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I worked through Christmas on a 20×30″ watercolor portrait. I rarely do life size in watercolor, my tools are selected for the scale I work the most, which is 11×14″ or 9×12″ so it was challenging to work with little brushes.

Another adjustment comes into play, being able to keep a good distance from the work so proportions are not off. For this particular job I pre-penciled, which I do very rarely. I wanted to get detail eventhough the provided image was low resolution. 

Pictures are flat and there’s camera distortion to be compensated in “selfies” working from life is easer as you can observe in 3D and go around the subject or get closer if needed.

As I wanted to experiment before doing this project I did some practice testing with materials, color, and applications as a warm up. I did one in Prismacolor (previous post), and a couple of small watercolor, both 9×12″

Here they are: (no pre-pencil) 

Given the fact that the image they gave me is low res. I decided to go for watercolor.

For the commission,  I started with the pencil phase


I followed by inking it ​



I proceeded with a first wash and corrected the jaw line, it was too wide.


The completed first wash, dried


I applied the other layers

The final work

In the end I realized that I need a big mop brush to do a more splashy background and hair, but there is always next time! 

Likeness was good and layering I think was ok. I’ll try with a more detail reference image next time, and see what I can do. 

The Arches paper is 300lb cold press which is great for layering as much as needed and good support.

I used Daniel Smith watercolors for this.

I think I learned something 🙂 and I also need to go shopping for brushes!

I have some videos of the process in my Instagram @laurasfiatcreative

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