I find people difficult to paint in watercolour. Just knowing which combinations of colours to use is a puzzle, and then if working quite small, the merest miscalculation can change a face from recognisable to someone else.
I thought it was time to face my fears and do some practice, so I found some appealing royalty-free images on the web and went for it on a piece of A4 watercolour paper.
Because I’m left-handed, the top right pic came first. The original was of a child about 12 years old – I’ve accidentally added at least a decade, plus a rather haughty air, poor thing. The young lady with blue hair is a little closer to the way her photo looks, and she was painted next. I love her hair! The man on the right followed. He looks like he’s in a catalogue (which he sort of was). He’s a bit bland, but I wanted a face-on image… The last one I painted was the chap on the bottom left, an unusual pose. His head was shaved and he was very stubbly, which I enjoyed doing. This is the sketch I’m most happy with. I added the background colours afterwards, and they bear no relation to the original photos – I just went with what I fancied.
What did I learn? Well, I’m getting better at getting face proportions roughly right. I’ve discovered a combination of yellow ochre and quinacridone red which gives a nice skin colour for white flesh. Shadows are still a challenge, but they are improving I think. I sort of wish I had used reference photos of people I know, but knowing them would probably have made the exercise harder. Maybe next time.