Step-by-step: Paint a captivatin­g portrait with watercolou­rs



I am not much of a planner with my art and work a lot by instinct, so apart from a super-quick thumbnail sketch to establish general compositio­n, I tend to develop the drawing straight onto the page with the help of my reference photos. I just keep the pencil work very light in case I need to rub some off or make changes.


I make sure to never start painting until I am one hundred per cent happy with my initial drawing. After scanning it (just in case!) I lay a single colour wash over the page, which helps me to set the desired tone of the painting. I then block all the main colours, again keeping the washes thin and light to start with.


I then build colour up on my painting slowly, taking my time, adding layer upon layer of thin colour washes and making sure each layer is fully dry before moving onto the next one. This helps give a soft and muted quality to the piece. Then the fun part, adding detail! I always work on faces first, and paint the background last.

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