Paint from Photos

Ever wonder how to paint from photos?  It's different for everyone.  If you're schooled in drawing then you simply draw what you see and then paint it.

I like to draw but I haven't applied myself to become really good at it.  And like everything else, to become really good at something you have to practice, practice, practice.

So here's my own personal process...

First I print the photo in color on 8-1/2" by 11" sheet of paper.  I want to see the details.  Here I'm using the photo shown above.

Then I print it out in black and white.

I slip the black and white image into a plastic sheet protector.


From there I use a permanent fine tip marker, like a Sharpie and I outline the main elements.

Sometimes I leave out some details.  In this case I decided to take the bug out and to do without the three Hollyhock buds.  It's just an example of how you can manipulate what you want to paint.  Taking artistic license is our prerogative!

So now I have a basic line drawing which I will either reduce or enlarge depending on the surface I want to paint it on.

As I work through the painting I figure out the shading and highlighting.  I always keep the color image close by for reference.  However I often stray from the colors I see to colors I'm more inspired by.

While I work I keep meticulous notes.  That's because I never know when a painting may become a pattern packet!

So there you have it.  That's my secret to how to paint from a photo!  I do hope you'll try it for yourself.  It can be challenging but it's so rewarding.

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How to Paint Trees

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