Leonardo’s da Vinci’s portraits are beautiful.
Something about his unfinished sketches draws the viewer’s eye to the glorious shading and luminescence of these faces.
We used an extract picture from “The Virgin of the Rock” (because it was on the font cover of my Leonardo art appreciation book – just using what we have )
I made a simple outline drawing ~
Free download ~ Leonardo da Vinci portrait
We all started our own “incomplete version” of a Leonardo portrait.
- Cover the entire page with orange, yellows and browns and ‘fist it in’ or blend it well.
- Do all the hair with dark browns and even black areas and cover the areas around her face with dark browns and blacks.
- Add shadows to the face – under the chin, the neck folds, the lower cheek, the creases in the eyes, the bags under the eyes, the nose and lips – and blend lightly.
- Then add skin color or light beige or cream for highlights and blend slightly.
- Now it is time for details – dark, dark brown or black on the upper eyelid and the pupil of the eyes and the nostril.
- Add shading to the eyelids, the nose and the lips.
- Emphasize what is really dark and those areas that are light.
- Add light yellow swirls to the hair.
- Maybe add some white to her collar.
There were moments of frustration … add in “wanting to give up” … when fuzzy pictures were difficult to ‘pull out’. We also all struggled for a moment when the picture was ‘almost done’ and it became fuzzy again and we ‘lost it’. (It is best not to “over-work” this type of pastel art.)
It is phenomenally difficult to capture the pristine beauty and luminescence of the original … but we all felt quite happy about our efforts.
A spritz of fixative and our portraits were done.