As it happens, my watercolour portraits also fit right into Jenn's theme for Artist's Play Room for 'Heads and Shoulders', and I have added an extra image at the end specially for APR - a different type of 'Heads and Shoulders' image.
It took me all morning to find a photograph to use for the tutorial because I spent almost the whole morning looking through the photo boxes for a picture matching the type Elise recommended, and only a moment to choose one when I saw it. Still, it made an enjoyable and nostalgic morning.
This is a school photo of my daughter, Carol, when she was 8 years old (46 years ago), and apart from the fact that it is a lovely image, the balance of light and shadow is just right for the technique.
Elise gave instructions for using PicMonkey, but it proved very simple in Photoshop. I scanned the photo into Photoshop and used the Posterise filter, with a reduction on the darker/lighter scale, to make a posterised copy, as in the middle photo.
I then used the Trace Edges filter, as in the third picture on the line-up of three above. I printed the posterised and traced images, but decided that although I liked the effect of Trace Edges, I would trace the outline from the posterised version with tracing paper, as instructed in the tutorial.
As you can see, I simplified the right side a little to make the image clearer, and produced my outline tracing in pencil. I used a simpler method than the tutorial suggested for transferring my tracing onto watercolour paper.
I turned the page of tracing over and re-drew exactly on the traced lines, as we did when we were children. Then I flipped the paper back over to the front side and drew over the lines again onto the watercolour paper for the preparatory image. Doing it this way meant that I was able to repeat the process and use the same tracing for all four of the paintings.
When I looked at the pencil lines on the watercolour paper, I felt they were rather dark, and I erased the traced lines until they were just barely visible. At least that's what I did on all the others, but forgot to do this for the gold one, as you can see if you look closely. I think it is worth erasing until there is just a faint outline to guide you.
The gold painting is quite nice, but it's just not the colour I associate with Carol - blue and turquoise seem to be her colours.
One of the things that is really annoying about getting older is the fact that I get a shaky hand, and I think you can see the effect of that on this dark blue version. I did the whole tutorial in one day, so I was also getting rather tired. The line around the chin on this one is rather too dark, but I'm pleased with the result. It's amazing how such a simple approach and speedy painting can produce such a realistic image.
One of the reasons I use Inktense watercolour pencils so much these days is that it helps me to avoid the shaky-hand syndrome. I wanted to try another painting, and decided I would see how it came out with Pitt artist pen and Inktense pencils.
I'm really pleased with the result, gentle and tender, just right to portray a gentle and tender person.
This has been my favourite tutorial so far, and I'm sure I shall use the technique again.
ARTIST'S PLAY ROOM
Finally an extra 'Head and Shoulders' image for Artist's Play Room. This is a small sketch in my sketchbook for a painting I am doing - it's been put on one side for quite a while because I was having difficulty with part of it. Hopefully I will get down to finishing it one day.
I heard a programme on the radio about THE LONG MARCH, an event near the end of WW2. It affected me so much that I sat down straight away and drew this coloured pencil sketch, with the intention of working it up into a painting.
If you like the idea of making a watercolour portrait, I really do recommend this tutorial. It meant a lot to me because I was painting the portraits of Carol. At the moment she is not very well at all, as I wrote about her in my post The Bravest Person I Know a few weeks ago.
Thank you Karen for suggesting the tutorial, and to Elise for her generosity in sharing the technique.