In the book ‘Creative Illustration’ by Andrew Loomis there is an interesting theory about color relations.
In short, he explains that by mixing a little of one color into all the other colors on the palette, the colors become related and a harmonious painting is automatically the result.
Instead of mixing on the palette you can also paint directly into a wet underpainting. I tested out this technique and copied one of the four example portraits from the book.
I covered the whole canvas with a thin layer of blue, into which I painted all the other colors.
This portrait is drawn after a picture in the book “Drawing the Heads and Hands” by Andrew Loomis. On Newsprint paper with a Derwent charcoal pencil.
For the drawing of the woman I used HB and 2B graphite pencils on Nostalgie paper. She’s drawn from photograph.
Sketch after a Andrew Loomis drawing on Canson paper.
When I visited Holland, I bought a Canson drawing pad called “C a grain”. This is a grainy paper that I couldn’t find in stores in Norway.
I like to use the side of the pencil for shading and this paper is great for that. Because of the grain, you can get dark tones with just a HB or 2B pencil. Instead of switching pencils for darker tones I like to start and finish a drawing with the same pencil, and with this paper I can do that.
Yesterday I tried to paint an Andrew Loomis illustration again, after an image I found on the internet.
I used my favourite limited palette (ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, cadmium red) plus burnt umber this time, so I could easily mix a black with ultramarine blue.
One tube at the time, I have now changed all my student grade oil paints to Winsor & Newton Artist colors and I’m happy with the results. It seems less of a struggle to paint, or could it be my slowly increasing painting skills, maybe, I don’t know…
All I know is that I really enjoyed painting this.
Today I ordered the latest Andrew Loomis art book “Fun With a Pencil” from amazon.
It was released on the 2nd of april. I bought the previous four reprints and I like them all!
This is part II of my attempt to paint a black&white portrait as shown in the book “Creative Illustration” by Andrew Loomis.
In part I I finished the charcoal underdrawing. In this post I’ll show some photo’s of the beginning of the painting stage.
The black paint I used is a mixture of Ivory black (a blue and cool black) and Burnt Umber. I pre-mixed four values: An almost white gray, a light grey, a dark gray, and an almost black gray.
1. I started blocking in the darkest parts and the background.
2. Adding the whites and a light gray for the skin.
3. Adding more details on the hair and face.
I felt this was a critical moment in the painting, how to continue?
You can see how the painting turned out in the upcoming part III.
I’m a big fan of the art books by Andrew Loomis. Every time I read “Creative Illustration” I find something new and I often think: “Why didn’t anyone show me this before?”
On page 116 he writes about a painting technique he calls the soft approach. Large tones are painted in directly and edges are softened immediately. After that details are added while the paint is wet.
I have drawn quite a few portraits in pencil and charcoal that turned out well, but I find portraits in color still difficult to do. Taking one step back to black and white paint is a good exercise.
This is the first of three blog posts of the painting in progress.
I started with copying the charcoal underdrawing on Canson Figueras oil paper. This paper has a linen-like surface and can be painted on with oil or acrylic without further preparation.
I made the drawing fairly quick. Looking back I found that it is essential to take the time to make an accurate drawing first. My aim was not to get a perfect likeness, but next time I will be more careful to get the proportions right. I always seem to have problems with the jaw line and had to correct this later on while painting. Checking the drawing in a mirror is something I should do more often.
Another problem came up while fixing the drawing. The paper doesn’t absorb the fixative very well and the charcoal started running. I quickly laid the drawing on the floor to let it dry. Lesson learned: It’s better to spray on three or more very light coatings than one.
Ready to start painting in the next part!
Prismacolor 935 pencil on canson paper
Drawn after a picture from the book “Successful Drawing” by Andrew Loomis.