Painting Believable Hair
|June 8, 2011||Posted by Jacob Devies under Painting Tips|
One of the keys to a successful animal painting is layering the color and brushstrokes to depict realistic fur. This minute detail rarely works when depicting human hair.
The most common problem when depicting human hair is over-rendering of individual hairs. This technique can actually have the reverse effect, flattening the hair into a “helmet-like look” rather than creating volume.
Decide on the general color of the hair. In this example, the artist used a color which is repeated in the darkest shadow area of facial area which makes the transition from facial areas and hair more natural. While this article focuses on traditional colors, these same theories apply when using “unnatural” colors such as in this monotone painting by Gayla Catrett.
Block in the hair as you would for any other area of your painting. Note where the highlights occur and how the hair flows, remembering that you’re still blocking-in a three-dimensional subject.
Oil Painting: Detailing the Hair
Color Mixing Recipes for Portraits: More than 500 Color Combinations for skin, eyes, lips & hair
Incorporate individual strands as much as possible in order to add texture to the hair when oil painting a portrait. Learn more about detailing hair from a professional artist.
From Caucasian to Latino and East Indian hues, this convenient book features master mixes for an array of skin colors, plus recipes for hair, eye, and lip colors. The concealed wire-o bound book also includes a plastic color-mixing grid for measuring out paints, as well as a handy conversion chart for finding acrylic equivalents of oil paints and vice versa.
Color is going to suggest the hair but some prominent individual hairs should be painted. Selectively paint hairs that fall across the forehead, are in highlight as the light strikes them or, as in the example above, escape from the overall shape of the head or frame the face.
Effectively Using Line to Paint Hair
Although the use of color and limited indication of individual hairs is one technique for depicting realistic hair, there are times when line or individual strokes is more effective.
Pastels are an obvious exception to strictly using color as an indication of hair as this painting demonstrates. In the purest form of pastel painting, as in this piece, the background color of the paper is used as the overall of the subject’s hair while individual strokes of pure color indicate not only the shades and highlights but also the flow and texture of the hair.
Although this painter used detailed lines to indicate the flow of the subject’s hair, the technique works better than if he had relieved solely on color.
Color still defines the basic form, shades and highlights but the use of detailed line and strokes is employed throughout the painting.
The use of line is a unifying technique and one of the reasons this portrait is so dramatic.
Vibrant Children’s Portraits: Painting Beautiful Hair and Skin Tones with Oils
Making your subjects look age appropriate is vital to successful children’s portraiture. Many artists fall short with features that are too severe, skin that lacks that glow of youth or proportions that are too much like those of adults. In this book, you’ll learn how to use tried-and-true oil painting techniques to achieve fresh skin tones, shiny hair, crystal clear eyes… all the qualities that will make your portraits look truly authentic.
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