People sometimes ask me about my painting techniques. With portraits, I usually start with a pencil drawing on the canvas to guide me. Then…I just paint. There is really no secret to how it works…I mix the paint with my brush, sometimes on the palette and sometimes directly on the canvas, and bit by bit I apply color, look, and adjust until it’s right. I vary the size of the brush depending on the area I’m covering and how much detail I want. Sometimes I start by blocking out big areas of color immediately then gradually making the details more specific. Lately I have been jumping right into the details from the beginning, starting with the eyes. I feel like the eyes are hard to get just right, and they’re also the most important part of a person’s face…so if I can nail the eyes at the beginning then it’s all downhill from there. The eyes, in my opinion, truly make or break a portrait.

Here are some photos of a recent portrait, “Chad,” in progress from start to finish. This will hopefully give you a visual understanding of my process.

The drawing:


Got the eyes pretty much down:


Then the nose:

The mouth:

Filled in larger blocks of color in the forehead, cheek, and neck:

Started on the hair:

More hair:

The face and head are now basically done:

Except for some punched-up shadows and highlights (for dramatic effect!):

Then I did the shirt and some finishing touches, signed it, and voila:

I hope you enjoyed this!

2 thoughts on “Step-By-Step”

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by the start-to-finish process of a piece of artwork – especially paintings. Thanks for posting this. 🙂

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