How to paint a realistic portrait using acrylic paint

How to paint a realistic portrait using acrylic paint

Welcome to Fieldey TV my name is Fieldey and
today I’m going to be doing an extra important tutorial. It’s going to be a
little bit longer than my normal tutorials because there’s a lot of
ground to cover, because we are going to be creating the ultimate acrylic
portrait. Before we get painting it’s really important that you get yourself a
good-quality reference photo anyone who’s painting realistic style images is
going to use reference to base it off for this tutorial I’m using a photo that
I took of the lovely Tamara who is a retro pinup model, so you can follow her
on instagram at the tag above Kicking off the painting, I’m using my homemade
wet palette which is basically just a plastic lid that I spray water on top of
and then I put a sheet of baking paper over top of that, so the water underneath
the baking paper keeps the paint wet for ages and you can just throw away the
sheet when you’re done with it it’s awesome. I’m going to be using Golden
Acrylics and Golden Satin Glazing Medium for this tutorial. They’re pretty much my
favorite paints but you can use any good quality artists acrylics instead. The
colors that I’m going to be using today are white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light,
pyrrole red, burnt umber, raw umber and prussian blue. The first thing I always
do is just block in all the colors of the artwork really roughly. All you want
to show here is these areas are light, these areas are dark, this is the
background, this is the hair color Now what that’s going to do is that’s just
the building blocks that the artwork is set on this is called the ugly stages
for a reason so don’t stress that it’s not looking
very good at this stage Now that all the base colors are blocked in and I can see
which areas are dark, which areas are light, I want to start adding more layers
of color so each of the layers becomes more refined and more well blended. I
normally start at the top at the forehead of the face and then work my
way down The more layers that you use, the more vibrant
finished the final artwork is going to be basically, the rule with acrylics is
just keep painting until you’re happy with it I like to speed up the process
by drying off each layer with the hairdryer and then starting the next
layer straight over top. The forehead is done and I’m moving my way down the
artwork to the eyes now they are nearly always the most important part of any portrait they’re so important that I like to spend quite a bit of time just zeroing in on them and getting them right. I won’t stop painting the eyes
until I’m 100% happy with them and it seems to me, that when the eyes have been
painted in, the whole artwork starts to come to life. When I get to the mouth, I like to make sure I don’t put too much detail into the teeth The reason for that is if you start to add outlines between the teeth you get this kind of
buck-tooth yokel look which is really really unappealing, so I will actually
err on the side of less detail than more, when it comes to teeth. I’m just putting in a little bit of shadow in the corners of the mouth and also under the
top lip and on the teeth just to give the sense of three dimensions,
but I’m avoiding putting too much detail into the teeth themselves. Now I’m pretty happy with the way the
face is looking at the moment I will go back and add in
more details and pull it all together but it’s actually time to move on to the hair. So, the reference model has beautiful
vibrant orange hair. To capture that I’m going to need to put
down a few coats of orange first The orange is transparent, so I can still see the underpainting underneath but the idea here, is to build up some strong color layers to get a really vibrant color effect After I dry it off, I’m blocking in the shadows and the
highlights to start to create depth in the hair and I’ll mainly switch
between different brushes here I’ll use my chunky brushes to give the sense of
clumps of hair which is important to give the hair shape and then I’ll use a really fine pointy brush just to pick out a few smaller strands of hair and that’s what gives it the illusion of lots of small strands making up an entire head of hair what you really don’t want to do is use a tiny
brush and try and paint all the hair individually because you would go insane trying to do that and
also it doesn’t actually look very realistic Moving on to the flower it’s exactly the same process
as with the face and the hair I’m starting with rough blocks of dark,
light and mid-tone colors and then adding a few layers to start to pull it all together and blend the colors into each other Now that the hair and face is done and I’m largely pretty happy with that it’s time to move on to the background because adding the background in will actually change the whole look of the piece and I may need to adjust
the face after that So I’m putting down another layer of the original background color but as I’m doing it, I actually realize that I don’t really like the color it’s maybe a little bit too yellowish and it’s really not very nice.
So what I’m going to do is I’m drying it off and I’m going to repaint it with a more
cornflower blue, purpley color so that’s a much better match for
her hair and skin color This is one of the great benefits of working with acrylics if you make a mistake, or you want to change something, you just dry it off and paint over it it’s so easy! So don’t be afraid of making mistakes,
I make them all the time and it’s just a matter of keeping on painting until it’s right After my color is in, I’m just going to add in a cool retro palm pattern into the background to add a little bit of interest Now the artwork is about 80% to 90% done,
all the major things are in place so I can start to do some little fine-tuning
things that are really going to finish the piece and make it pop. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that her skin tone is a little bit too cool this is a pretty easy fix and this is where the glazing liquid comes into its own I’m going to use a little bit of yellow ochre and a tiny tiny touch of cadmium red light I’m going to blend those two together and then I’m going to start adding tiny amounts of the paint into some glazing liquid I’m always gonna err on the side of too little paint in the glazing medium because it’s easy enough to do a second layer and I don’t want it to look too obvious My dad’s a chef, and one of the things that he always says is you can always add more salt to a dish but you can’t take it away it’s very very similar with using glazing medium and doing color changes I can see that some of the shadows and the highlights could do with being emphasized to give more contrast to the piece,
so I’m just using white to boost the highlights that are on the tips of her nose her forehead and in the
corners of her eyes for the shadows I never never used black so what I do is I mix Prussian blue with burnt or raw umber until I get a kind of natural black. Again I’m using my glazing medium and I’m just taking a
little bit of the natural black at a time to create the shadow glaze. If
you end up with any hard edges here what you can do is just wash your brush out and then use just a little bit of the glazing liquid on its own to blend the edges back into the artwork Using a little bit of that shadow color on its
own I’m going to add in her lower lashes and darken some of the eye area.
I’m also using the shadow mix to deepen some of the areas of her hair so her hair feels more three-dimensional This step is an entirely optional part of my style – I always use outlines to tie everything together I’m using the Golden High Flow acrylic ink in black this stuff is awesome because it’s so loose and runny it just flows really nicely but it’s super black I like to use a couple of really good-quality
sable brushes to do the outlines because they have a nice spring and bounce to
them which gives a really elegant effect generally on the face itself I try not
to use too many outlines and I’ll use a much smaller brush so that I can do it
quite carefully. I always do nice thick outlines around the outside of the
figure because that kind of helps to make it pop, making it jump out of the
background Thanks for watching guys I hope you
loved it and I hope it was helpful if you have any questions ask them below,
don’t forget to like and share it with your friends because that really helps
me make more of these videos and of course please subscribe for more great

100 thoughts on “How to paint a realistic portrait using acrylic paint

  1. Hi Fieldey, since we can ask questions "below", here's one: How did you get the outlines of the face on your canvas?

  2. first time i se your work and i love it! i love also how u explaine what u do! i just started to draw and paint so im learning a lot here. 😊 thank you!❤

  3. Wow! The skin tone glazing was so subtle and pretty! Not an artist, so never seen that or even knew you could do that. Keep up the good work!

  4. I like to see my beginners Acrylic portrait. Can you also show one if I have a black & while magazine can it be done for beginner?

  5. that is beautiful artwork and your color choices really make this nice!
    quite a while I remember seeing this video and I think watched half or better in search for something more at my level then..but now it's come back around like videos do, and so now I think I want to challenge myself to give it a try!😊

  6. Thanks for the teeth-tip. By the way, don´t forget to paint a selfportrait now and then, you have a real charming face and smile! The outlines? Don´t know about those. Yes, they bind things together but they also make things a bit cartoonish. So how about a selfportrait with no outlines? I for one wouldn´t mind watching that:)

  7. This the only tutorial I could actually understand. I love the outlines you did at the end. Do I have to have the glaze or is there an alternative I could use?

  8. Your painting was too tacky for me. I think I’ll stick with oils. Something about acrylic looks too bland to me.

  9. Really really good tutorial for painting portraits. Includes more explanations than other videos I could find.

  10. Thank you for sharing your techniques in such an easy to digest format. I learned everything I wanted to know from this tutorial. Looking forward to seeing more from you!

  11. thanks so much! I am doing a project and have never been taught to paint, my art teacher didn't really teach us much.. this helped me so much! and I got a really good percent xx thank youu!!!

  12. I'm new at painting. Just doing some paint by numbers. But should you always outline? Or usually? When is it good to do or not?

  13. You are really good. Watching your video helped me correct a habit of blending the areas of the face too much. It all came to me after watching your use of layers and glazing liquid. This video was extremely useful to me. Thank you.

  14. It's a matter of taste, but I actually really liked this right before the outlines were finished. I have done a lot of photography and some digital painting, but this is a really useful tutorial as I get ready to do my first acrylic painting!

  15. Have you ever used the Golden Open acrylics? They have a reallyong open time so blending is a breeze! They can be thinned with open fluid medium too.

  16. Oh my God I am have been looking for your channel for so long I think I seen your painting on a TV show called instant hotel did you sell this painting to someone named BONDI? Beautiful ❤️❤️

  17. Hi! Do you use a matte medium in the beginning to help with the blending, or do you just rely on water? I'm just beginning to learn how to paint with acrylics and I'm doing it self-study from Internet resources. Was wondering if I should already start using a matte medium to aid in blending for realistic portraits, or if you suggest I rely on water first so i get the feel of it/how to gauge proper water:paint ratio/proportions

  18. My best friend is my very first commission and I’m so nervous to do a portrait because it’s not my strong suit but I truly believe I can do it! I doubt myself but this video made it seem more do-able and less intimidating, THANK YOU💗

  19. before you add those outline, it looks like those vintage illustration painting. But after you add those outline, it has this pop comic vibes on it

  20. Why don’t you use a tone ground? it would save you so much time and would allow you to see the True Tone of your paint since the ground would be a mid tone not a bright white.

  21. What type of canvas would you recommend? I have a slightly textures/grainy canvas, would that be suitable? This video is really helpful, thanks!

  22. HELP HELP HELP …I'm looking for a way to paint fast color portraits but I have a problem with the wet to dry color shift of flesh colors. Once one layer is dry and I want to add the next layer, the wet colors on my brush will perfectly match the dry flesh colors on the painting and blend in nicely, but when my new layer dries it suddenly becomes darker and thus does not blend with what's on the face but instead looks awful. H E L P. … joyce

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