Portraits - Part 1: Underpainting

Portraits are one of the most enjoyable forms of painting when done right.  It is perhaps the discipline of painting that requires the most care, patience, and above all, a keen eye for details; and that is true, whether the painting is done in the classical or modern style.

Because the likeness of the subject is so important, we have to start with a sharp, accurate drawing.  The correct position of the various elements such as eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc. become one of the most important things to keep in mind when starting a portrait.  When a painting is started from an incorrect drawing, it makes the likeness a much more difficult thing to achieve.  Some artists like to start with a detail drawing, while others use a simple—but accurate—sketch.  You have to find out what makes you feel more comfortable.  So, choose a color scheme, and start painting with indications of color to create volume, and form to create likeness. For our example we chose the complementary scheme represented below:


So far we have created an underpainting, that is, a general idea of what the painting is going to look like.  Please remember what Underpainting is, and what is not.  If you need to refresh your mind about this, visit Underpainting before continuing.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when executing the underpainting:



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