How to paint compelling watercolor portraits | Aarju Sanjel | Skillshare

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How to paint compelling watercolor portraits

teacher avatar Aarju Sanjel, Watercolor Artist, Youtuber

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction to lesson

    • 2. Materials you'll need

    • 3. Choosing reference

    • 4. Swatch of colors

    • 5. Drawing from reference

    • 6. Base layer of painting

    • 7. Building more layers

    • 8. Knowing tonal values

    • 9. Adding more details

    • 10. Finishing the portrait

    • 11. Final touches

    • 12. Until next time

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About This Class

Hi arties, I know how scary it can be to approach a portrait, but don’t get scared! Watercolour is based on water, which is tricky to control. But that uncertainty allows us to create even more emotions with our painting. The most important In any painting is the knowledge of tonal values, and knowledge of light, its colour and properties.

I, being a watercolour artist for more than 7 years have gathered enough techniques and tips and have finally made a course that will fit learners at all levels. 

In this course, I will break down the steps on bite-size chunks so you can also start your projects with me and will progress immensely after this course completion.

You will learn how to mix colours, preparing swatches for your subject, obtaining different tones. I will then teach you from adding your first layers to building it towards a complete detailed piece. 

Overall, I take you through my thought process in making a visually compelling art piece. 



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aarju Sanjel

Watercolor Artist, Youtuber





I am a Chartered Accountant and artist that is passionate about life in general. I found that art is the way I want to express myself. Out of all mediums, I love using watercolors. They are uncertain but make beautiful patterns if applied correctly.

I have tought people from children to elderly and I have had the pleasure to learn from them too. I believe that everyone has an inner child with immense creativity. With proper guidance and practice, anyone can be an artist.

 In this platform, I will share tools, habits and techniques to reignite with your inner child.

I post my works regularly on Instagram, and Youtube, you can follow me there aswell !

If you are new to skillshare, click this link to get 14 day... See full profile

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1. Introduction to lesson: Hello, Ardis. I know how scary it can be to approach a watercolor portrait painting as it is a tricky medium. But dont get scared. In this course, I will break down the steps on bite size chunks so you can also start your projects with me and we will progress men. See, after this course competition, I would make sure that I will take you through all the materials needed drawing methods. I didn't find the tonal values in the painting and step by step, adding Lee is to make the final portrait that gives homebuilding message to the viewer. So let's get ready. What are we waiting for? 2. Materials you'll need: Let's begin by discussing about all the materials you need for watercolor painting you any paper that is at least more than 300 years you can use lose watercolor paper sheets. I use 100% quarter and watercolor papers, and I think they work the best. Currently, I use Corpus papers from Cassard. Second is masking tape to hold the edges Family Together, you will lead a pencil to make a drawing, preferably actually, I like using ramped. It brushes For most of my watercolor work, you will need some kitchen towel or cotton pads or even toilet paper for cleaning the brush , as well as in making highlights or corrections in the painting. Finally, you will need a good watercolor set. My favorite is rooms and Newton Quarterman set of 24 colors. Then you need a glass of jar for cleaning the brush. I like to keep one extra jar filled with water just to see my body just really well, well, beating. Then we are ready to go 3. Choosing reference: in this lesson. I am going to talk to you about how I choose a folder. I really like using Pinterest So, Lord, because it has y for idea off portraits that I really like, but do make sure to obtain permission before using the pictures. If you are using for selling purpose, I think it's okay to use the pictures if you are not going to sell it. And there are other free you websites that offer great portraits for references such as Off Stash. I do like my portrait's to have a deep emotion reflected in them, and this is also a key in making compelling art pieces. Using high quality photos is so important for this. 4. Swatch of colors: in this lesson, I would like to discuss how to make searches off colors. I use torches so that it's easier for me to follow to throughout my painting. For my portrait, it's I mostly meet my beast colors so I can adjust it along the way. If I need to make them either warmer or colder, I should add more yellow to make it warmer on adding more blue or green makes it colder for skin. As the model has pale skin, I shall use more afraid and less off yellow. I makes cadmium red you and little cadmium orange of you for covering the whole face, adding some proper leg in the mix as well. For the shadow area, this is not defined as you may mix colors as you go, but only serves as a guide off what you would want to. He was predominantly. I also use more properly use for shadow. Part green is also in the category of poor colors, so I also mix it. I used burnt sienna mixed with ultra marine blue to create the darkest part for heads and eyes. I do not recommend using the pure black because because dark is not a natural color and it's not found in nature 5. Drawing from reference: in this lesson, I will talk you through how to draw from reference. Firstly, split the picture into four equal parts. They add marks on your watercolor paper right in the middle. Also, you can make a cross for reference. I use writing method off making portrait's almost always. This does require some practice with Freehand drawing, although the accuracy may not be achieved. 100 person like scale drawing the life nous and mood of the portrait can be captured just as well. And with practice, it becomes really easy and fun to me. Like the picture. A second is mute for the school part. Then, for Joel, a broad angle you ship is drawn and joined. It is important to imagine this entreaty, for example, if our feet was a rock. People. When the ball is turned to side with every part of the bold turns to a different uncle, just like this portrait across say, is made from ears and the middle of the fees. Thus, the line from one year to the next will be where the eyes up taste and then dividing into treaty put. That's then we please knows and lives the nose and ears over his end up on the same line. This is also crucial and making a real stickler painting where eyes, nose, lips and ears are please. The rest is just about looking at the border really well and making some soft climbs. We do not want to go very dark here as watercolors can dissolve the colors, making it look muddy. The hairs are old, sidelined. The measurement is for placement and cannot be true for every face. As everyone has unique characteristics, there's only serves as a guide. Now we're ready to put some watercolors on our people. 6. Base layer of painting: in this session, we are going to discover how to add basically or of painting. For this, I start off with having an even toned layer that covers the whole Please. Using a transparent color will be important in the step as you would want the base layer to be light. Any other color applied on top of this will not be too harsh or muddy with fuel is the colors I used are already pre myths, that is the mix off cadmium red here and rose madder you. I could also add Chinese white, but then the Chinese white, his already an opaque Connor. So I ever leave it for the final years. Also using less permanent colors at the base. Clear me also helping raising or making highlights easily if necessary. All description for colors about the transparency and strength are written on the company website easily. It helps if you label the colors D for transparent and over obey in the tortures for future use, also adding basically years even in your hair. Now it becomes easier for us to see the whole picture. We will now build our values from this. The base layer serves as the lightest part of the face. Also, as this is my first time teaching in the platform. Forgive me for any mistakes that I mean, I found that my head was blocking some view only after recording. However, it does not take the learning away as we are here to learn. Now we move on to the next lesson. - Uh 7. Building more layers: Finally we Now we reach to a stage where we patiently and more layers. 8. Knowing tonal values: in this lesson, we are going to explore the tonal values and colors off the face. It is extremely important to decide the tonal values off your subject. These are the doctor dark, midrange and lightest light. We have already painted the lightest light of our water. Now we decide where the darkest colors go and the midrange colors go Then we keep on layering the colors. Also, the important part is how the light hits the face. The area that is closest to the light source. will have the brightest whites and the immediate shadow will be the darkest. For example, the part of the nose that is closest to where the light ends will have darkest colors That is dark pink or red If a face is hit by a warm light, Then it will have a cool shudder. And when it is hit by a cool light such as tungsten light, it will produce a warm shadow. This should be kept in mind when painting shadows in an artwork. Here, the life that hits the face is warm colored That's the shadow it has that is, with blue or green tent. The face has veins filled with blood, some parts are completely compact but some are not so opaque. The area around the nose has a lot of blood flow, so is redder, However, The Chin area has a green tent, also the forehead. The area near eyes are also green tinted as they received less blood flow. Although they are deep set, some more than others. Nose is transparent as the muscles are not as compact, some people have seen through noses as well. If the skin is to pale, the shadow a nose makes inside the nostrils are red. Thus, nose is more red than Jaw or forehead. Again, it is important to note that every work area needs to be completely dry before a new color, unless deliberately mixing the two colors together, For color mixing I might make a different course as it becomes too heavy to cover in a single course. Now we move on to the next lesson. 9. Adding more details: in this lesson, we are going to discuss how to add more layers. Finally, we reached to a stage where re patiently and more layers. After working with the face, we now build up Leah Zone hairs using the same brush with dark color, a mix of ultra marine and sienna. You can also add some green tint to it. The mix is used with short strokes on eyebrows, upper corner of the eye, here on out, trying their face. For this, I used smallest numbered route brush. I like to make my portrait stand out with transparently it off outline on the face. Thus, that is also done at this stage. We're not thinking a lot about the details. This stage is about building the middle range of values. 10. Finishing the portrait: In this next lesson, we are going to discuss how to finish the portrait this stage and wolves covering the darkest of values. Remember, in watercolor, we always go from light to die, thus adding darker values as we go, unlike in acrylic or oil, where we start from darker to the lighter. Thus, at this stage, we can't even use opiate colors. It is about giving that illusion off. Wait on the part of the eyes. We do have the dark colors, but we also blend them at a just. This applies on the other parts as well. We do not want to keep those harsh lines. Do not get scared about adding strong colors at this stage, as we do want our picture to convey a message by using vivid colors. It also depends on individual style. Someone like loud colors. Some me like subdued colors. However, understanding the mood of the portrait is the moves important in my portrait. I do not want to excite the viewers by my color choice. As I sing, the pain team needs a much subdued effect. Thus my colors are muted down. However, this is totally up to you. Do not forget to add that contrast off colors 11. Final touches: In this next lesson, we are going to discover how final touches are done. Final touches really define where we want our viewers to put the attention, also our detail to the place you really love the most. For me, it's always the eyes. As they have the story to tell, Eyes really drive all the attention to provide much hidden meaning. Finally, I like adding the small bits of hairs here and there falls deliberate, careful actions. At this point, we cannot go back or trees. Our foundation has already been built and we are now making final touches. I also want to add freckles in this portrait as I thought I would add onto the painting. We could also add backgrounds to our artwork, and there are also key clears in our artwork. But for this demo, I get my painting simple for you to understand and not get confused with too much to deal with. This is the stage where you can add harsh nines up because they really drive their tension 12. Until next time : we have now completed our session. It was a great ride and I enjoyed extend my way of four process involved in the portrait painting. I heard that you found this course useful and can be confident to approach portrait in watercolor with ease. I would love to see your projects and I will give advice and review them as you ask. Thank you for staying with me until next time Happy ST A's.