Line and Wash: Portraiture - Part 1

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Lesson Description

Part 1 of a series on creating a portrait with line and wash. In part 1, we create the pen and ink drawing.

Lesson Materials

140 lb hot press watercolor paper, bottled ink, dip or nib pens, 6B graphite pencil, H graphite pencil, and masking tape.

Lesson Resources

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Reference Image

Lesson Discussion

  1. Hi Matt,
    This was beautifully executed and wonderfully taught. Question: what would you have done if the subject had had solid white hair? Although there would inevitably be some subtle changes in value with shadows between strands of hair, too much marking would make it look no longer white. Also if some of the hair’s contours are only visible against a somewhat darker background, would you have drawn in the background to create the contrast? Thanks.

    • Hi Mary,

      Yes, if the hair was white, I would have added some contrast in the background to make it pop out. I probably would have simply brought the blue up a little higher.

  2. Thank you so much for that tip about how to transfer the reference photo onto paper! Such a time saver and so brilliant. I wish I found this sooner.

  3. I have been hesitant to attempt a portrait because I’m just too hard on myself. I appreciate you allowing us to “trace” the contour lines of the subject to create our art.

    What is your true feeling on tracing an image for a portrait drawing/ painting?

    Even if we create a phenomenal piece of art, aren’t we still cheating???

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