|Pigments for Dark Hair|
- Using only black pigment to illustrate dark hair and then expressing highlights by using white.
- Leaving tonal bands in the hair from crown to tip due to poor blending, suggesting a corrugated texture rather than that of hair.
- Over-blending the tonal divisions of the hair until the hair looks more like one solid object rather than one of separate strands.
- Not rendering shadows beneath hair, such as around the brow and temples, making the hair appear transplanted onto the face and leaving the portrait painting incoherent.
- Using too much blue in the highlights of dark hair, making it appear artificial.
The secrets to painting convincing dark hair in portraits can be found when adhering to the following practices and ideas.
Many colours can be found in black hair on close inspection. Depending upon the lighting conditions and the angle at which the hair is lit, I have found the following colours:
Cobalt, violet, mauve, smoky grey, midnight blue, chestnut brown, sepia and amber.
- Not every black hair is the same black. Some blacks are slightly bluer or browner than others. It is important to look closely and observe the colour shifts within each head of black hair, be it African, Chinese, Asian or even Caucasian.
- I would bin the black paint or reserve it only for the pupils of the eyes. I’d rather mix my own blacks from existing pigments. Rich, more interesting blacks can be obtained by mixing all three primary colours together and in varying quantities. More on this below.
- The highlights in black hair are often not simply blue or grey but other colours or variants on these colours.
- Burnt sienna and ultramarine will result in a soft, smoky black.
- Permanent rose, pthalo blue and burnt umber will result in a sharp but warm black.
- Burnt umber and pthalo blue will result in a cold, dark black.
- Burnt sienna and pthalo blue will result in a coffee-tinged black.
- Permanent rose, ultramarine and burnt umber will result in a violet black.
How to Paint Ethnic Hair
Illustrating shadows beneath the hair, as cast on the brow, cheeks or temples will make the hair look as though it belongs to the face rather than cut-out and stuck on. Black hair is after all the ultimate in tone, as can be seen on afro-Caribbean hair, African hair and Asian hair.
|click to buy from Amazon|