Airbrush Portrait On Canvas
Airbrush portrait on canvas tutorial covers in detail the airbrush techniques used to airbrush a monochrome portrait on canvas. Brought to you by Airbrush Technique Magazine published monthly with fewer pages of advertising, more useful content than any other airbrush magazine.
This portrait has been airbrushed on a canvas prepared with gesso : Size 80 X 70 cm. The only used color used is the black; the lighter parts are canvas color, by Patrick Charuel
- Airbrush: Infinity 0.2
- Paint: House of Kolor Black
- Cutter, Erasers, etc.…..
- Paper of sanding: 1500, 3000, 9 microns
I transfer the portrait with slide projector and draw it with light grey charcoal. I wipe the surface with a towel to remove the charcoal powder and get a very light design which will be easier to cover with thin (reduced) paint.
With over thin black and free hand airbrushing, I outline the eyes and build lightly the face shape to place the main shadows. I work with a very thin paint which looks more like colored thinner.
I use this same technique on the child’s face and concentrate a little bit more on the dark areas. Because of the canvas texture, I’m focus to keep the white area clean, erasing the over spray on canvas is impossible because of the canvas texture. This texture is great if you are painting structure on fabrics, it is not the same with the faces.
The main elements being in place, I spray freehand the different elements in order to blur the outlines. I always use my same over thinned black and a pressure of 1 bars. It allows me to work very close of the support while avoiding that the painting doesn’t run on the support, I control the sharpness of the feature very preciously using this technique. I also begin to place the first shades to build the face there is no need to be precise here, the goal being merely to place the areas of shading of the drawing. While doing this often compare your work with the reference picture!
Always with thin black I concentrate a little bit on all the darker parts. By working with thin paint and many layers, you can control all the grey scale and shade all the colors naturally.
Now, I use black paint which is reduced far less and give the details to the eyes, mouth and child’s ear. I don’t use any stencils to shade the dark color with my back ground grey scale this is all done free hand airbrushing.
I continue with the same paint by adding contrast between the lighter and darker areas.
Because of my paint is thicker I increase the pressure to 2 bars.
I work alternatively with erasers, 000 brush and airbrush with thin black paint to build the eye shape. Lashes are done with 000 brush and covered with airbrush. The eye white color is eraser with ink eraser and build slowly with over thin black with my airbrush. The high lights are done with knife removing color and adding color with my airbrush.
I use the above technique on the child’s face.
Here a close up picture of the child’s eye. The last touch-up is done with knife. Notice how the wet look of the eye is done, it’s easy to do by spraying light coats of pure cleaning thinner over the area. The thinner will lightly blend all the colors, including the overspray and turn your job very clean. The light point is done with electrical eraser and light white airbrushed color.
The same technique is used on the mother eyes.
I work now on the mouth using the same technique used to paint the eyes. I work from light to dark color by using alternatively thin black and erasers. I’m focus on the lips and let the overspray go onto the teeth.. The teeth are done at the end by erasing the teeth area with electrical eraser and build later with thin black.
My faces are ok at this point; to highlight the characters from the background I decide to spray black color on the full background after a coat of thin black applied with classical paint brush. These two techniques add a more classical painting look.
I start now to work on the woman clothes. I’m focus to render the different layers of clothes by adding different kind of fabrics. Once more, I work from light to dark areas. I use also a piece of paper stencil to add some curved designs over the last layer. I also add some structure details on the first layer (just around the face) with pencil eraser.
I continue working on the clothes with thin black and erasers to add the highlights.
With large strokes and quick movements I build the clothes following the woman position. I come back to add some details to create some folds in the clothes.
The same technique is used on the child clothes.
To increase the contrast between the different kind of fabrics, I add some structures on 2 cloth layers. A perfect tool to do it is a tack cloth. The problem of the thin nets that one finds else where is that the net is perpendicular and that it is often impossible to give another shape. This tack cloth is impregnated of a sticky substance that holds in it place on the painting no matter how it’s placed on the painting.
To rend the child hair I use 100 dry grit paper to scratch lightly the surface after coats of thin black; I repeat as many times I need.
With home made stencil and thin black paint I give the painting a nice light effect and increase the entire design contrast. I touch-up some details before signing my painting.
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