How to Capture their Spirit in Watercolours!
Painting children may not be the easiest task for any artist. For instance, trying to capture the beauty and the innocence of any child as they play energetically is going to be fraught with difficulties. When painting children, sometimes you have to be smart and take as many photographs as possible in a variety of different scenarios in the hopes that there will be one or two photos that really stand out. If they are your own children, then you will have a lot more time to be able to capture those special pictures but if you have been commissioned, then time is of the essence. Painting children may pose some additional problems to you as an artist, but the outcome is well worth it.
Firstly, assuming you have been able to take some good quality photos, it is still worth you spending some time with the children to make a few good sketches. The beauty of taking a sketchbook with you is so that you can also capture key characteristics. Never consider sketching to be a waste of time as not only can they be beautiful pictures worth framing in their own right and it can also help to warm up your drawing skills prior to commencing the actual project. When painting children having plenty of pictures to fall back on is an added bonus.
Having taken plenty of pictures and sketches, the time will come to plan the composition of the painting. If you are planning a formal picture, then it would be useful to have an exact picture to copy form as this then becomes a portrait, however, if you prefer an informal representation of the children, then this is where your planning comes in.
When painting children, it is vital that you try to capture the essence of each child and to do this; you need to be able to capture an accurate likeness. This process will test your ability to be able to draw accurately. Ideally, you can also focus on some key characteristics for each child such as: Messy hair, freckles, missing tooth. These factors will all help you to be able to capture a sufficient likeness.
Painting children will be a challenge even once the drawing has commenced. As an artist you need to be aware of skin tones and how to draw their clothes for example, children also grow at different rates and can look ungainly until their bodies start to grow in proportion. Whilst this all adds to the fun, it is important that you consider all of the facts prior to even mixing the paints.
When it comes to actual painting, take time to ensure correct skin colours are mixed and that you feel confident with applying this to your painting. Watercolours are very versatile but because they are translucent, you will be unable to cover up mistakes readily, so take time when painting children to avoid making mistakes.