Art Demos

Portrait Painting in Pastel with Alain Picard

Portrait Painting in Pastel with Alain Picard

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Alain Picard’s instruction on painting portraiture in pastel are a fantastic resource for artists of any level looking to achieve greater form and realism when painting faces. With tried-and-true techniques for getting skin tones correct and building up layers of color, you’ll learn to take a painterly approach to the pastel medium, giving your paintings a soft, artistic effect without losing the expressions and features that bring your subjects to life.

In Pastel Techniques for Painterly Portraits, you’ll paint a portrait of a young girl alongside Alain, step-by-step, using a loose approach inspired by master portraitists such as Sargent and Sorolla, suggesting realism without too much rendering. Start by working from a photo reference to sketch out the composition, then use layers of color to build up the face and background with simplified shapes. Alain then shows you how to match the colors of the skin, both the true color and highlight and shadows created by the lighting of the setting, and how to convey hair without drawing each individual strand. Finally, build up the features of eyes, nose and mouth and add in final details to give the portrait that lifelike essence.

Here’s what makes this video a Jen’s Pick:

  • Compositional tools for setting up a strong portrait painting
  • Tips for painting realistic skin tones
  • Pastel techniques for confident, loose, sculptural strokes
  • Tips for experimenting with color for a lively background

Preview Pastel Techniques for Painterly Portraits to see why North Light Shop user Andrew gave it a five-star rating and said this about the video:

Great information and easy to understand
It goes through all the stages of making a painterly style portrait, from making thumbnail values sketches to the whole painting. It is more than just a “Watch me paint ” video all the ideas and concepts behind everything that is being done is explained to give you the tools to go and make your own paintings from scratch.
Highly recommended!

Then, head over to for the full-length video, materials lists, and leave your own ratings and reviews.

You’ll learn:

  • Painting techniques in pastel that you can use to improve your own portraits
  • How to achieve a likeness without overdrawing it
  • How to match value and tone to a photograph
  • How to simplify a face into shapes of highlights and shadows
  • How lighting and background colors affect the color reflected in the skin

Watch the video: Portrait on UART Dark with Alain Picard Part Two (July 2022).


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