Using Oil Sticks to Paint a Face | Cherie Burbach | Skillshare

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Using Oil Sticks to Paint a Face

teacher avatar Cherie Burbach, Artist, Writer, Poet

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

    • 1.

      Oil Sticks INTRO


    • 2.

      Oil Sticks Supplies


    • 3.

      Creating Skin Tone


    • 4.

      Adding Shading


    • 5.

      Creating the Nose and Forehead Area


    • 6.

      Painting the Cheeks and Eyes


    • 7.

      Painting the Lips and Hair


    • 8.

      Finishing Our Oil Stick Girl


    • 9.

      Oil Sticks Conclusion


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About This Class

Join Cherie Burbach as she shows you how to paint faces using oil sticks. She also covers the basics of face drawing and simple proportions that you can keep in mind as you learn (and break!) the rules to create art in your own individual style.

You'll see the step-by-step progress from start to finish, including all the small details that make mixed media paintings come alive with texture and color.

Project includes working:

  • on a canvas
  • using oil paint sticks
  • blending paint colors to create a skin tone

You will view the creation of this project from start to finish. Taking Cherie's "Sketching a Face" class ( will also help with proportion and face creation basics. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Cherie Burbach

Artist, Writer, Poet


Cherie Burbach spent a decade as a freelance writer, penning articles for places like NYT, NBC, Family Circle, Christianity Today, and more. While she still writes, she now works full time as an artist. Art and writing have always been a part of her life, ever since she was a little girl. Creativity was a safe place for her and a way to work through a turbulent childhood.

A desire to offer hope and encouragement is the intention behind her art. She is self-taught, painting almost every day. She also writes poetry and other works, and feels words and images are closely tied in telling a story of faith and confidence about the future. She's published many books, including poetry, kid's book, and a novel.

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1. Oil Sticks INTRO: Hey, guys, welcome to my skill share class about painting a face with these guys. Oil sticks. I love using oil sticks as an alternative to oil paint. In the traditional form, they dry much quicker and about a day or so, and they create this really nice creamy surface that is perfect for painting, facial features and complexion and skin tone. So I'm gonna show you how I painted face with oil sticks were gonna paint the face, the features, everything that that face has eyes, nose the whole thing. And here and I'll show you how I blend colors, how I create skin tone and how I create a painting using just theme. So, uh, grab is your oil sticks and a canvas and let's get meaning. 2. Oil Sticks Supplies: Let's talk about the supplies that you'll need. You'll have a limited palate, but you'll need a few of these, so you might want to watch the class once and see what kinds of oil sticks that I'm using. But I'm using a variety to create a skin tone. Now, depending on the type of skin tone you're going to create, you might need different colors. I'm using basically a white, a red and a gold in a brown to create the base for a skin tone. You might want to also add darker browns black. I use black and darker bronze to do shading and other whites to do highlighting, but a limited palette of these is what you'll need to start off with. And if you've never worked with oil stick their very simple to use. I'm gonna show you in the video how to use them. If you want to get one or two just to play with them and see how you like them. That's probably the best bet. You'll also need a couple paintbrushes, and I am just using cheapest craft brushes. Nothing fancy at all. The reason that I do this is I tend to just use these brushes and throw them away. I'm not using the brushes for the whole picture. I'm using my fingers to blend some of them. You can use a paper towel, your fingers, paintbrushes. I'm gonna show you a little bit of variety on that. You'll also need a canvas and some waters. Always also a good idea. Any time you do a craft project so the supplies are limited and come join me while we paint a face. 3. Creating Skin Tone: we're going to use oil stick to create a mixed media face. If you've never used these oil sticks, you guys, they're really fun. First of all, the come just like this. And what happens when you first use this? Um is it has kind of this dry edge on the top. And the reason that dries is because this is the quicker oil that is in this paint, which allows it to dry quicker on your canvas as well. And so what you have to do when you're first starting a project is just kind of rub that off. And I like to do it either on my palette or, you know, I use a paper towel sometimes just to rub off that little edge. And once you get it going, you don't have to do that every single time you use it. It just when you haven't used it in a while and you've got a take off that little extra coding. So I'm gonna do that for the first later, I'm gonna focus on the face and the shading that goes with the face and the neck area, and then I'm gonna let it dry. First of all, I usually just start with white. Now, white is usually a good color to start with for the base of any any type of, Um, I have found any type of face, any type of had, no matter the skin tone because it gives it gives a base for the other colors to mix into and kind of rest on. So that's been my personal experience. And what I do is I'm just doing a very light layer. And since I'm on white, you can see I just have a very light, um, first layer and I'm doing that just is a way to get kind of the paint on there and get it started. I'm gonna take the gold, and I'm just gonna lightly run it over. And you can see I'm not trying to create anything specific right now. I'm not trying to create a face. The details of the face. I'm just trying to get the skin tone right now. Now I'm gonna put some red on there. I'm just gonna put it right on there, and I'm gonna put some dark brown. This is this is called student Brown. There's a couple sets that you come by with oil paints, and one of them is called Student the student setting and has all the basic colors, which is a great way to start if you're using these paints for the first time. So this is student Brown is just a basic ground, and you can see not much happening with this. Little had so far right. It's just a bunch of different colors. So I just have all these colors on here and now I'm gonna go back to the white, and now I'm going to start moving these colors around and trying to blend them and trying to get the skin tone that I want. So the next step is to use these oil stick and press a little bit harder. So you get more of the paint on the canvas. And as I'm pressing that white into their these colors, air blending a little Now I've got kind of a good base to start with for a little bit more white on there, and you'll see me as I'm doing this, by the way. So I put some more weight on there, and I've got a little bit of color that has come off on my paint stick, and I just keep a paper towel handy and I wipe off the edge of it. It's kind of like keeping your brush clean. Same concept. So I've got this. And because it's oil paint, it remains pliable for a while. So now you can take it and you can go in with your fingers or a paintbrush. Or you could even use something like your paper towel. Go in with that and blend it. I like using my fingers, but you can use a number of different things to blend. This paints, and what I do then is just kind of rub it all in and get get a skin tone going and you can see it's that little pinky skin tone is starting to come up. 4. Adding Shading: So now that we've got this little pink head now it's time to add some shading. The shading will help us as we put the features of the face together, the eyes and the mouth and all all the eyebrows and the hair and everything going on with the detail First. We have to do shading, though, and there's a couple ways to conduce hating. You can have a face that perhaps is looking straight forward, and then the light is hitting it straight on. So that means that the, um, you know, the middle is perhaps lit more than the sides. Doesn't have to get too complicated, though. The way that I look at it as is perhaps this faces looking over to this way and she hurt her eyes are going this way. And so if that's the case, the light is coming this way. This means this side of her face is gonna be a little bit lighter. Besides, gonna have a little bit more shading. That's the concept that I'm gonna go with for this character and, in other words, on adding light highlights and also shadow highlights. This is the first shadow highlight, and it's on the opposite side because if she's gonna look this way in the lights coming this way, her face is gonna have light. This is gonna be a little bit in the shadows, so I have this darker line. Now let's do the opposite on this side. Let's make a lighter line and it'll go all the way down and then let's blend. Now you'll see that you can when you're playing with this. I mean, you can really move this paint around so you can make you can make a nice shadow underneath her, especially underneath the chin area. You always have a little bit of extra shadow because your chin kind of makes a shadow over the neck area, and then the opposite gets a little bit more light. So we've got that so far. 5. Creating the Nose and Forehead Area: Now they have the eyes and the nose and let's create a space for those eyes. In other words, are eye socket now rise air, usually in the middle of our head so the eyes are going to go right about there. But in the meantime, let's creates just kind of a shading area, and our faces are so different. I mean, really, every face is different. If you start watching people and then sketching them, you'll see once you start doing that, it's like flower everybody so different. Um, but generally what happens is we have this brow area and love the line of the brow goes down into the nose area. Generally, that's how it ISS. So if I'm gonna do some shading area and this is where the brow is gonna go over this, this little areas where the eyes gonna go I'm gonna do it with a little bit of brown Just gonna pull it down and I'm using a light touch with my fingers. I am just lightly moving that pain to Rome, and that's all you need, cause the paint is so nice and workable. So now we've kind of got what looks like the nose, and that's only because we've drawn. We follow that line of the eyebrow where that shading for the eye socket and down. But let's finish the nose. Since we've got a good start on it, I'm gonna take in fact, I might use a brush for this cause it's such a tiny little area. I don't know if my well, my paint sticks gonna really get in that small area. So what I'm gonna do instead is I'm going to just put little bit of paint from a little bit of paint from this paint stick on my palette, okay? And I have a very small little brush. It has a little tip. You can use any brush, don't get fancy, put it through oil and get a little bit on there. You know, if I got a little bit and now let's make just edge of the little nostril here. Welcome. Breathe. Now what I'm doing is as long as I have this paintbrush filled with this brown paint, it's a very small paintbrush. I'm just dragging it over the paint lightly just to create more of a shadow. Again, I'm keeping with the fact that this is where the shadows are, and this is where the lightest for this particular painting. And it's very much like the paintings that I do normally. I love toe, have the girls, you know that I paint looking one way or having shadows one way. It's just my particular style. And again you will. As you paint, do things in your own style. That's just the way it's gonna happen, which is great. So now that I have this basics, you know she needs a little bit more of highlights. So I'm gonna take the whites and making sure the white is clean and just putting it down the nose and up to the forehead. You know, when I look at someone's four had, you know, a lot of times, if they don't have here, there's a bunch of different, um, shadows that happen in that forehead area. So I want to give it a little bit of life up here. I don't want to be totally one color, so I'm just lightly blending this, Okay, She's got a little bit of highlight there. She's got a little highlight and the nose. In fact, I'm gonna do a little bit more highlight on that nose. And the technique that I use is I just do a little bit of time and I just keep, you know, going little by little. What happens with this first layer of oil paint is now that I've got a good first layer on . If I continue piling paint on here, I'm not gonna have as much control over it cause it's going to begin to pick up the other layers that are not quite dry yet. So if I want a specific layer like a mouth on here, I am going to wait until this is all dry, so that when I put the new paint on, it won't pull up the other paint underneath. 6. Painting the Cheeks and Eyes: So here's the red little bright cheeks, right. But we're gonna turn him down little just over the top with a little bit of white. And this white, incidentally, is called antique White. It's a really beautiful white. It's not stark. It's just kind of really soft and wonderful. So I've got these air old like of use them for a lot of different projects. They're not very good paintbrushes. They're just craft paintbrushes. But for what we're doing here, that's gonna work perfectly. I'm gonna start. I want to give her a little bit of, ah, Brown Island. So I'm gonna start by doing combination of things by taking the paint on the edge of this paint stick and also on the pallets between the two. I want to get the right amount of paint on my paper. So I'm gonna put put it just on the edge, and I must start from there, and I'm gonna just draw a little island. This little eyelid has some eye shadow which I'll blend in. Just got some brown eyeshadow go in. So I got this base of brown take a little white paintbrush Might be a little bit to banking minimum thinking, but I'm gonna work with it. Take a little white and gold create kind of that top part in the eye. See that? So it gives a little highlight. And I lived without an eyelash when im live is closed like that looks really odd to me. So I'm gonna take some black paint and put it on our palate. I just rubbed it right on there, and I'm gonna take some of that on my paintbrush. I only use that these papers is that I am using. I mean, this is another just kind of, like, craft paintbrush. So they're not, You know, they're nothing fancy. They're not. You know something? You know, you can get really fancy with your brushes. And I have a lot of brushes that are expensive. But for what I'm doing here, um, you don't need anything expensive. Mostly don't take a little bit of water because it's such a small area. Now, water and oil do not mix. But in this case, they do help spread the paint a little bit just to hear fun, right? I like that She's got this peaceful look. There's something about when the ice come on a picture that makes it look really like, you know, like it's finally coming together. You can start picturing it picturing this character and who this is gonna be some angling these, um, eyelashes, Just, you know, one is angled. This 11 is slightly angled this way, just as it would be if our eyes were closed like that. 7. Painting the Lips and Hair: take that read and why this brush is really its release. Kind of hard. I must have had something weird on it before. We'll see how it goes. I'm gonna work on that mouth area a little. Lip her with this oil pains. Oil paints are so lovely, aren't they? They really go on smoothly. They blend so nice they're so rich and have so much depth to them means really just a different effect than using acrylic. Um, I like the lips a lot. I want to just add maybe a little bit of a white highlights. I'm gonna take some white and put on my palette and using the same brush. I just use a little bit of a put a little bit of a highlight on there. Nice. I like that. Lovely. So we have this sweet little gal she's like, you know, she's dreaming about something. I like the expression on her face quite a lot. So I'm gonna take I really want her to have kind of, like, dark hair. Um, not about our Black lake empty of using black. And, you know, I could use a paintbrush for this, but I'm gonna try it with just the stick first, and I want to see how it goes. You know, I might decide to use a paintbrush later for more definition, but for now, I'm gonna go right on the canvas with this. And for now, I'm not getting too close to the head. I'll I'll wait and do that. I'm just gonna do a little flip. Kind of reminds me of the Marlo Thomas. That girl flip. Are you guys old enough to know what that is? Look it up. If you don't, you'll know what I'm talking about. Marlo Thomas Waas, the star of that girl, which was a TV show in the sixties. And she had just the funnest here do ever I wanted her here. It was just fun and sassy. Seem to be, you know, really perfect. And that's what that's what I'm anything channeling here. So I'm meeting this, you know, kind of taking these two ends and meeting them up here. It's very rough looking right now, because, of course I'm gonna fill in the rest. But, you know, we have this going on work. This adds a little bit. She's got a little bit of Bain and because this under later is dry. We can go right over this. If this layer wasn't dry, that had layer. When we're putting the the hair over the top, it would blend in. It wouldn't go over it like that. So that's why were you want to do that? Now you're swimming in a little bit closer, so that's around one. 8. Finishing Our Oil Stick Girl: Here's a nice flat paintbrush and I have some paint that I put on the palate the black paint just lately, giving her a little bit of an eyebrow. It's nothing gonna be too stark now in the sixties, as long as we're talking about sixties hair. The sixties had very Starfire grows, in my opinion, looking at them and remembering for what I can remember. But then I was rather young, but I remember my aunties with their drawn on eyebrows. That was kind of the style, and it was very stark. So it's not gonna be that stark with this. Just a little bit of a gentle, um, eyebrow. Go back to the Brown because, you know, we have just straight black here for her might look like it might look too stark. I want to add some highlights a little bit, so let's add a little bit of brown and we'll clean end of this off. Use this paper towel. It'll blend a little bit on that works. Actually, we have a paintbrush one here. What am I doing? Use a paintbrush. Now I should say every layer that you put on with this, um, oil stick you would need to make it. You need to give it time to dry. I was almost gonna see just I have this like a desire to put a streak in her hair. No, she try It should give it a try. Now, again, I'm not letting this blend. I'm just kind of I mean, I'm not letting it dry, so it's gonna blend in a bit, but I'm gonna give it a try and see what it looks like. Kind of like that. You guys me blend that in a little bit. We'll make that little blue in there. Well, that's fun. That's Superfund. And like her, let's give her a little bit address. We go with blue with teal for the dress. When you think give her just a little bit. I'm getting her a very simple little dress. Just gonna finish her out. Very simple of the way now, she Scott, you know, some wild kind of like flipped a er, but of course, we could keep going over this, adding different streaks, letting it dry, adding s'more, you know, White adding some more brown. But I'm gonna leave her with the, uh, teal that I'm putting on there. I'm gonna leave her with that because I like that. I'm just smoothing. Finishing up her little dress area. Let's get some other color in here. What do you say? Do you think a darker blue, darker blue Then we go from 9. Oil Sticks Conclusion: I hope you enjoyed that class. And really, it's a basics class that gets you started on how to use those oil sticks to create face and skin tones. And now that we've gone over those basics, I'm really curious on what you're going to create next. So please post your creations in the class project and share with everybody. Tag me on social media if you like, and thanks again for painting with me.