hyper or photo realistic portraits, the whole portrait is painted in the same focus as if a million eyes you owned could pick each individual area of miniscule size and bring it all in to focus.
So, one needs to decide how they wish to paint. Neither is wrong, just a decision needs to be made. The further one moves from hyper photo realism, the closer one moves down the scale to impressionism. There are a billion choices in between.
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:12 PM
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Re: Q & A on Drawing/Painting the Head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Design
I also make sure the proportions are correct, measuring carefully. I then lay in my mid-tones, then shadow masses and finally start in on details. However, I at times, get impatient and begin with eye details before finishing the bottom of the face. The eyes are important to me to give me a direction. Crazy, I know.

Few portraitists that I know lay in shadows first. It can become to difficult to bring in the clean lighter colors.

You're not crazy. The eyes are the windows to the soul and if you get them right the rest of the features can be more forgiving. I always paint the eyes in first and then go to the rest of the face. I tend to do the shadowed areas first and work toward light. Always thinking of a 3-D modeled version of the face as I go.
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