I was just scrolling through a friend's adoption page and I came upon this ADORABLE photo of her little one blissfully scarfing up watermelon on a sunny, summer's day. I just couldn't resist it. There was so much personality, life, and joy, I just had to try my hand at it.
After getting my sketch correct, I worked section by section with a wet-on-wet wash. I did the face first, then the lower body beneath the watermelon. Here are the steps:
Mask the highlights in the eyes with masking fluid.
1. Wet the whole face and lay on a quick, light wash of Lemon Yellow, followed quickly by Opera Rose. VERY LIGHT. While the page is still wet, dot in some cerulean blue and turquoise in your shadow areas around the eyes, nose, under the chin and hairline. Soften your wash into the hairline and the watermelon using just water and the brush. Repeat with the lower half of the body. After laying on the Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose , I used a mixture of Cerulean Blue and Alizarin Crimson in the shadow areas.
***Make sure each wash is completely dry before you move on to the next wash or else you'll have quite a mess on your hands!***
I also started laying a light under wash of purples and browns in the hair. Any wash you do needs to be completely dry to the touch before you paint any more. Most paintings are ruined by artists becoming impatient and "messing" with the paint while it's drying. Use a hair dryer if you can't wait. (I do!)
Use the side of your brush and allow the bristles to lightly skip on the paper pattern. Make sure there's not too much water in the brush for this technique.
For the crevices in the arms and fingers, I repeated the crevice pattern of the face. Lay on a heavier mixture of the Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose (it looks very orange), then lay on the purple mixture.
At this stage, I'm paying close attention to small shadows, shapes and colors on the face and body to get the correct details. There's another wash on the hair, too, using Payne's Gray, your purple mixture, and Burnt Umber (brown)
Adjust your skin tones with light washes of the skin tone mixture, adding Opera Rose on the cheekbones, nose and forehead as needed.
Background can be tricky. I'm working entirely wet on wet. Wet the entire page around the child, keeping your edges as clean as possible. Then start on one side and work your way around. I used a #12 brush, switching to a #4 when I needed to get into finer edges. Work quickly and don't let your page dry before you've completed this wash. Lay on your lighter colors first and work towards the darker colors.
Colors used Hooker's Green, Indian Yellow, Burnt Umber, Payne's Gray, Cerulean Blue, Veridian Green.
Here's a closer look at the face. At the end, I might take a white Gelly roll pen to establish some more white reflections in the eyes for depth after I've removed the masking fluid.
The watermelon juice drops are deeper skin tones mixtures.
At the very end, I glaze very watered down washes of color on the background, deepening and brightening where needed with the greens, blues and yellows.