Painting Portraits in Acrylic Paint | Beth Gatza | Skillshare

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Painting Portraits in Acrylic Paint

teacher avatar Beth Gatza, Artist in Los Angeles, CA

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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

16 Lessons (57m)
    • 1. Introduction to the Class

    • 2. About Me

    • 3. Blooper Introduction

    • 4. Tools - With Description

    • 5. Tools Shopping List

    • 6. How We Will Paint our Portrait

    • 7. Visual Demonstration of the Painting Process

    • 8. Wrapping your Canvas

    • 9. Drawing Your Preliminary Sketch

    • 10. How To Set Up Your Paint Palette

    • 11. Underpainting: Part 1

    • 12. Underpainting: Part 2

    • 13. Underpainting: Part 3

    • 14. Laying Color on Your Grisaille- Demonstration

    • 15. Paint Formulas for Skin Tone

    • 16. Detail Work

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About This Class


Have you ever wanted to paint a portrait like the masters, but doubt you can¬†even draw a stick figure? Do you think that you have zero ounces of artistic talent?¬†Do you feel as if the art ship sailed before you were born? Well, all I have to say to that is, ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs up with that!?‚ÄĚ

There are so many tips, tricks, tools, and shortcuts that artists DON’T want you to know about, because frankly, they don’t want you to become better than them. They tell you that you are not allowed to do this or that, because it’s not real art. Yet, when it comes down to it, these tools are available to help make us better artists- Let’s use them! Plus, who cares if someone says that your art is real or not? This project is about you, this project is about learning a trade, this project will give you more confidence in your artistic ability, and this project is a great way to create an amazing portrait without years of practice.

What I hope you will achieve from this class is confidence, and the realization that artistic technique is a trade that you can learn. I hope that after this class you will then begin to pursue and develop your own artistic style, color scheme and vision, which is what will set you apart from other artists.

Meet Your Teacher

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Beth Gatza

Artist in Los Angeles, CA


Beth Gatza is an art teacher and an oil painter.

Previously, Beth has worked nationally and internationally on over 35 films, music videos, commercials and T.V. shows in art department, including art directing and production designing 16.

Beth has painted 5 backdrops for theater sets, including a 16'10'' x 35' backdrop for Alice in Wonderland in 25 hours.

Beth has production designed 2 fashion shows, and designed a pair of men's jeans as a guest artist for RAWK Magazine.

Beth is a practicing artist and spends her free time working on 2 graphic novels, paintings and wood sculptures. She has had work displayed at the Fred Weisman Mueseum in Minneapolis for Red Bull, the Terra Museum in Chicago, and her own film and art installation at The Doug, in Southern Ill... See full profile

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1. Introduction to the Class: Hi. My name is Beth Axa, and this has had a really sick quarter in a row. In this class, you'll learn how to pay by 10 acrylic portrait of somebody like to look at. This class is broken into three sections. Every lecture, how to can insertion. I recommend watching each video at least once and go back to the video. See if you like. We need to work on most of all classes. Must be fun. So take your time, relax and really enjoy the process. Let's get started. 2. About Me: Hey, my name is Beth Gaza, and I'm an artist that lives and works in Los Angeles, California I love art so much that I continue to have my hand in several artistic mediums. I've worked in independent film for five years as an art director, production designer and other various art department duties, painted murals and theater backdrops. I've worked as a metal sculpting apprentice. I've had one of my sculptures and Red Bull artist can. I'm a painter illustrator I love to draw, have designed fashion shows and events. I'm currently focusing my attention on Children's books and graphic novels, so enough about me, let's get started. 3. Blooper Introduction: 4. Tools - With Description: Okay, so the pain that we're going to be using its acrylic paint, it's a really great starter. Pain. It's a lot less expensive than oil pain, and I'll tell you a little bit about it. It's very opaque and it's plastic base, so if you get on your clothes, you're not gonna get it off. It's what they use for screen printing, so just make sure you wear something that is casual. You don't mind getting dirty colors that we're gonna be using for flesh tone are raw number , burned number, yellow Oakar and cadmium. Red paint can often be really expensive. And if that's hindering you from painting, just know that I've painted a lot of portrait's using the craft acrylic paints that you find at craft stores. And believe it or not, they're great, and they are really been, too. So sometimes I can use them for a great layer. So don't be ashamed. If you could only afford paint like this, it works well. We'll make it work mainly. I just want to make sure that your painting and OK so that will lead us to who were actually going to be painting and make sure you pick something that you like to look at because you're gonna be spending a lot of time looking at their pictures. And I chose this handsome lad. And, uh So what you're going to do is you're gonna print out on your computer to pages at least eight by 10 of the person that you are 18 to black and white, one in color. That is a horrible colored image, but it's going to work for what we're doing. But make sure you do have black and white, because that's gonna give us a really great foundation. Two copies. Make sure it fills the whole page because we're gonna be wrapping it around our campus. Speaking of canvas, we're gonna be used in an eight by 10 candidates Pre Jess. Oh, um, progestin. Just wait just so you don't have to primate. You don't have Teoh do too much. Teoh. Make sure that it's ready to start painting. On Next is graphite transfer paper, and since we are doing a painting course, another drawing course, this is going to help us create a realistic primary drawings for our portrait, and you can get it in a role like this but they also have it in packages, which is a lot less expensive. You could get them in any craft store. Um, one thing about graphite transfer paper, though, is when we are using it on our canvas, it tends this much. And that's why I like to get a little bit of us race that's very fixated. And that's gonna help us keep our drawings in place. So by the time we're ready to paint, it's not gonna budgets not gonna go anywhere. You're gonna wanna pence that has a very sharp tipped like this, but is also colored. I chose red because this is we're gonna be using to transfer our black and white drawing through the graphite paper onto our canvas because we're using black and white. You're gonna want a color that will show up on that. So you know which which spots you've already covered. If you're trying to keep costs low, like I said, just get a variety pack like this because brushes can be extremely expensive. And for the purpose of this portrait, it's OK to get something inexpensive at this point in time. If we're just learning, just make sure that you at least get one filbert I would recommend getting to Filbert. And it's this brush that has around edge on the top. The older brush is going to make sure that we create realistic blending. It's gonna fade our lines, and it is going to make it look more natural. It is, I think, are very necessary to have. If you're on a little budget, you can skip them. But this is gonna really help you create a realistic painting. And the reason why is this? I actually think it's gonna save more money to, because business is slow, dry, fluid, retarded, and it's gonna keep our paid wet longer. And you want that because you're mixing colors and it's Sometimes you get the perfect color , and you only have so much time to use it because it will taint drives very fast. This is going to make sure that you have as much time or you still have limited time that gives you more time to work with paint colors that you're using. This is a glazing medium. I'd recommend this because, unlike oil pains, where you can use a lot of different types of mediums to create translucent it's a cruel pain is not that easy to do. So this is going to give us a little bit more freedom to create layers and have pain shine through, giving us a more realistic portrait and more reels, realistic skin tone. Okay, we're getting down to the last final things that we need and, uh, one of them is your palate. Really? Any hard surface will dio You don't have to have one of those pallets that you see in movies. It's you can, but you could use anything. I am using the back of a tote plastic lid and just covered it in tinfoil. This is gonna be really great. When you're cleaning up. You could just throw it out, wrap it up, throw it out, and I like this to as well, because it gives you this groove on the inside. So if my pain is really wet and I'm to be my palate pain, it's less likely to spill on you. Your table, your surface for your painting also have a cup for your water. We're gonna dilute our paint with water a lot of times and also used for cleaning brushes. Just make sure it's not a month, but you're using for work every day because it's gonna end up looking like this. Okay. Oh, yeah. Roll quickly. Paper tells you need paper towels just to get your paint off your paintbrushes at times to wipe it off. Your Candace, if you made a mistake and just to have on hand, you never know. And I think we're gonna have a lot of fun. 5. Tools Shopping List: can't this paintbrushes? Graphite transfer papers glazing medium. It's a little dry. Slowed slowed dry salute, retired spray fixative, burnt number raw numbered Yellow ogre. Have you read Lex? And last, but not least, painter, See? 6. How We Will Paint our Portrait: I am so excited to be teaching this class how to paint a realistic portrait for beginners. I'm considering the seven beginner class because I'm going to do everything in my power to demystify the painting process. In actuality of the concepts I will be teaching are quite advanced, but I'm going to simplify it the best I can by using examples, animations, brief lectures and demonstrations. We will be using acrylic paint because it's inexpensive and takes less time to create a painting. And I think these are very appealing to anyone who has not painted before and doesn't want to waste time and money unlearning something that may not be for them. We will also be using tools that many people would like to consider. I would like to consider as cheating like graphite transfer paper cheating Who cheating yourself, cheating them well, if you want to learn how to draw, then go take a drawing course. I want you to paint a realistic portrait, and I do not have enough time to teach you proportions, so we're going to use a transfer paper to transfer our proportions of her subject to our canvas, and that's it. Transfer papers, a tool that should be used if the only reason why you're not painting is because you're insecure with your drawing skills. So let's move on to a brief description, an example of how you'll pay this portrait. So our process a painting in acrylic. We will try to replicate how a painting that's created oil by adding multiple layers of glazes on uh, there's three major steps. The first step is a griz I or under painting, um, the underpin team. You're actually going to paint the entire painting in black and white or, um, Chris, I can also be monochrome, like using numbers, which is a paint color. But by painting entirely in black and white and gray, you're focusing on the total value of the entire painting rather than a little. Which color and I'm gonna use I don't know if this is right or not. You don't have to worry about color yet, so just creating your entire painting in black and white until you figure out, um, you know, like how it's going to look, you're just basically building you're building. This is your foundation. Uh, you're only gonna add color through glazes, so Once you're done creating your under painting, you're pretty much done. Uh, the glazes are transparent layers of paint, so you're just gonna lay the color of transparent color over it, And I'm going to give you the exact formula of what color to use and how much. And so don't worry about, like if your color is gonna look right or not. Um, after that, you're gonna add small details. This will be the final, the final step. Um, anyhow, let's move on to uh Oh, God, I know. I'm gonna butcher this. I always do. Quiroz, chiaroscuro and Chris I So what is chiaroscuro? It's a painting term in Italian use when, uh, artist paints high contrast between light and dark to give the illusion of a three D object or portrait. And why is this important? Because it's gonna make our portrait look realistic, which is the whole point. Um, So how do you create this effect? And you're going to start by painting your black and white Chris? I So what is it, Chris? I already kind of explained it, but it resides monochromatic painting in shades of gray. This technique was originally used to create paintings on sides of walls and ceilings to look as though there were sculptures were relieves, but it's also a painting. Um, the painting tool. It's what you used to start your portrait and what a lot of the greats did. Um, and it's really, actually pretty easy. So So you're painting portrait with a detailed grizz. I and this outs sets the foundation for the rest of your painting to appear three dimensional. Sounds pretty good to me. Okay, here are examples of great size. So this is what they use on the side of buildings. Um, you know, it looks like you have three dimensional objects there without spending the money of, like, having a sculptor come in. Um, and then here is like a process of Karzai being used in painting for their under painting. So let's move on to our, um, cure obscure examples, which you see with famous painters like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and we're not a DaVinci. So you're like, Well, I'm gonna be learning this process pretty sweet. So what they did is create the black and white under painting, and then lay color over it. You get it looks so three d doesn't it and you're going to learn that, and that's about it. For now, let's move on to the demonstration. I'll give you a little animation example of how the painting process will work. 7. Visual Demonstration of the Painting Process: I'm now going to give you a visual example of how the whole painting process works. So first, we're going to start with our Chris, I and, um, probably the first layer that you're going to do is all opaque. So although pick paint black and white and gray and OPEC means you can't see through it now everything's starting to look really gray, and you can't really see the highlights that well, so you're going to add a layer of white glaze on top of it. This is going to pull your highlights back out and started, and we'll start to give it some shape. Well, now you did a little too much of white highlights, and you realize that maybe you want to go back and sir, adding some great glaze to give it some more shape. Well, after you're done doing that, just make sure that you add another layer of white for to bring the highlights back out. So, really, how the whole painting process works if you're moving back and forth between darks and lights until you shape it enough to make it look three dimensional by always adding a layer of white highlights after you're done adding a layer of glaze in any color, Um, that will just pull back out again and make it look more three dimensional, Which I think you get by now. OK, so moving on to color, Um, you have your you know, you have Your Grace, I you're ready to add color. So the first thing you're going to do is add the first layer of color in glaze. Here it is. It's added on top. I still have the tonal values that you've painted before, but the colors is gonna lay right on top of it. And this could almost be a little less opaque. We just want, you know, the layering process of color is going to be very then very thing glazes and just like Argus, I Then we're gonna pull white back out again onto her highlights. Only then you know we're going Teoh, add another layer of color over it and transparent. It's maybe a little too opaque as well. Just keep your transparent layers of color then, because once they start combining together, it's gonna get really nice color tones and values. Um, after you add a layer of color, gonna add a layer white again, and then you know same thing. You're gonna add another clear of color. Do I added a dark layer of color. Now this isn't over the entire thing. Maybe it is depending under skin color, but it's always good that when you start adding all these layers of color on top, this is going to start to, like, blend out a little bit. So you need to make sure that you bring a little bit of dark again onto your shadows, like you know, not over the whole piece. But just bring back that total value again by adding in a little bit of a brown on top of certain areas. And then, of course, when you're done with that, add in another layer of white on Lee on the areas that need highlighted. So this is how the painting process is going toe work with glazing, Um, next small details. Now I'm going to use the example of an eye because for a portrait, painting eyes are the most important part of it. If your eyes look weird, everything really Oh my God, this is embarrassing toe Look at. So just make sure you put the most amount of detail work into the eyes. It's what Rembrandt was known for. Um, so let's pretend you're like, Hey, Miss guts that Can you take a look at my eye? This is what it looks like. It I like because I could use a little detail work. So, um, what can you do to add detail? Uh, well, why don't we bring out a little bit of white into the eyes, You know, don't go all the way around, because that's not realistic. You have the shadows of the eyelid hanging over. You have the shadows of the inside of your eye. The only want ad, um, white highlights to, you know, this specific part. That's the highest part of the eyeball. And Well, OK, we'll know. What do I do now? I'm just I'm sure you don't like, um so next you're going to work on the iris and what I usually do, too. It's really a simple process. I think what you do for, um creating, like the iris, its first start off with a dark color of with the eye looks like So the painting that I'm doing, he has blue eyes, so I'm gonna do a dark color of blue and just like a u shape that I mean, they look silly, but just wait, so you do a dark layer of, like, blue underneath. Um, keep it transparent. All these air glazes and make sure you blend well. Anything that's too sharp looks, it doesn't look realistic. So then, um all right, well, what next? Like add a little bit of a lighter color blue on top. That and make sure it's a glaze, you know, and make sure it's transparency could kind of see the layer blue underneath and then the black of the, you know, the original part of your iris. Then after that, um, you're gonna add a little bit of weight onto the part where the light reflects on I. It's, you know, eyeballs or Kloss, either shiny. So if you add a little bit of highlight onto that, then it's going to look more realistic. So now we have something that looks more three dimensional, and the reason why to is we blend everything. We don't have any harsh lines. We keep everything transparent, and the more we add layers more realistic. It's going toe look so At this point, you're like, man, that really does not look realistic. And I should probably should have used black. Maybe I can go back and add. Maybe I couldn't do, I don't know, maybe Brown or something, and keep it more realistic. Um, so there we go. Yeah, I don't know. That's basically what details. Are you just gonna go around the face and the like? Are there any details? Do any details in this section? You know, on the tip of the nose is there isn't shiny there? Should I add maybe a little bit of, ah, highlighting, Um, you know dot of white and then blended on the outside to make the tip of the nose look shiny or three dimensional. So just go around the painting. Really analyze your portrait, your reference portrait picture. And if you're having trouble finding anything that you know that sticks out, squint your eyes and your highlights will become more apparent. Your shadows will become more apparent when you look at your reference photo. Okay, let's move on. 8. Wrapping your Canvas: Let's get started with our preliminary sketch by having our canvas are graphite transfer paper, one copy of your black and white portrait page painter's tape and your red pen. First, we're going to start off by taking our graphite transfer paper and making sure that we choose the correct side to have facing down. One side is with graphite, and the other side is blank. So do a quick test by putting one side down, rubbing it with a little bit of your your finger. Try the other side of it with your finger. You now know that Theo darker side is the graphite transfer side that is gonna go face down . Wrapping your canvas is the graphite transfer paper is exactly like wrapping a Christmas present. So lay it up over the top credit. So it's going toe layover side just a little bit. Take some painter's tape and just wrap it over the top and around the back and secure it to the back side of the canvas. I'm gonna finish wrapping this up, okay? My canvas is now left completely in graphite transfer paper, so now we're going to wrap our picture on top of it. and this is why it's so important to enlarge your picture on the computer before you print it out because we want the whole face to be in frame. So if you can see in the back, it's still gonna be covering the edges a little bit. But mainly we just want the picture of the person directly in the middle. So we're gonna do that again. We're gonna wrap it again with Painter's tape. Okay, we're ready to start drying. 9. Drawing Your Preliminary Sketch: Okay, So make sure you have your red pen. We're gonna get started drawing. So the first thing that we're going to do is we're gonna outline the entire face with the red ink, and then we're gonna outline the eyes, the nose and just pretty much any facial feature. What it's gonna be a little odd is when we start outlining highlights and the darkest low lights. So he's going to look like a clown by the end of this. All right, so let's get started. - Hey , it looks a little strange and it is very faint. And since why, we're going to need to spray fixative to keep it in place. Chicken up, keep it slightly far away. Given a little spray, I didn't let it dry. 10. How To Set Up Your Paint Palette: in this quick Listen, I'm going to show you how to set up your palate for painting your Chris I. As you learned before this, you will create your Chris I painting completely in shades of black and white before you even begin to add color. Taking the time to mix your paint beforehand will not only make the painting process easier on yourself, but will also limit the chances of your paint all becoming the same color by mixing as you go well, we want to achieve when mixing her paints and creating painting palette. It's a range of shades of gray in which we can easily identify where it will be placed on her portrait. Um, I want to get back to that leader. For now. Let's start adding our paint. I have white paint on my palette already, and I'm not going to add a little bit of black. It's a little bit of black, Um, now we have what we need to create our entire gross I. But where do we go from here? Well, white paint is white because it lacks any form of pigment and black asi exact opposite in which it's entirely filled with pigment. Because of this, we will be mixing a lot more white paint than we will with black. Because of how quickly our white will change. When we add any kind of pigment, tow it. Okay, there we go. So we have to double its of white paint. Don't touch this paint. This will be our untouched, untainted paint that will use for highlights. This is going to be our mixing paint. So now that we have this, uh, we have you know, clearly I would just say that there's an arrow pointing to this these air both white dobs of paint next to each other. Now, if we add a little bit of black to this daba paint, what we're going to get is a light shade of gray. Now I have this wide arrow because obviously, you're gonna need a lot more white paint than you're gonna need dark pain so you can use a painting palette knife, Um, or you can use, like, just a regular night. I've used a butter knife before to mix your paint. Don't use a brush. It's clean to take a lot of time. If you do it that way to seize a little bit of black and we have our first shade of gray. All right, so next you're gonna take this paint and you're going to add it next to it will be right here. And after you have taken this color and put it here, you're also gonna then add a little bit of black of black paint, and then what you get is a darker shade of gray. So I think you can see we're going, you know, take this, bring it next to you over here at a little bit of black, and you're going to get this color. And now I'm just going to show you how the rest of the process is going to go like this until we get are very dark shades of gray. And when you watch my underpinning videos, you're gonna see me saying, like, use a darker shade of gray. Use a lighter shade of gray. Um, it's not gonna be often that you're using pure white and black. Uh, that's going to be closer to the end. You're actually be using more white than black because black is just so harsh. It's so hard, it's not even really that realistic so black will be used for details. Everything else is gonna be shades of gray. Um, thats gives you a wide range. This should be They should make it so much easier and you to find where you're gonna put your pain. You know, this is a dark shadow. This is a little bit of a lighter, dark shadow, and so on and so forth. Whatever. So what is glaze and how to use it? So, um glaze. Well, okay, So acrylic paint is a pickle Pake, which means you can't see through it, which is great, you know, for a lot of things like screen printing by when you're painting a realistic portrait. Come on. It's going to be so annoying to paint with. And it is, that's why were only using opaque colors straight out of the tube for our course. I and not even the entire Chris, I just the beginning. So let's say that we're painting a face and our cheekbone is going to be this light shade of gray and the shadow underneath the cheekbone is going to be the shaded Great. If we wait, if we take these colors and lay them right next to each other. No. Come on. Wait. Let me just do this quickly and just group these and okay, let's just say that were laying these two colors next to each other. That is a really harsh line and mandate that does not look realistic at all. So what I do is I add a little bit of glaze to my palette and a glaze. It's basically a liquid jelly that is used to turn your color into a transparent color without watering it down. So, um, we have these two colors. It's like, you know, the highlight. This the shadow. And it looks really bad right here. Well, what we're going to do then, is I added a little bit of glaze to my palette, and I'm gonna take, um, How about this color? That's a nights in between color between them. Maybe even you could go further and mix these two right here. So it's a color that's in between these two. And I'm gonna take that color. Maybe just put it over here at Glaze to the add glaze to it. And now we have, um, a transparent color in between these two. And when you lay it on top, it's gonna blend the two together, and that's how we're gonna create. The entire painting is laying color lane pigment on top of each other with transparent places. That's how you do oil painting. That's how, like you create realistic oil paintings. And that's what makes it so difficult. Teoh create realism in a curl like it's because it dries so quickly. There's not enough time to create glazes. This is our magic tool. Are glazes their magic tools? Teoh create realism. So that is, that is it for creating or painting palette? And, um, let's move on to our next lesson. 11. Underpainting: Part 1: 12. Underpainting: Part 2: 13. Underpainting: Part 3: 14. Laying Color on Your Grisaille- Demonstration: 15. Paint Formulas for Skin Tone: 16. Detail Work: