Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mads Mikkelsen - Portrait Painting Tutorial

Helloooo, Universe!

I've been away from my blog for a long time and apparently I'm still alive. So, I decided to write again with a tutorial of my latest portrait painting. Here it is...

Mads Mikkelsen, my current obsession
I used this photo asa reference, only the head (because I'm too lazy to paint the body) and did a little improvisation with his hair:

The Gorgeous Mads

First, let's start with my colour palette. If you've read my old tutorial of Luke Skywalker painting, it's basically almost the same. Not only the colour palette, but also the whole technique. I use these colours in almost every painting I made.

Always use these colours...
Okay, you're ready with the paint now. Let's start to draw...

1. Sketch
When making a full colour portrait painting, I usually draw a not-too-detailed-sketch. As you can see on the picture above, the sketch is basically just thin outlines. I add the details later.

2. Base colour

When the sketch is done, let's start the painting with applying base colour. For skin colour, I use white and pale orange (for sakura water colour user) or naples yellow red (for van gogh watercolour user). It doesn't have to be exactly pale orange or naples yellow red. Pale orange is the colour I used when I started to learn portrait painting. I got it in sakura transparent watercolour set, which is my favourite brand, but unfortunately, it's no longer produced. So when I ran out of the painting, I was forced to choose other brand and I ended up with van gogh watercolour's napples yellow red. I think other watercolour brands have similar colour, such as flesh tint. You can use any similar colour you like. If you don't have any, just make your own mixed colour. Since it's called pale orange, obviously you can use orange which is very pale. Just added lots of water and white colour.
After you applied this basic colour, you can go make a cup of tea or coffee while waiting it dry.

Note: For other colour, I use Cotman watercolours (Winsor & Newton)

(And sorry, apparently I forgot to put this colour on the colour palette picture above.)

3. Start the layer...

Okay, here comes the ugliest part. 
Start painting the darker area on the face around his eyes, nose, lips and neck with a thin layer of yellow ochre and burnt sienna. Patience is the key of my painting. Even though it looks very ugly, but you need to keep applying a thin layer over and over again. The result will be much better than applying a thick and bold layer at once. 

4. Another layer...

You've past the ugliest part. Just keep applying more layers. I use vandyke brown for darker area now. Don't put away you pale orange color because you can use it again for pinkish area, lips and cheeks. 

5. Yes, still layers...

Yay! It's getting better now. For the darkest area on his face, I use sepia or dark brown. FYI, I seldom use black on my painting. If you think sepia isn't dark enough, mix it with blue (I use indigo here). 

6. Don't get bored with layers

My technique is basically doing the same thing over and over again. In this stage, I still keep putting another layer until I get the colour I desire. 

7. I know... It's like endless layers.

Okay, I even get bored with my own technique. What should you do when you get tired of applying layers at the same place? Just move to other area. Now I start to put basic colour on his hair. It's yellow ochre. Now you can drink the tea you've made earlier while waiting the hair dry.

8.  Don't worry... It's getting better.

After I put yellow ochre on the hair, I paint his hair layers with vandyke brown and sepia. After the dark area is done, you can add a fine line of white paint on it. Just do a single-and-confident-stroke to make a nice thin white line. 

9. White paint effect!

If you like the result on the hair, let's go back to his face. You have to finish the darker layers on his face now. And here is my favourite part... Creating lighter effect with white paint. I use white gouache to make this effect because gouache has an opaque characteristic. Put the white paint on his nose, cheek bones, eyes, lips and above his eyebrow to make his face looks bright and shinny. 

10. It's almost done!

I'm (almost) done with his face and hair, now it's time to paint the background. Honestly, background is supposed to be the first thing to paint before you start painting the object. But, painting background is my least favourite part, so I keep doing it at the end of my painting. It's a bad habit. Don't do it....

11. Voila!

Paint his suit and... Finally, it's done!

Thanks for reading. Please noted that this is the technique I develop through years of practise. I'm glad if this tutorial helps you improving your technique, but you don't have to follow it if you don't want to. Painting is something you have to enjoy and inventing your own method is definitely the fun way to shape your skill and make a better painting. 


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