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

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Step 7: Painting Clothing And Color Balance


Now that the face is done, you can start planning for the background and clothing. Bill suggests placing warm colors next to cool colors and vice versa, since this is what will help create color harmony and balance for the whole watercolor portrait painting. So because the face has mostly warm colors, Bill changes the clothes to be cool-colored.

With the no. 8 rigger brush, Bill starts with a mix of cool and warmer cool colors, but quickly changes to French Ultramarine for a stronger base layer. He paints messily here, as he wants to balance out the tidier brushstrokes used for the face. Like Bill, you also don’t have to cover up all the white, and to get the same kind of rough texture, just keep painting until almost all the paint is gone from your paintbrush. This is the “dry-on-dry” technique, which is good for creating textural depth and interest.

Drop in some Indigo for shadows, and add Permanent Mauve later for the darker folds and shadows in the clothing. Use Cobalt Blue to brighten your mixture, and add Neutral Tint for variation. Try your best to rely on your artistic instincts to help guide your color changes and placements!