One of the common problems and questions I get about portraits is how do I get a likeness? I discuss this and offer some tips on this challenging area. Of course there are many ways to tackle a portrait, here I give some tips based on how I would develop a portrait but if something else works for you, stick with it!
One of the most common mistakes beginner learners make when they start drawing and painting is forgetting about the background. I see a lot of ‘floating’ jars of flowers, pots, vases and figures in the beginner classes. The background should not be forgotten. I will explain why:
Part of the Story
The background puts the subject in context and can ‘tell the story’ of what is happening. For example if a figure is sitting on a sofa we know why their posture is a certain way, it would be different if they were sat on an upright chair for example.
There is useful tonal information in the background which can help bring depth and tonal value to the subject. Shadows are important for telling the observer that the subject is three dimensional and will tell us more about the lighting conditions.