I had just half an hour to spare yesterday for making a quick picture, so I chose to try a little portrait sketch, as more practice on faces is always useful. I found a becoming photo of my lovely friend Shona which I thought would be a good start – enough detail visible to give me a chance of making it look somewhat like her, while not enough detail to make me get bogged down in fiddly bits (ever my weakness).
I started with a pencil sketch, and blocked in some colour, starting with a rosy pink-orange flesh tone, which I feared might be a bit strongly coloured as I put it on, but which settled down as it dried. Next was the process of layering on some shadows and browns for detail and finally adding the hair and eyes. I was rather worried when I added the Payne’s Grey into the hair, but on reflection I rather like the effect it’s produced. I also like the highlight on the right cheek. When I started the sketch I thought it was going to be line and wash, but it turned out that in this case the watercolours were all I needed.
Although I haven’t managed to make an exact likeness of my friend, I can see that there is something of an essence of her here, which I’m really pleased to have captured.