Asian Face Painting

Week of June 29No-3-1-web

I spent several hours last Saturday afternoon in an Art Students League studio that grew hotter by the minute. Not wanting to dive into another involved end product I experimented by painting various Asian faces at slightly different angles, with the help of Charles Reid. I selected Asians to stick with the theme my week had begun in, and I have always been fascinated by their many differing characteristics. Several nights before I had indulged in Korean food for the first time with a group of friends at Seoul Korean BBQ in Aurora. My happy taste buds and the presence of so many Koreans dining alongside us were proof of the quality of the restaurant’s fare.

Q: Who is Charles Reid?

A: Charles Reid is a watercolor painter and author of several “how to” books. For more information please visit

After witnessing my struggle during May’s “Dark Value Boot Camp,” a fellow classmate recommended Reid’s books as great resources for face painting. In Watercolor Solutions from the Denver Public Library, Reid demonstrates how to sketch accurate proportions of facial features from different angles. He also stresses that well-drawn, expressive eyes are the most important feature. An eye’s iris is not a marble, nostrils are not dark holes, and mouths are not linear shapes with “colored in” lips. These tips are not new to me and I simply try to minimize the marbles and holes during each attempt.

I may as well have left this watercolorist’s book and representational ideas at the door since my four faces look like cartoon characters more than anything! At least they resemble faces and are relatively proportionate which means I must be getting the hang of it.


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