My blog posts are a great place to learn some of my invaluable #hints and #tips for #painting.
Often the information I share will relate to any medium. If you would like to learn how to #paint life-like #hair – read on!

In this example I am using #watercolor – but many of the observations, hints and tips will relate to any medium.

As I am so often asked how to paint #realistic #hair, it is my pleasure to post some hints and tips here to help you with your #paintings of beautiful hair:


Hair is more appealing if it looks soft – as opposed to stringy.

If you want soft #blurred edges you need to lay your #colours into #damp #watercolorpaper.

To establish the ‘landmarks’ (that will help you determine where you are within the maze of #tonalvalues and colors of hair) – lay in your darker colours first. Be sure to keep your dark colours from flowing into your lightest areas. Remember to Keep your lines soft.

Ensure your light areas remain light.

Here are some #tips on how to keep your lines soft:

Begin by wetting a strip of paper.
Let the water soak in until the sheen has just gone.
Now lay in a fine line (or larger area) of your hair the colour you want to use.

Pick up your #color on your brush and drop the color into the wet area.
Drop the color into the darkest area first and let the paint flow.
If the paint spreads too far – then you know you have too much water either on your paper, your brush or in your paint mix.

If the paint leaves a hard line – then you know you need a little more water on your paper.

Hint: Remember: The more water you have on your paper, brush and/or palette – the further your paint will flow.
Conversely: the less water you have on your paper, #brush or #palette will ensure your paint stays closer to where you drop it onto the wet paper.

The best way to become familiar with this is to have a trial run. Practice a small section at a time.

Choose a section of hair for your practice piece: Block off a section of hair – a long strip. Concentrate on one section at a time otherwise it can seem like a maze. By narrowing down the area – you will find it will be a fun exercise to do.

Above you will find a close up look at hair from my watercolor painting ‘All Aboard’. You will notice the strands have blurred edges and you will also notice the colors often tend to be in blocks of color. Establish these blocks of color and you will have a map of where you are going.

Below you will find a detail of my painting ‘Awakening’. This is another example of painting hair


See how the #strands are #soft-edged and the colours vary from one part of the strand to the other as they come in and out of the influence of the #daylight and #shadows.

Look closely at the little boy’s hair in the detail of my painting ‘All Aboard’.
Look at the strands on the side of his face.
Can you see the different colours I have used as the waves weave in and out of the light? See the yellow, the dark, the light.

All of these observations will help you create beautiful #realistic soft hair that the viewers of your work will want to reach into your #painting and touch!

Observation is the key to the success of painting hair, #portrait and #figurative work.

If you keep your edges soft – the hair will look soft and flowing. If the edges and hair color is painted in precise ribbons of hard edged color – the hair will look stiff and unnatural as well as a little oily or sea washed. There are compositions where each of these scenarios are appropriate.

There are so many invaluable #hintsandtips to share. Of course a blog post is not the ideal place to teach all I know about painting #portraits.

Seeing me paint in action is the very best way to learn of course. My international #watercolorworkshops are rare and the places are always taken very quickly.
The next best way to learn all I know about painting is through my fun and easy to follow DVDs and Downloads. These are created for all skill levels.


Due to numerous requests, I created my #Susan Harrison-Tustain Portrait Workshop #DVD and #Download


What you will find in my portrait DVD and #Download:
• Over 3 hours of easy to understand #artteaching and #artlessons
• Invaluable hints and tips
• In-depth information for artists of all skill levels
• My #colorpalette and special color mixes for hair and luminous #skincolors
• My methods and techniques that can be used for any subject matter
• Layering that will allow your paintings to glow with clean, #transparent, beautiful color
• All the hints and tips that will help you create beautiful portraits, #skin, hair, #mouth, #lips,#teeth, #nose, #ears, #jewellery, #eyes that connect with the viewer and so much more
• I teach how to avoid ‘the traps for young players’
• and so much more

Click here for a free preview:

I look forward to helping you to create beautiful portraits and #figurative paintings!

Have fun!

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