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Boy Portrait Painting Demo In Watercolor by Debojyoti Boruah

Watercolor is a medium which I love to work with. But it was a challenge for me for a long time. I love its self-expressiveness. That means it has its own flow and freedom which you tried to control with a brush. And that makes watercolor different from the other mediums which have more control. I personally think watercolor should be the first medium for the new artists.

Video Tutorial:
Choosing The Right Tools:

In this demo, I am going to share some of my interesting experiences with this wonderful medium. I am from a place where you will hardly find any quality art materials. Specially watercolor papers. New learners always tried their hands on watercolor with the chart papers, sketchbook paper or any regular A4 size paper used for a photocopy. And the end result is always horrible. This type of papers is not designed to resist water as like watercolor papers.

The same mistake was repeatedly continued by myself for a long time until one day I tried a quality watercolor paper dedicated to this medium from Amazon. My first watercolor paper was Canson Montval cold press 300gsm A3 size papers. And believe me, it changes the way of thinking about this medium. You can experiment as much as you want with this type of paper without worrying cockling.

So, my tools for this painting was

  1. Canson Montval Watercolor paper, A4 size 300 gsm
  2. Drawing board
  3. Masking tape
  4. Brushes of Size 6, 4, 1 Flat and round of both nylon and pony hair.
  5. Palette loaded watercolor
  6. Colors like Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Crimson, Scarlet Lake, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, and Burnt Sienna.
  7. Two cups of clean water
  8. Mist spray bottle
A Little Preparation:

Preparation makes perfection. It is one hundred percent true in case of finishing a painting in watercolor. Watercolor papers must be stretched before proceeding for a painting. In simple terms, it should be soaked in water prior to painting to make the fibers of the paper expand and preventing them from buckling and warping later on. It also gives a clean smooth surface for painting for a longer period of time even if you are using a lot of water later on.

For this kind of small paper, I usually use a bucket to soak it for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a drawing board and check the corner of the paper. If it is still bouncy, the paper is not wet enough, or if it is floppy it is too wet.

With a clean piece of sponge remove the excess water from the paper and staple the borders of the paper with the board. Finally, apply a masking tape covering around 1 cm from each side of the paper to get a clean white border at the end of the painting.

Laying Down Color Layers:


Boy Portrait Painting In Watercolor at
Laying down color layers

I prefer to work watercolor paintings horizontally rather than vertically. It gives me a controlled flow of colors over the desired areas.

For the first layer of skin color, I have applied a very thin coat of Yellow ochre and Scarlet Lake. I achieve darker shades with Ultramarine Blue and Crimson. I have never used any black for darkening.

Working With Shading:
Boy Portrait Painting at
Working With Shading

In this stage, I have worked with the skin textures using Burnt Sienna and Crimson. For the darker shades, I am still using Ultramarine Blue and Crimson and little Burnt Sienna.

In watercolor, it is very difficult to go reverse from a darker shades to lighter. So, care should be taken not to use too much color at one time as the pigments of watercolor is too strong. That is why a little color goes a long way.

For the hairs and eyebrow, I am using Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Crimson. Lip color is a thin coat of Crimson with Scarlet Lake and Ultramarine Blue.

Final Touches:
Boy Portrait Painting at
Final Touches, Watercolor Portrait

For the background, I have applied Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna mixture. For the dress, I have chosen Crimson, Scarlet Lake, and Cobalt Blue.

Boy Portrait Painting at
Final Touches, Watercolor Portrait Painting

In this process of the whole painting, I have applied mist water spray many times over the painting to moisten it. Otherwise, the first layer will dry quickly and it will not blend with the second layer when I will apply it.

So, this is a little painting in front of you and I am eager to know your comments about this article.

Please don’t forget to share this article if you really like it.

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