The key to getting a likeness in a portrait is not worrying about the likeness at first, but the overall gesture. Let me explain. If we as artists  get bogged down with the feature shape and placement, such as eyes, nose and mouth too early, we will drive ourselves bonkers trying to fit it all together like some sort of puzzle. I know I have spent countless hours noodling with an eye or nose and end up just pushing paint around a canvas and still telling myself, “there’s something just not right’.




By seeing past the features early on, and only looking at the shape of the head, the bigger shapes, the subject comes to life right before us. Then, it’s a matter of assessing, and correcting and zeroing in. This portrait study done in my sketchbook, I used only black, white, and venetian red oils as I am continuing to explore different limited palettes. I don’t begin with any drawing or line work but am only concerned with form. Hope this helps and happy painting! 


“Kindle” 8″x10″ oil


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s