On My Shoulders
This is my most recent commissioned color sketch! I’m really starting to figure out a formula that works for me when I get to paint smaller, simpler works like this one. Getting details like eye brows, lash lines, the corners of the eyes, and nostrils correct is extremely important; the individuality of your subject is in these details. And if you paint those details correctly, the basic planes of the face can often be simplified more than you’d previously thought and sometimes also the lips. I usually do my best to soften or omit creases under the eyes and around the nose because painting those too strongly is frequently unflattering. Getting the character of the hair correct is also important, but one can usually manage to do that and be playful with the brush strokes at the same time because there is more room for interpretation. The background should be developed along with the hair, and there is always opportunity to have fun here. And if getting everything else right turned out to be a little tedious; you’ll feel more than ready to have some fun with the background. Fortunately for me, this painting felt like it painted itself, making the whole thing fun from start to finish. That doesn’t always happen, and I never take it for granted when it does!