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i cant do realism in portraits..

Discussion in 'Getting Real!' started by bex, Jul 13, 2016.


  1. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    this makes sense... hmmmmmmmmmmm....
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  2. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    i would be lieing if i say i'm finding this a walk in the park... .., its hurting my brain! a lot of concentration on trying to think what to do next.. possibly a tone of processes i didnt need to do and colours, lines i add and then paint over then add again.. my pencil drawing as i started painting i realized the nose and mouth were slightly out so had to correct that,so i have quite dark lines around them at the moment, i'm onto the eyes they are taking some concentrating and i cant decide wither i like them or not?? lol.. she looks like she has black eyes at teh moment.. im hoping that all sorts itself out as i keep at it.. 4 hours so far (in paint) im doing about 1 1/2 hours at a time... though the base colours went on really quickly. IMG_20160718_104930668.jpg IMG_20160718_112004876.jpg IMG_20160718_115008696.jpg IMG_20160718_121516935.jpg IMG_20160718_135856373.jpg IMG_20160718_142010069.jpg IMG_20160718_145241931.jpg
  3. Cordyk

    Cordyk Sheriff Woody (Admington) Admin

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    Hi bex,
    it looks like you are going to dark way to soon and it looks like you are getting plenty of colour shift, i know your keen but i would defo stick to a monochrome first. It will be easier to focus on the values and those subtle blends you need on a face, you can work out the grey scale easier, some like to start with the darkest parts first then you can use them as a good guide. reduce the hell out of your paint also if you like which will slow you down.
    Just take it slowly slowly, build up in light passes, step back and check the values, patience is the key, your so keen to nail this i can see haha, but just chill , take your time. Really spend some time studying your ref photo first planning and mapping out how you will approach it.
    You will get there mate, i know it!
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  4. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    yeah after starting the colour i remembered someone saying monochrome is easier.. oh well...i started it already o_O..her eyes on the ref are really dark she has black make-up on her eyes, and the right side is very shadowed.. so that is kinda why i went so dark.. but i have the flesh tone i made so i can always work back into it again try jump back a stage maybe... i keep taking brakes and trying to study teh ref and my picture.. like i say a lot of thinking and planning and learning..
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
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  5. Carnun

    Carnun Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    One of the problems at being good with drawing, and trying to airbrush... is that you tend to use it to make lots of lines... instead of the versatility of creating the shapes with subtle blends. With drawing, we tend to "outline" alot of the shapes. To me, it seems you are still outlining your shapes...like you might a drawing.

    I also can't do realism. Its hard :)
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  6. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    You know what, I cant do hyper realism either. I can do a picture good enough that it looks like them, but its not like a photograph. It bothered me, because I felt I should be able to do it, but actually I'm ok with it. When I think about the response I want to the pic, I'm hoping someone will say,'what a cool piece of art' and not 'thst looks like a photo' cos I could have just taken one lol. But that's just me, (and my get out clause for not being able to do it lol), but what I mean is, don't put too much pressure on yourself thinking you have to nail realism, if that's what you want to do then go for it, but you can see from your drawings you have a style. Maybe work at developing that (which will stand out from the crowd way more ), then doing something that is you, and you are comfortable with, the realism may come anyway, or when you are more relaxed and in the right head space, you can work it in - maybe starting with the eyes on a particular painting, and then developing from there. There's more than one way to skin a cat, maybe approaching it from another angle might help. Also rather than doing a whole portrait, just choose a section, a bit of nose, corner of an eye etc, and focus on that without seeing it as a face. Just a couple of thoughts.
    JackEb, bex, Carnun and 1 other person like this.
  7. Carnun

    Carnun Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Yip... Go for your own style, accept it and be comfortable with it. I have been where you are once, and I realized why I didn't like it was because it's not what I like to paint. Sure, there are a lot of lessons in being able to copy a reference that teach you how to handle color, texture and shape that is being applied with an airbrush.... But if you are not in it, it will be a sucky to experience for yourself, and why would you do that to yourself?!
    bex likes this.
  8. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Unless doing a black and white portrait @bex drop the black..Using black with color can create some really unwanted results and will tend to make you go dark to quick. Use a light skin tone to map most of your main elements then a mid skin tone to add depth and start creating lines for eyes and eyebrows etc and then using a dark skin tone start building your shadows. Black is utilized in high realism and essentially to copy a photograph black will be there somewhere but generally in very minor area's but photos tend to make things look darker than what they actually are. But dont be disheartened, everyones first few attempts will look a bit rough no matter your experience in other area's but Squishys idea of just say concentrating on an eye a few times, do a few mouths in different positions etc will really help as it will remove that tendency to paint what you think it needs rather than paint what you see. A hyper realistic piece is a minimum generally of about 10 hours work but you can easily spend 30-40 hours on one. Take your time in other words LOL..Good luck, all those who really want to can get there but yer if you can do a course with an airbrush school or artist you may find that makes a lot of difference to the speed of how quick you can learn that formula..
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  9. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    thats actually a good waty to look at it, though i thjink i will try finish this picture - just to say i managed it.. or gave it a good go:thumbsup: even if i never do another realism attept again pushing myself to up the detail will help in other areas of painting (i hope)
    really? :confused: i really dont see it, i have a random bunch of paintings, nothing seems to tie them together and none of what i have done has my mark on it(in my eyes), i dont look at my work and think ooh someone will recognise that as something i have done.. so i do feel i need to work on that more..
  10. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    oki :) i think i will go back in with some flesh tones and lighten it up..
  11. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    i really do love drawing portraits, i love drawing childrens portraits the most but any portraits in general, if i cant get full realism, i am hoping this attempt will just up the level from what i could achieve before so i can enjoy airbrushing portraits too. even if its more stylized than photo realistic i think thanks to squishy's explanation i would be happy with that.. so that is what i am hoping all this will teach me.. as i want to be happy painting but still achieving something im proud to show off too. i also found airbrush tutors Cameron tutorial so i will have a go at that too i think. :)
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  12. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    I have been following this and I think the most important things about realistic portraits have been said .
    You can draw and you can paint no doubt about that but photo realism is a different matter .
    if you want to master that part you need to start by copying a photo , monochrome is a way to see what your paint does when you start layering and teaches you how to build a painting up with only 1 color .
    this technique can be translated to a full color portrait by following the same steps .
    As most of you know my "eyes" dont allow me to do a full color photo realistic portrait any more , but my memory allows me to paint one in the technique I know best : painting monochrome portraits .
    You start by studying the photo and looking for all the shapes and shades you need in order to get that copy you look for once you feel you have found what you need you trace your ref photo to your substrate to get a detailed sketch of the shapes and the shades you need .
    This way you get a "map"of the portrait you can follow when you start airbrushing with a real transparent color
    spend as much time looking at the ref as you spend on painting and check if you are still on track by stepping back a few feet and look at the photo and the painting to catch mistakes in a early stage and fix those before you reach the point you cant fix it anymore without making a mess ;)
    Slow is the key word : thin layers transparent paint , you can always go darker but going lighter is a different matter
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  13. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    IMG_20160719_120340784.jpg IMG_20160719_122817044.jpg IMG_20160719_132233125.jpg IMG_20160719_133126552.jpg IMG_20160719_141043483.jpg IMG_20160719_142402145.jpg IMG_20160719_142419509.jpg

    the left eye keeps completely drawig me i i keep getting stick paintning it... i went back into the black with flesh tone, then arkend the hair and ried to pull out all the features evenally, then got stuck apintin the lest eye for ages (again) so then i went in and lightended the flesh (chin area looks a little orange at teh moment i will sort that) i messed up the nose so im gonna go back and sort that too.. i quite like where the picture is heading if i ca nsort the nose, get some tight details into it and sort a few other bits i would be more happy, every now and again it almost starts to look like the reference picture - then i mes something up and it doesnt.. so its just a pretty lady for now. lol. .i know its not gonna ever in a million years end up looking hyper realistic - but if i could make it look like a very good likeness and human, that would be good for my first attempt at a proper airbrushed portrait (that isn't cartoon!)
  14. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    IMG_20160720_121117204.jpg

    so im giving up on this one here. its unfinished - obviously.:confused:.. i think i learnt somethings (i really hope i learnt somethings) i could do a bit more to try make it look better, but im not enjoying going backwards and forwards trying to achieve a decent look. the paper is starting to loose its ability to hold paint nicely on it it soaks up too much paint, the nose dropped and looks outta place so that has effected the mouth area too. i cant highlight anything i have noticed i really am bad at trying to place subtle little highlights even with really over reduced the whites and it still came out too bold, i then mixed it with some orange and still looked to crisp. i tried scratching - that went horrible. i know it would have been best to leave the highlights and paint the rest of the image - but i went too bold before as mentioned so there were no highlights around to emphisise.. it looks nothing like the reference. :/ i suppose i should be happy it almost looks human and female, thats a good start i suppose o_O, i might try another portrait and go for less realism but more accurate to the image and try find this style squishy mentioned i have.......
    anyways ta-dah! lol why did i even sign it.. if i call it portrait 1.. i recon by portrait 10 i might be able to airbrush a face..:laugh::p
  15. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month!

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    It's not bad but plenty of room for improvement. Your paint is way too thick or your pressure is too low. Paint is very blotchy. Stay away from white completely. At this stage stay away from erasing and scratching as well. You need to know your paint and use really good paper/board to do that. Like so many has said, do a mono portrait first. Work on your values first.
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  16. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    You'll find your groove and get where you want to be, just keep experimenting, ditch what didn't work and it will come together. I would advise not to try and add to much white at the end, but to preserve the white of the paper as much as poss, then you can fade the edges for a natural look, and there's no white overspray to muddy anything you've done up. A masking pen is great for preserving harder edge highlights, like dots in pupils etc. Keep working on being you, and enjoy.
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  17. Amra

    Amra Gravity Guru

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    Redo this image in a few months and you'll be amazed at yourself! I think your only real err in this image was using black to outline things as you might do in a hand drawn image, all of the rest stemmed from that (trying to make the skin blend into the black outlines, etc). I've made the same mistake many times, so I understand the frustration it brings. There are several methods to avoid this. For skin, a popular method is to only make three tones; one dark, one midtone and one light. Use only those three, no black at all except what little you've added to your shadow tone, use the white of the paper as highlights and use negative space to add dimension. Airbrush tutor (Mitch) has an excellent tutorial on doing skin tones Here, as well as two entire tutorials (bianca & denise) from start to finish on his youtube channel Here.
  18. basepaint

    basepaint Air-Valve Autobot!

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    The best part is that your learning something every time you airbrush on the portrait:thumbsup::thumbsup:,You will get it and when you do look out world;)
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  19. bex

    bex Gravity Guru

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    yeah will be good to redo once i have the hang of it..
    it might be pressure i work at quite low pressures normally , will have a play around with paint and pressure a little more.

    im just looking for another image to do now. on facebook a friend of mine suggested Marolyn Monroe, as there is lots of black&white images of her and she has some good easy to paint poses.. so im just looking for a decent ref picture now..
  20. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    @Micha der Wolf has done some amazing B&W Marlene Dietrich and recently a Marilyn Monroe, so check out his gallery, As was pointed out in one of his threads, the old photos are set up with perfect lighting, because they had to be.

    Just google some of the old film stars and you'll be spoilt for choice of reference

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