Can you help me paint a stylised portrait without relying too much on realism?
It’s all about striking the right balance between stylisation and realism. Most of the time stylisation means simplifying or exaggerating, taking away what’s unnecessary to make room for your chosen features and themes. In contrast, realism means depicting things as they are.
To create a convincing stylised painting you need to identify what to take out of the realistic image you’re interpreting and twist it to your own tastes and vision. It can mean stylising shapes, exaggerating colours or playing around with the anatomy, for example. Ask yourself what do you like about this image, and what could you eliminate or tweak but still stay true to its essence. Making these bold decisions and being confident about them is crucial to a successful stylised artwork.
In my Low Poly portrait series everything in my painting will be either a straight line or a triangular shape. I used to hear opinions that it’s impossible to create a feminine portrait without curves, so I made it a challenge for myself to prove the opposite. Setting up a few strong rules before you start painting will save you a lot of time later on, and will make your artwork stand out. Don’t be afraid of experimentation, and stick to what you’ve planned in the first place!
Once I have my sketch I think about the shape design and the general
composition. I’m building on top of what
I approach my portrait just as I would a logo. I want something bold and unique, and I want it to communicate a certain mood.