Mar 20, 2014

Book Review: Painting Classic Portraits, Great Faces Step by Step


Painting Classic Portraits, Great Faces Step by Step
By: Luana Luconi Winner

This review will feature one of a series of art books that are often the unsung heroes of an artists collection... The quick reference book.

I have my coffee table illustration books that I curl up with when I want to look at images that transport me to another place or challenge me in some creative way. I have other books that allow me to dissect technique and genre or give me an in depth view into another creators process.

This book however, sits on my bookshelf with a small selection of others that are always just in arms reach. These are my quick reference books. When I am in the middle of creating a new peice I will always need to make adjustments and access some quick reference.

When painting faces I have found that Painting Classic Portraits, Great Faces Step by Step will help me stay on track or get back on track in a pinch. What the book offers is very simple. A collection of portraits featuring people of various genders, ages and ethnicity, all broken down into a color pallet and with accompanying text that explains the color relationship and certain considerations that need to be made.

Sure I can paint a man with neutral skin and brown hair, but what about painting a pale skinned blue blood with raven hair. How do I paint her without making her look like a corpse or zombie. Knowing that a light application of a deep red will allow her face to appear pale yet with a Rosie rich shadow in all the right places. The black hair also presents similar challenges.

In addition to this reference, the book does also contain some nice pages on facial composition and overall value vs. hue in addition to some color theory.

There are some bits on pastels and digital art, but they are largely just ticks on a checklist I imagine and are not that much of a value add.

While books like this may not be your most inspirational, I guarantee that in the 11th hour of a painting or illustration, you will be glad that you own them. In that context, I would recommend this book for the novice and advanced Artist alike.