This is a 20 x 30″ watercolor rendering on Arches 300lb hot press, a commission portrait for this lovely couple from Matamoros Mexico.
I started this with alight pencil sketch just massing out the main shapes, placement of features and proportions. that is the part that takes me more time since its the barebones and the likeness depends on that. In order to achieve likeness i take the most prominent features and I exaggerate them a bit, as long as the features are flattering.
I usually shed a couple of lbs on the faces because, this being from a photograph, the photos flatten the images and in my view adds apparent weight to the people’s faces.. I tried to be more gentle and delicate in her linework and a little rougher on his. this is about 6 layers of watercolor buildup the final touch is to use some white paste out of the tube and do some brush strokes here and there for highlights. I squint my eyes constantly to see masses composition and contrast. contrast is very important to make the images pop out.
I used a staedtler pigment liner #5 and tried to keep linework to just essential as every time I plan to add color, otherwise I work with several points and detail, when its just an ink sketch. i have to do this very quickly to keep the image dynamic and fresh, the more I work it the less spontaneous it becomes. I think brushworks should look like brushwork to give this feeling. the background is always a choice of color to go with the overall scheme, since they were outdoors and it was sunny I added yellow. Her dress was black. but it was too monotonous to make it black