Hi everyone I need help from you artist who are proficient  in pastel portraits . I love to do portraits in pastels most of all ...here is my problem I would like help on how to get a better likeness of my subjects . Below is my grandson Max who is 8 yrs old ... my daughter told me it was OK !!  that it doesn't really look like him.... she never really likes ANYTHING I do but that is another story . Anyway please help me see what I can do to improve my likeness what am I not seeing . I do see I need to darken his hair for one .

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Hi Brenda,  I have had a look at your portrait of Max and at the moment I think you have lengthened his face a little therefore making him a tad older than he is.   I have a notion the problem lies with the length of his chin or the shading of his chin.   You have also opened his eyes a touch.  I am at sixes and sevens today but I will have another look when I have got more time to concentrate and my brain is not clogged up with other things whirling around.  I will as I say have another look and get back to you.  Do let me know if you think I am on the right track with my thoughts.

Dorothy

Hiya Brenda,

When I'm doing a portrait I like to catch the persons likeness early on, and then concentrate on the refinements like the correct colours, tones and shading. A good way to get everything in the right place at the beginning of a portrait, is to use a grid. This not only helps with catching the likeness, but also with centralizing the subject.

I think you've captured your grandsons likeness well, and all it needs is refining.

Good luck...........Mark

hi Mark , I don't often get back in here . I redid my grandson's pastel and never re-posted ...but the weird thing is I used my projector for that reason of making sure I have everything in place . But somehow along the way it gets away I guess ...anyway here is the second try ...Also the next one I did was in colored pencil of a new photo taken recently . I have just been doing colored pencil since June so I an still learning ....Thanks for your interest and tips

Hiya Brenda,

Don't trust projectors, especially for portraits. Unless you get the image absolutely square-on, they can distort the subject. Like elongating someone's face for instance.

Well done with your grandson's pics.

Mark

Hi Brenda,

I have a formidable ally for when I do portraits - a MIRROR!  Try using a hand held mirror to look at your portrait, you'll find you're better able to see "mistakes" when looking at your painting through a mirror.  If I use just my eyes, I'm not seeing my mistakes, but the trusty mirror doesn't beat around the bush with me.  I see EVERYTHING that is amiss, and I mean everything.  I might lie to myself, but that mirror refuses to lie.  Anyway, try that.  

I have to say that your portraits are well done!  GREAT effort!  Your use of color is spot on!  

Thanks so much Jenifer . I have a couple more portraits to post just haven't had the time soon though

Jenifer Nadira Knight said:

Hi Brenda,

I have a formidable ally for when I do portraits - a MIRROR!  Try using a hand held mirror to look at your portrait, you'll find you're better able to see "mistakes" when looking at your painting through a mirror.  If I use just my eyes, I'm not seeing my mistakes, but the trusty mirror doesn't beat around the bush with me.  I see EVERYTHING that is amiss, and I mean everything.  I might lie to myself, but that mirror refuses to lie.  Anyway, try that.  

I have to say that your portraits are well done!  GREAT effort!  Your use of color is spot on!  

Hi Brenda,
 Your second attempt looks a lot better than the first, that shows each attempt you make you are getting better! =D
So a few things I noticed:

  1. Your reference - The photo you use is actually not the most suitable reference for the painting. It's fine as a photo, but to translate that into a painting, there's not enough lighting information to give you the structure of his face. It's not to say you can't use it, you can, but it's a lot trickier to get it down to painting. Consider looking for a photo that has better directional lighting. It doesn't have to be really strong, it can be soft as long as it shows the form.

    Here's an example of a photo reference I took. You can see the structure of her nose and face well. That's a lot easier and fun to work with. =)

























  2. The proportion and alignment of the head - Watch out for the proportion of the head. If your proportion is off, the portrait will look off. It's tedious and boring, but it is probably one of the most important things when doing a portrait.

    Here's an illustration of a boy head proportion from Andrew Loomis' book.
    So in essence - hairline to brow is 1/3, brow to bottom of the nose is 1/3, the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin is another 1/3.

    Aside from the proportion, the alignment is also important. I understand human face is never really dead symmetrical. But in drawing/painting, it's better to align them as accurate as possible (eyes on the same level as well as the bottom of the nose and the corner of the mouth) 





    That's my 2 cents =) Hope it helps, but portrait painting is definitely a skill that needs a lot of practice, keep it up!

Hi everyone , thanks so much for your tips and hints , grateful for the help . I have always agreed like Eric said the more practice the better you get ,practice ,practice and more practice. I have been gone from the site a long time ,busy with other sites as well . Eric's comment came to my email and here I am .  I have more  portraits to share , I have gotten better as Eric say PRACTICE ! But LOL I haven't done a portrait since Xmas so I am finding myself rusty again ...working on a CP portrait that I have restarted 4 times . I loose my knack for choosing the shading colors and the best way to layer them for some reason ....PLUS I am using a BAD reference ...I know I know it's crazy but I am secretly doing this portrait and used my phone to take a picture of a picture that is in a glass frame  . I will post that separately. The portraits in this post were very successfulThe first 4 are all Colored Pencils , this last one is a pastel . The 3 kids was a gift to a friend ( her grand-kids ) .The little girl with the bracelets is our granddaughter . The bigger young girl is the daughter of the lady in pastels which these were xmas presents to my hairdresser . Well I should go to my gallery and post some other things but I am down with a cold and not sure if I have the energy after this big post ......Oh forgot the Lady with the curly hair is me when I was 40 aahh to be 40 again would be nice LOL ..Take care  my friends 

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