Tips and Techniques

Today, I am starting a new series to help you improve your skills and your art. The goal is to post a new topic in this category every week. If you have questions or ideas, please send me an email. I would love that. If I dont know the answer I will research it for you!

Toady, I thought we would begin with a tip on painting portraits or adding them to a painting. For instance a rider on a horse or child with an animal. When you paint a person the planes on the face that contain the eyes nose, mouth and chin are always parallel to each other. I have used my portrait of Eric to demonstrate.

Eric DiagramAs you can see from the diagram, all his features are parallel.  The angle of his eyes, nose and the tilt of his chin. This is particularly useful if the head is tilted or turned. if your drawing doesn’t look right check the planes.

This painting is done on Le Carte Pastel card as opposed to my usual surface of velour. I will go into the painting details in a later post. I must say that it is far easier to correct mistakes on this paper. But dont get it wet ! A drop of water will eat a hole in the surface that is almost impossible to repair! This works very well with pastel pencils. You can add details with softer pastels as well.

Happy Painting!

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About Kay Witt

Kay creates hand drawn pastel paintings of animals capturing their spirit and personality. Her lifelike paintings seem so real they could speak. Her favorite subjects are horses and wolves. She has loved and admired horses since childhood. She has had a varied career as an illustrator and graphic artist. She has designed illustrations for book covers, logos, and Christmas cards. She has also painted wall murals for businesses and private homes as well as set backgrounds. Kay currently teaches pastel workshops and gives art lessons in her home studio in Strasburg, VA. All skill levels are invited to attend. A list of available workshops can be found on her website, www.kaywitt.com on the Workshop page. She is a member of the Pastel Society of America, the Pastel Society of Virginia, the Artisan Trail of Shenandoah Valley and the Valley Educational Center for the Creative Arts. See www.kaywitt.com for more information.

2 thoughts on “Tips and Techniques

  1. Pam Corrigan

    are the parallel planes always diagonal or can they be horizontal? Also where on the eyes do you draw the parallel line, I.e., pupil, bottom lid?
    Informative, just hope I can remember this tip.

  2. Kay Post author

    Thanks Pam! Excellent question. They will always be parallel but can also be horizontal. That would true in the case of someone facing you with their head level. Use the pupils for your line or base of the bottom lid. There are other measurements as well that always true. More on that later!!

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