14079628_1765534843717078_791637808778231782_nThis is my approach to painting a face in my illustration work. It’s definitely not the only way to do it, but it works for me. This is similar to the same approach taken by a lot of golden age illustrators to whom I look for inspiration. I start with my photo reference (which I always convert to black and white as to not be influenced by the color of the photo),

The white outline is chalk pencil drawn over dry paint, to loosely block in where the figure will be. The paint lay in is the darkest darks, the eyes, etc. I then lay in the shadow shapes, not worrying about likeness or edges, keeping all edges hard edges, or “tiling” it in. Then the basic flesh color fills in the mid-tones, and then the hi-lights. I then start the whole process over again with the darks and now start looking for likeness as I define shapes and soften edges as needed. Colors used are oils: Titanium white, burnt umber, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue.

About the Author Kyle Henry

I grew up in the Atlanta, Georgia area (small town called Lithonia to be exact) and started drawing at an early age. After high school, I entered the commercial art program at Pensacola Christian College. There I was able to work as an illustrator in the art studio of A Beka Book, where I worked for 3 years. After graduation I pursued a career of freelance illustration and continued learning my craft by studying with great artists and illustrators both past and present. I am fascinated by light and how it relates to edges and color. My goal is that each of my paintings capture the emotion of the subject, and not just the mere superficial facts. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.

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