I'm a beginner--what suggestions do you have for painting a realistic watercolor

Jump to Last Post 1-4 of 4 discussions (4 posts)
  1. FranYo profile image59
    FranYoposted 13 years ago

    I'm a beginner--what suggestions do you have for painting a realistic watercolor portrait?

    What are the best watercolor hues to use when painting realistic portraits (of Caucasian skin)?  I just can't seem to get the skin tone right for a teen boy!

  2. jennieden profile image59
    jenniedenposted 13 years ago


    I don't work with water-colours often, but to get any portrait to be realistic, look at the light and the variations of light within the hair, face and importantly the eyes. I also think it's crucial to paint the hair the way it grows, from root to tip. Always check, re check the proportions and look for the shapes within the face and aim to make them the same. Also cross reference the measurements the length of the eye in relation to lips, or lip to chin, or eyebrows, cross referencing helps to ensure everything marries up.
    As for colours when making ur flesh tone have u considered adding blue? let me know the colours ur using I may be able to suggest additional colours.
    Hope this helps you, get back to me if there's anything else smile

  3. FranYo profile image59
    FranYoposted 13 years ago

    Thanks, jennieden - I'm wondering if you painted the thumbnail?  I like how the colors are not realistic and very separated (the orange next to the pale yellow).  Your self-portrait?  Did you actually draw in the separations of colors for 'shading' effect, or just do it as paint is applied?

    I'm fine w/ drawing and have a water-soluble pencil for proportions, but the actual color of the skin tone is difficult.  My first attempt I did monochromatic in blue, but didn't really work out. 

    I need to keep trying, and also buy paints that can be combined to create good tones.

  4. Artist-For-Hire profile image69
    Artist-For-Hireposted 13 years ago

    Ok, I'm not very familiar with watercolours so take my advice with a pinch of salt. (I get on very well with acrylics). I'm curently working on a hub for a similar topic but if you can't wait...

    The trick to mixing colours is to start with the major colour first and very slowly add more colours until you find the right hue. In this case, you want a very pale yellow (an ochre perhaps) with a hint of pink, yeah?

    I have two recipes for "white" skin. Check out the hub "Quilters Keepsake - Artist for hire" ... I used these recipes to paint my sons, you can see a pic there.

    RAW SIENNA + WHITE = a creamy skin tone a little darker than the colour of untreated pine (the wood). I would suggest you try this one first, it's easier to manipulate.

    CADMIUM RED (2 parts) + YELLOW OCHRE (2 parts) + WHITE (3+ parts) = quite a red hue but adding lots of white with: a) touches of Naples yellow, b) touches of burnt umber, c) Cerulean blue makes some lovely tones.

    I then use these master colours to mix several tones. Make highlights by adding more white or more water in your case. Make shadows from adding tiny, tiny amounts of a Cerulean blue, burnt umber and/or a cool red. Did I mention that you need a tiny amount of these colours?

    Depending on your style, faces can be extremely challenging...there are many things that make or break a portrait. Don't be put off though, it may come naturally to you. Have a practice and play around with these recipes and be sure to tell us how you went.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)