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Watercolor Portrait Of A Son: Beginner’s Guide To Portraiture

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Capture the likeness of the human face in this beginner’s guide to a watercolor portrait! Watercolorist William “Bill” Dunn shows how to get started on this popular subject, and breaks it down to the basics through painting a picture of his son. Want to watch the video version? The full tutorial is available to members of our Watercolor University.

Materials Used In This Watercolor Class:

  • Reference picture of Bill’s son (or any portrait of your choosing)
  • ¼ sheet of Arches cold press watercolor paper (140lb, size 11″ x 15″)
  • Scrap paper
  • Pentel Graphgear 1000 automatic drafting pencil, 0.7mm lead size with 2B lead
  • 1″ Artist’s or masking tape
  • Painting palette for watercolor paints
  • A container of water
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • A piece of ¼” plywood larger than 12″ x 16″, treated on both sides with clear gesso and sanded down
  • A tabletop easel or a box to prop your painting on
  • A spray bottle with clean water

Paints (Holbein Artists’ Watercolors)

  • Cadmium Red Purple
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Cobalt Violet Light (a.k.a. “Lavender”)
  • Olive Green
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Indigo
  • Neutral Tint

Winsor & Newton’s Professional Watercolors

  • Permanent Mauve (or Sennelier’s Cobalt Violet Deep Hue watercolor paint)
  • French Ultramarine

Brushes

  • Neef Rigger Supreme Taklon Series: Long handle rigger brush (no. 8)
  • Neef Rigger Supreme Taklon Series: Long handle rigger brush (no. 10)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 8)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 12)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 20)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 Kolinsky Sable: Round brush (no. 1)