Monday, September 9, 2013

Painting Wavy/Curly Hair in Watercolors

This is more of a process walkthrough than an actual lesson.  I essentially did a step by step speed painting and here are the results.

 First, I lightly sketched out a profile in pencil on watercolor paper.
 I lightly painted in a skin tone.  This whole image is sort of sepia toned.

I took a light brown color and sketched out the edges of the hair.  She's getting a massive '80s style blow out.  Go big or go home :)
I continued sketching the hair in the same light brown color.  Hair is a mass of individual strands, and I wanted to give the hair some direction.
Once I finished sketching in some directional lines, I filled the whole mass in with my lightest tone.  I like to work light to dark in watercolors.  In oils, I tend to work dark to light.  Also, I used a small round brush for the strokes in the hair - pretty much one brush for the whole.  And I used a large flat brush for the washes.
Continue to build up the color working from lightest to darkest.

Remember to give the brushstrokes a purposeful direction.

At every stage I try to leave some of the previous color showing.

Continue building up tones using directional brushstrokes.  At this stage, the "hairs" are sort of split up between light and dark to show the curve of the curl in the light.

Continue on, etc.  Think about light source as you build up tone.  I jumped to a pretty dark tone at this point.
As the hair dried, I filled in some detail in the face.  I wasn't going for perfect here.  Some of the anatomy is a little off, but not bad.  Also, I'm not a total purist with watercolors.  I don't mind introducing a little white, if needed.  There's a white highlight on the eyes and lips.

My image ended up a little crooked, but I'm using it anyway!  Lastly, I took a very thin yellow and washed over all of the hair.  This unified and warmed the overall tone of the hair.

I could continue building up tones and reworking, but at some point a painting has to be done!  I did all of this in under an hour, in case anyone was wondering.  I would love to learn how to paint super curly or tightly curled hair.  That may be another experiment for another day.  The real take away message here is the contrast between light and dark.  Remember that every light has a shadow, and every shadow has a light.  It's where the two meet that the shapes take place.  I still have a lot to learn myself, but I hope this walk through was helpful!

A new doll on Friday.... Maybe another historical one? We'll see!

No comments:

Post a Comment