Painting Lips and Nose on Toddler Portraits

painting of lips

When starting out to paint the features of the face the temptation to create a line drawing of the nose, eyes and lips is always apparent in the work on beginners. After all we all start out with drawing the human face so breaking that very bad habit is something that takes some convincing. However all you have to do is look at the work of Old Masters. Those that paint these features convincingly, leave no traces of heavy or sharp lines. Instead it is a constant shift of color that blends into creating the form. In San Fransisco, I attended a workshop many years ago and while making the rounds to look at the work of others, I came across the work of an artist who did nothing but put dabs of colors on the canvas. At fist I thought what a strange way to paint, however as the painting progressed the result was amazing and so realistic.

Things to look out for when painting the features of the face.

  1. Measure the placement of the features and indicate them by rough dabs
  2. Start adding dabs of colors as you see them. Squinting can help to determine if the color is light or dark.
  3.  Don't worry about how correct the features look. As you keep working the details will become more and more visible.
  4.  The areas where the most color value shift appears need to be blended into each other, that will create the soft transition.
  5. Use vibrant skin shades in the areas where the most curvature happens
  6. Use muted shades to make skin tones recede  
  7. Add highlights at the very end. 

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