Learn to Paint Peo­ple Quickly

Quick study The well-known water­colour artist passes on her tricks and tech­niques for de­pict­ing hu­man fig­ures, in this ac­ces­si­ble book

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Water­colour artist Hazel Soan passes on her top tips for de­pict­ing hu­man fig­ures.

Per­haps best known from Chan­nel 4’s Water­colour Chal­lenge se­ries, Hazel Soan is an in­ter­na­tion­ally suc­cess­ful artist who loves shar­ing her in­sights through books and teach­ing. Her lat­est guide fo­cuses on paint­ing hu­man fig­ures re­al­is­ti­cally.

It be­gins with the ba­sics (un­der­stand­ing pro­por­tions, sym­me­try, fore­short­en­ing and per­spec­tive) be­fore mov­ing on to finer details (plau­si­ble poses, in­di­cat­ing move­ment, light­ing and shad­ows). Then it looks at more ad­vanced ar­eas such as folds and creases in cloth­ing, de­pict­ing peo­ple within café scenes, and skin tones and colour­ing. Each tip, pointer or les­son is il­lus­trated by an ex­am­ple of Hazel’s art­work; mostly wa­ter­colours, all fully cap­tioned.

If the am­bigu­ous ti­tle con­fuses you, we should point out it’s the learn­ing process that’s quick, not the paint­ing it­self. In other words, this is quite a small, short book filled with tips rather than lengthy in­struc­tion.

If you’re af­ter a more de­tailed and com­pre­hen­sive in­tro­duc­tion to paint­ing peo­ple then, you need to look else­where. If, how­ever, you want a se­ries of bite-sized point­ers, this pocket-sized hard­back of­fers a quick, fun and colour­ful way to get started.

Hazel uses her paint­ing of a Tu­nisian mar­ket to ex­plain how to con­vey the ef­fects of light­ing on peo­ple and ob­jects in a scene.

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