See a portrait painting demo using characters from Wes Anderson’s film The French Dispatch. This video provides tips and techniques for how to create a convincing portrait using a monochromatic color scheme using watercolor and gouache.
Techniques like the skull in the portrait to achieve a solid structure, a range of value and contrast, as well as how to use lighting to show volume are explained. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Alex Rowe.
- How to make a living as a portrait artist: know that most people don’t want a portrait of a random person in their house.
- Research the type of portrait artist you want to be: do you want to paint university presidents, governors, or something more small scale and casual?
- Alex’s choice to use blue for his portrait of Frances McDormand.
- A blue portrait has an “unearthly” quality to it since blue isn’t a color that occurs often in nature, the way brown does.
- Watercolor is challenging, it’s tough to keep your brushwork fresh and spontaneous throughout the process.
- A monochromatic portrait can have a little more “spice” if you add variations of purples and greens to the dark tones.
- Tips for painting hair: try to see the hair as “clumps” of hair instead of individual hairs.
- Look for the direction of each clump of hair.
Prof Lieu’s Tips
When I went to grad school there were so many people who could paint circles around me, in terms of painting realistically. To be honest, a lot of their paintings were really not saying much, and I found them quite boring.
For me to train myself to paint with that level of skill in realistic painting would take away all the years I would have wanted painting the way I want to paint! I guess in theory I could take the time to learn those skills, but really, I’ve got better things to do!
- Old Holland Watercolors
- Old Holland Blue Deep
- Old Holland Dioxazine Mauve
- Old Holland Sepia Extrra
- Old Holland Olive Green Dark
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