Drybrush Portraits – Oil on Watercolor paper

In this project, I tried to make realistic portraits in black and white. Painting is somewhat uneasy especially for a self-taught artist like myself. I always wanted to try and paint realistic, but I always procrastinate. My drawing abilities were also quite limited. That morning I woke up and I just started to draw.

I saw some painters online using this technique and I was instantly amazed by the way their artwork looked like. Also, I didn’t need some expensive materials to start with. Since there wasn’t much to choose from, I tried to use as few materials as possible. I already had some oil paint and some flat brushes to start with. Even with the first strokes, it looked pretty good so I kept going…

I used regular black oil color and some plain brushes on watercolor paper. I tried different weights and textures to figure out what works best for me.
First I do a sketch with some softer graphite pencil, like B6 or B5. This is a rough outline sketch, but it should be as precise as possible.
Then I put a small amount of oil paint and spread it wide on a palette to make a thin layer. With my brush, I take a small amount of it. The brush should then be wiped with a tissue to remove all the extra paint until it becomes almost dry. Then I start to gently shade in and add more black as I draw.

One of my acquaintances suggested that I should make an online fan page with my work, but I was pretty shy since I just made my first drawing. People mostly liked my work and I even commissioned to do some work for them. I learned to trust in my abilities to create and never to give up your dreams.

Ivan Milosavljevic