Monday, 15 August 2011

"Portriats in Pastels" Lessons

In this lesson I will teach you techniques and useful tips for creating beautiful portraits with hard and oil pastels.

I am working on a series of portraits for an Indian Actor who plays in a series Indian show on Zee Tv. The series show has now ended but I have done a few of the actresses from the show and one of the actors would like a portrait also. The show is called "Jhansi Ki Rani". The actor plays in the show as the guru Amit Pachori {as Tatya TOPE in JKR}. I will be doing a series of portraits for Amit. I will not be offering none of these portraits for sale but I will be using my techniques in painting them in my lessons here. In conclusion to these lessons I will make a film out of the making of my Amit Series.

In the first one I do I will be using the technique of drawing with a grid. It is not often I use this technique. I mostly freehand drawn then paint with pastels when doing a portrait. This technique is of great value though as it exacts measurements, broadens an artist abilities, and displays professionalism in portraiture. An added bonus of using a grid as a drawing aid, is that you must judge relative distances and reproduce them, so it will help your overall drawing skills by training visual memory. I used to use a grid I purchase from the art supply store when I was in America to place over my photo to determine my grid squares. Now I use the program that is free called photoscape. To use this feature on photoscape first load the photo to the program. Now just under the photo on the left side next to where it says "Photo (then your measurements)" there is a right curved down arrow tab. Move your cursor on this an it should say "Rotate Arbitrary". Now click on that tab. It will then open up your photo with grid squares appearing over it.

Lesson 1: How to Draw using a Grid

-Choose a large, clear image. You may need to scan and print out a small photograph.

-Decide on your grid size - small enough that there is a line close to major points of the drawing (eg. each pupil and the mouth, for a portrait image) but not so small that it becomes confusing. For an 8 x 10 portrait a grid size of around half an inch up to one inch would be fine.

-Draw the grid, making sure your lines are fine, straight and clear. Fine black marker works for lighter key images, but a dark tone may need a white gel pen. A valuable photo can be placed in a plastic sleeve or wrapped in cling film, with the grid drawn in OHP marker.

-Mark the center intersection on the grid as a reference point.

Gridding the Paper:


-Using a sharp, medium pencil, lightly draw a grid on your paper. A same-sized grid is the easiest, as no adjustments need to be made. You can enlarge or reduce the size, but don't do it mathematically. You are judging rough proportions by eye, not measuring distances.

-Darken the intersection of the center lines on the grid as a reference point.

To draw the image, you may wish to work methodically from one side of the image, or just begin with the most obvious features.

-Edges and strong changes of tone make clear shapes in the photograph. Where one of these shapes crosses a grid-line, count how many grid-lines from your reference point the grid-line is.

-Judge how far the shape is along the square, then count across and mark this at the same point on the grid-line in your drawing.

-Do the same again, further along the same shape - for example, the line of the chin in this drawing. Mark the point where the shape meets another grid-line, then join the two, following any bumps or curves in the shape in the photograph.

-Where a key point is away from a grid-line, such as the mouth in this example, you will need to judge the relative distance from the nearest grid-lines. In the detail image, you can see that it is estimated to be two-thirds from the lower line, and about halfway across.

-Make sure you have drawn outlines for all the key parts of your drawing. Less defined areas, such as a patch of shade or highlight, may be roughly indicated too.

-Carefully erase your grid lines, repairing outlines as you go.

I am using a #2 lead pencil for my grid on Strathmore Canvas Paper.

Here is my beginning sketch of my "Tatya TOPE 1".

Tatya Tope Grid

Take your time with a portrait and do not rush by any means. Portraits can be easily damaged by rushing. Facial feature such as eyes and facial expressions are highly essential in perfecting when painting a portrait. Fleshy skin tones are a definite feature that must be of closeness. These techniques will be taught in my lessons.

In conclusion this ends today's lesson. Please visit me in the next lesson I will talk of laying layers of flesh tones.

I will leave you with this clip of the "Jhansi Ki Rani" show. Amit is the actor at the 1:54 second timing of this film clip who comes in to talk to the Queen who is in white when she is praying.

**Note: The following film is not owned by or produced by Angela Pari Dominic Chumroo the artist.

Jhansi Ki Rani June 16 \'11



Lesson 2: Developing your Own Flesh Tones


Developing your own flesh tones is my suggestion. They do sell flesh colored pastels but I tend to enjoy mixing and developing my own. As each individual has different skin tones and highlights creating my own makes it much more to the exact of the human I am doing a portraiture of. In this lesson I will take you step by step for creating your own flesh tones by mixing pastel colors.

I would like to begin by introducing you to my portrait pastel kit. This kit includes the basic colors of what is needed to mix your own skin tones.


Step 1: Building Layers by Mixing Colors


I begin by applying a heavy layer of white pastel. This is my base layer. Being sure to lay it heavier in the highlighted areas of the face/skin. It is alright to go over the pencil sketch as they will be translucent thru the white. I also fill in the white area of the eye. Be sure to leave the dust from the pastels on as you can use these to rub them into the grooves.



I then with my finger strongly blend in the white to be sure that it gets in the grooves of the paper. I often lay two to three layers of white.



Now it's time to begin placing in some colors. I begin with brown. The brown I choose goes according to the dark or light tones of the face I am doing the portrait of. Some skin tones are darker than others. If it is a lighter skin tone person I suggest using light browns. For Indian skin I use a medium to dark brown. Go over your pencil lines in the features with the brown.



Now with the brown begin slightly placing a bit in the areas in which there are darker tones in the face/skin. Also along the lines of the face, nose, eyes, ears, and mouth.



With a red (I am using a darker Indian toned red) do the same as you did with the brown. Give the it all a slight blend with the finger.



Then again the same as the red and brown with the a blue pastel. I am using a softer toned blue.



Now its time to blend well. You will begin to see the colors of the flesh form.



Now with a creme colored pastel go over some mid-tone areas. then with some white in the highlighted areas and blend. Continue working the colors and process from beginning up until this point until you feel you have obtained the liking to your standards.





This is all I have time for this evening. I will continue with this lesson soon and I will be showing you my steps for using pastel pencils next.


This blog is written and created by the artist Angela Pari Dominic Chumroo. The copyrights to this blog are shared between the artist Angela Pari Dominic Chumroo and the actor Amit Pachori.

©Amit Pachori and Angela Pari Dominic Chumroo ALL RIGHTS RESERVED! All INTERNATIONAL LAWS APPLY! All paintings, images, and quotes are copyright © Angela Pari Dominic Chumroo of Do'minic Designs and Amit Pachori. No Materials contained herein may be reproduced, copied, edited, published or downloaded in any manner or form. Any copying,tagging, altering, displaying or redistribution of any of the images without written permission from the Artist or Actor is strictly prohibited.