Shading Faces

For the last two days I have been inspired to experiment and practice shading faces with acrylic paints, watercolor pencils and graphitone pencils. Since I started coloring my faces, I have been on the journey with how to properly shade them. I am more at ease to shade faces with graphite than with color so to conquer that obstacle, experimentation and practice are a must.



My first face was colored with acrylic paint in portrait light, purple,lime green and titanium white. I started with putting in purple in my perceived dark parks of her face, then tried the technique Tamara Laporte is always using when she colors her girl’s eyes and spreading that same color over the upper and lower eyelids with lime green. I then added the same lime green in other parts of her face like near the hairline and in the neck part to make the color part of her whole face. Then last was the portrait light to enhance and subdue some of the purple and green. White acrylic paint was added between her eyebrows and upper eyelids and at the lower lip as high lights and white signo pen in her eyes where light enters. I purposely did not put on blush to her cheeks to emphasize the color shade in her eyes and hairline. For all the outlines in her face, I used black derwent watercolor pencil and a water brush.

For her hair, circles where made with my trusty circle ruler and colored in with derwent watercolor pencils and a water brush.

I was satisfied with how the coloring turned out using the purple/lime green combo. Now I can put that color combo in my list of colors to use for facial shading.



For my second girl, I used the same portrait light acrylic paint, derwent watercolor pencil with a bit of graphitone pencil and portrait light acrylic paint. I got all the shades of blue from my set of pencils and tried to layer them in my girl’s face before activating them using a water brush. I made a lot of mistakes around her eyes because I wanted to mimic the same style I did with the first girl, but I cannot achieve it. So, I covered my mistakes with additional portrait to subdue the dark blue that formed around her eyes. I then added a few strokes of 6b graphitone pencil in the inner parts of her eyes and a bit at the upper eyelid. The last thing I did was to outline all her facial features with the same black watercolor pencil and activated using a water brush. I also used the same shades of blue to color her hair and used a contrasting color, in this case orange to do the background to make the blue pop.

Even with all the mistakes I encountered, I am pleased at how this portrait turned out. Now I could add blue and orange to my color combo list.

I have learned a ton of things from this two exercises and have started a list of color combinations I could use to shade my faces. I am thankful that I pushed myself to do this experiments, if not, I won’t be able to learn something new.


4 thoughts on “Shading Faces

  1. I think both faces are great successes. I really like that you have a definite artistic style no matter what medium you use. I especially love the girl with the circles in her hair. That combination of colours, shapes and her eyes are all fantastic. Well done!

    • Thank you so much, Laura. I was surprised when you mentioned that I have a definite artistic style, something I am not aware of. You made my day and thank you again.

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