Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A quick color portrait sketch

In Sawyer, Michigan, where I live, we have the Scarlet Macaw Community Art Center which provides classes, workshops, programs, events and exhibitions for local area artists and art students. It was established in 1994 by Nifodora D. Krumrie.

The Center is located on the main street in the heart of Sawyer.

Nifi 1
I have taught classes at the Art Center and here is a step by step sketch that I did for my students demonstrating how I approach a portrait study. This is a sketch of Nifodora, the Director of the Center, and is done using acrylics on canvas. I begin by first do a drawing on the canvas with a marker pen.

It's very difficult to start painting on a stark white canvas, it's a good idea to paint a neutral wash tone over the whole canvas first.

Then I begin to add tones of color.

Nifi 4
At an early stage I paint in the darkest tones.

Then I add more modeling and the middle tones finishing the sketch. Color sketches like this can be used as a basis for a larger finished painting. It's a good idea for beginners to do a lot of these kinds of studies to develop their painting skills. can Watercolors or oils can also be used for rendering sketches like this.


Chad said...

Really enjoy your blog, Harry.Your versatility amazes me-More monster cartoons and suchlike please.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Chad,
Thanks, I'm pleased that you are enjoying my blog. I'll see if I can find more monster stuff for you.

Vince A said...

Hi Harry,

I recall reading in one of your books (either DII or A&IT) your technique of laying out the blacks and darkest tones early in a drawing, to make it easier to establish the correct shades of grays.

Comforting to see some things haven't changed - you still use that technique.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Vince,
Painting in the dark tones gives you something to work with, also starting out with an overall neutral tone is essential, at least for me. I even do the same thing when painting my abstractions.