Paint with Me: Dramatic Portraits in Watercolor & Colored Pencil | Kendyll Hillegas | Skillshare

Paint with Me: Dramatic Portraits in Watercolor & Colored Pencil staff pick badge

Kendyll Hillegas, Artist & Illustrator

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12 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Getting Started: Supplies & Reference Images

    • 3. Base Layer

    • 4. Dividing the Light from the Dark

    • 5. Adding Initial Detail with Watercolor

    • 6. Adding Detail to the Face with Colored Pencil

    • 7. Further Developing the Figure

    • 8. Adding Detail to the Hands

    • 9. Deepening the Background

    • 10. Blending

    • 11. Change of Plans...

    • 12. Class Project and Wrap Up

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About This Class

One of my recent obsessions is painting portraits with dramatic lighting, where there is really clear definition of light and dark in the subject. I’ve learned that these portraits in many ways are easier to tackle than subjects with more subtle lighting. So, if you feel comfortable with your observational drawing skills and are looking to dive into portraits, come along with me as I show you my approach for creating moody, emotive portraits with watercolor and colored pencil.


This class is part of my “Paint with Me” series, where you come along with me, like you’re hanging out in my studio for the afternoon, and I explain the process of a mixed media painting step-by-step. You’ll get to see me work to address the different artistic challenges I encounter along the way, and hear me talk through how I solve them. I'll also toss in little tips and tricks along the way for getting the most out of mixed media.


What we’ll cover

Together we’ll work through each phase of the painting, working through layer-by-layer of watercolor and colored pencil to create a finished mixed media painting. Some of the specific points we’ll touch on include:

  • Choosing and working from a reference with strong, dramatic lighting
  • Watercolor blending and mixing techniques for mixed media
  • Layering colored pencil over watercolor
  • Seeing and translating values and different kinds of shadows

What you’ll need

For this class, you’ll need paper, watercolor, brushes, and colored pencils. The supplies do not have to be the same brands or colors that I use, but I have listed these in the Class Project section in case you’d like to take a look before getting started.

Who should take this class

As with other classes in my Paint with Me series, we will focus solely on the painting process and won’t spend any time on the drawing so you will need to have a solid foundation of drawing skills, and be able to create your own sketch for the painting.

While drawing experience is a must, you actually don’t need to have specific experience with portrait painting. In fact, this course is especially suited for folks who are comfortable drawing overall, but don’t have much experience with portraits yet.

Not quite ready to dive into portraits yet? Here are some foundational classes to get you set and ready for painting anything you want, including people: