A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Advice: Painting People

Hi all,
For those who don't yet know me, I'm Comtess Nerissa de Saye, a C&I Laurel from Lochac.... although I've been living in Thamesreach, Insulae Draconis for the past few months. I've been asked to share some tips with you, and I do hope you find it helpful? So, without further ado....

Advice on Painting People:
Getting people right is pretty difficult.
I've seen some gorgeous scrolls that were perfect, except for one little thing
- and 9 times out of 10 it is the people pictured in them.

1. If you use a photo of the person - don't copy from it, but use it as a general guide if you want to. You're generally best off copying one of the 'medieval looking' faces straight out of the book, which will fit into the look and style you're trying to emulate.

2. Stance - Trace trace trace!!! Don't try free-hand drawing people as it will usually look very cartoony. My secret: have a facsimile copy of an entire book. That way you can find people in all kinds of stances and positions and use bits from here and there.... and they're all from one style (time and place).

3. Cartoony people - avoid painting flat colour with black outlines, but instead use painted highlights and shadows (unless the style calls for it).

4. Faces - here is your homework: paint 3 faces you've found in a book of hours, painting them no larger than 3cm in height, always referring back to the book you're copying from. Start by painting a middle skin tone and carefully add shadows and highlights. Remember to compare it to the picture in your book. Do this homework once a week for a month - you will not regret it!

5. Hands and feet - see points 3 and 4.

6. Painting in Miniature - I've been asked: How do you get such fine details?
I use a very fine paint brush.... but further to this, I off-load excess paint on to a scrap of paper, which lets me test the fineness before I paint on to the scroll. Add to this - using a very light hand, and you can achieve some very fine work indeed!

7. Drapes and clothing - see points 3 and 4. There's nothing wrong with tracing, so long as you keep point 3 in mind. For shadows and highlights - add texture to flat colour by using these feather-light fine strokes (point 6), with a different shade or tint of the background colour.

8. Refer back to the original - constantly!

- Nerissa

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