Saturday Life Drawing - Nikki

Need to add more depth to the fabrics. One thing I noticed with oil pastel, if you tried to use it to tone the paper, regardless how little you use it, as soon as you press down hard to spread it across the canvass, it forms this thin layer that makes it hard for more oil pastel to stay on. I wonder if it's the oil or anything that does that.
Also, certain color seems to stay on better and harder to blend away than others. For example, the prussian blue is harder to blend away if I put it down on canvas first. I would always put down some other color, then lightly add in the prussian blues and blend them. On the other hand, cerulean blue is easy to blend, I can put it down first or later, and it'll smoothly blend in with the other colors. I wonder if this has anything to do with the amount of pigment in the stick.

Friday Night Portrait - Melody

Watercolor. 2.5hrs


Saturday Life Drawing

It's always important to step back frequently, and check the drawing from a distance. If only I had done that during the sketch stage, I would've noticed a lot of the proportion mistakes.
Live and learn.
p.s. photos taken at different lighting, thus the last one appear darker and more yellowish.


Muo Transform (update)

Extended the arm, and photoshop the color.


Coloring Tips - Part 2 Underpaint

Note: Click on the thumbnails to view larger image.

Part 1: Layering
Part 2: Underpaint
Part 3: Color Choices
Part 4: Shading and Contrast
Part 5: Steps of Coloring (walk-thru)

It's always a good practice to use underpaint. There are different approaches, the simplest and most basic approach is to start off on a toned background. It's common to go too light with colors on a white background, a toned background will help to avoid this, bring out more contrast and highlight.

Image done with white background (left) appears to be more pale compare to ones done with toned background (right)

For more advanced underpaint, you can paint a layer of all the wild colors and applies the flesh color on top to achieve a more realistic vibrant skin tone.

I had seen Ron (who organized the Saturday figure drawing sessions) using all kind of colors on the first layer for a pastel portrait, such as purple, green, red, blue and yellow. Then he applies the flesh color on top. Below is my attempt at something similar but less crazy and color intensive.

Back to Part 1: Layering
Go to Part 3: Color Choices

Coloring Tips - Part 1 Layering

Note: Click on the thumbnails to view larger image.

Part 1: Layering
Part 2: Underpaint
Part 3: Color Choices
Part 4: Shading and Contrast
Part 5: Steps of Coloring (walk-thru)

When coloring, it's better to separate the colors in different layers to avoid mudding it up.


The image on the top were painted without using layers (digitally), the coloring appeared muddy between flesh tone and the blue-green lighting and the shadings. The image on the bottom were painted with layers and had a better transition between flesh tone, the blue hues and the shadings.

For traditional oil painting, this can be done by waiting for one layer of color to dry before applying more colors (you can use retouch varnish to avoid the waiting).

Similar methods can be applied to oil pastels. (Note: you may not be able to apply retouch varnish to oil pastels done on paper.)

For mediums that can't be layered, such as watercolor, pastel and markers, you will need to rely on the color choice to avoid mudding things up. This will be explained in part 3.

For digital paintings, even with the help of different layers, there is still a chance to muddy the colors when you are using the eyedrop tool to re-select mid-tone colors.

A good way to avoid digital eyedrop-muddying colors would be to use layer mask.

In layer mask, the darker the mask color is, the more transparent and less visible the layer content will be. By painting on the layer mask instead of the layer, it'll maintain the transparency of the color, and allow user to adjust each layer's color without effecting the middle tones. This allows you to change the under-paint to different color without affecting any other layers, such as the image shown below.

Go to Part 2: Underpaint


Saturday Life Drawing Session 1

4 hour session. Trying to use watercolor as underpaint, and then use oil pastel on top of the watercolor.

Friday Night Portrait - RJ

Watercolor. 3 hrs


Muo reference sketches