Here is his website: http://bao22.blogspot.com/
This weekend I decided to take a stab at venturing away from my usual method of painting and jump into someone elses'. This method reminds me of the old system of apprenticeship under a master artist; a method which is usually lacking in modern schools. Feel free to use one of your own favorite artists as an imaginary mentor for this exercise!
I really love love LOVE Bao Pham's work so I chose him for this. I wanted to imitate his subtly of color and contrast in his faces. I rely too heavily on contrast to make figures look volumnetric and my pure white highlights tend to look cartoonish and clumsy. So, as you can see by the horrible attempt in #1 it started off rocky and frustrating but ended up pretty decent after I banged my head against the wall for a bit!
Here are a few tips that I gleaned from that night:
- skin in real life is made of many transparent layers. Thus, when you paint- try to emulate this technique. I got great results with a rough brush (not an airbrush) by using super-thin layers (opacity 5-13%)
- highlights look chalky and amatuer when you use only white (unless you're an accomplished Venetian painter from the Renaissance). Instead use a tint (color+white) of a complementary color. Example: use a light pale blue highlight over warm peachy skin.
Here, I found out that I could not simply eyedropper from different parts of the original source to recreate the skin. I had to layer and layer and layer to get the desired color and richness.
How I did this: eyedropper mid-tone and fill in face. layer a slightly more saturated skin tone, layer a complementary tint to lighten up areas. Continue this back-and-forth until you reach the darkest darks and lightest lights on the face.
- highlights don't need to be as light as you think. There are only one or two places where you should use a very very light highlight. the rest need only be a shade or so lighter than the surrounding area.
- If you don't know this already- there are many colors in skin- so don't only use pink and peach!
- have both cool and warm tones in the skin; usually one for shadows and one for light areas.
- learn restraint, and let the viewer's eye do some of the work for you.