Watercolor Portrait Painting

a watercolor portrait of a couple, seated on a couch, reading a book

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Painting Portraits in Watercolor

Painting portraits in watercolor is ambitious. Figurative watercolors are some of my favorite subjects to paint, but they’re never easy (for me). Here is a post of useful watercolor portrait artist-links, tutorial videos, and tip articles to tuck into the coffers of your Painting Inspiration Cupboard.

Nap in the Park – Watercolor study on paper

Fantasy Watercolor Portraits

Here is a 12-minute watercolor portrait painting demo by Australian watercolor painter Hieu Nguwen – known on social media as kelogsloops. If you appreciate a bit of fantasy in your art, or using metallic pigments, you’ll enjoy his work.

portrait of a woman reading in the sun painted in watercolor
Red Pillow – Watercolor on Paper

Portraits in Watercolor and Colored Pencil

Lioba Bruckner paints a realistic watercolor portrait using both wet watercolor pigments, and dry colored pencil. Her process is narrated, and she gives some great tips about painting lips and teeth, as well as using lots of colored layers to create natural-looking skin tone.

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Glazing Watercolor for Portraits

YouTube artist Cha Yeon demos a complete watercolor portrait in this video, with captions to relay color choices. The interesting thing is his underpainting of the face, done entirely in shades of green and blue, before warming the pigments to resemble skin tone. The other lesson in this 25-minute video is the level of transparency and the abundance of layering. This is an excellent demonstration to encourage *slowing down*, and the effectiveness of glazing in watercolor.

Adventurous Heart 2.75 x 2.75 inch watercolor portrait

Watercolor Portrait Series

Stan Miller is a popular instructor on YouTube, and he uses a nice big flat brush to paint a bold watercolor portrait in this video demo.

Bunk Bed 8×10 inch Watercolor on Gesso Board

Whimsical Watercolor Portraits

Chris Hong is a talented and generous illustrator with a whimsical watercolor portrait painting style. Her work is very recognizable, and I follow her on YouTube and Facebook. She posted a 30 minute demo video of a watercolor portrait here.

March Morning Watercolor on Paper

Watercolor Portrait Playlist

Steve Mitchell is a professional designer/illustrator who started a watercolor based youtube channel called The Mind of Watercolor.  His watercolor and drawing demos are clear and encouraging. He covers subjects like how to sharpen art pencils, applying washes, and painting portraits in watercolor. All good stuff. Visit his playlist of watercolor portraits to get inspired.

A.J. Watercolor sketch on paper

Painting Skin Tones

Kirsty Partridge writes ten tips for painting watercolor portraits, including which parts to paint first, preserving your highlights and working wet-into-wet, etc. Read the watercolor portrait tips here.

Adolescence 5×7 inch watercolor on paper

Oil Painting Portraits

Do you know the work of Alpay Efe? In this oil painting portrait video demonstration, he reviews five things he wished he knew as a beginner artist.

Lull 10×7 inch watercolor portrait
November – 6×6 inch Watercolor Portrait

Inspiration from Other Artists

If you have a favorite art-related youtube channel, please share a link in the comments so we can check it out. And if you enjoy the links to artists and resources I scatter here and there on this blog, let me know, and I’ll keep scattering.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. Joanna Barnum demos a brightly colored watercolor portrait for Daniel Smith in this article.

Art Quote

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert Anson Heinlein
a watercolor painting portrait of a young girl looking directly at the viewer
Independence Day 5.5 x 9 inch watercolor portrait on paper
Petite ceramic watercolor rinse cup to beautify an art table

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9 thoughts on “Watercolor Portrait Painting”

  1. Belinda,

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read one of your blogs. This is amazing, and will take a second, third, and fourth reading and perhaps a day to hit all of the links. Your paintings are so beautiful.


  2. Belinda,

    I love how you capture so many beautiful, unguarded moments in your watercolor portraits. In an era of social media when so many people feel pressured to look polished, your work shows a genuineness in your subjects that is so refreshing. Thank you for sharing your lovely work!

    1. Hi Liz, What a very kind compliment. Thank you so much. I’ll use your words as fuel to keep painting through all the weirdness of this strange time we’re all navigating.

  3. Janet M Catmull

    Lovely portraits, Belinda. you are such a talented and generous artist and person! ❤

  4. Hi JMC, yes, we do this all the time #sisters and I love it! Thanks so much for the link; I’d never seen his work before, and I’ve now subscribed, and I’m having a lovely time, with popcorn, watching him work. The video you sent was awesome. What an inspiring treat! xoxo

  5. Hi Bobbi, Thanks for the encouragement, and YES, I love Graham Berry’s videos! I just discovered him, and subscribed last week. His people in bright sunlight are wonderful!

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