How do you Watercolor a Kid ? | Step by Step Process

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This guide is a step by step process of painting a kid portrait.

Brushes and equipment


  • Number 6 round sable
  • Number 14 round sable
  • 5-inch flat sable
  • 1/2-inch flat sable

Watercolor paint : burnt umber, red, blue, yellow, burnt sienna

Paper: Arches Cold Press 140 lb


Drawing and first wash

A child is charming, innocent, and gentle. Here is an example of how I would go about painting a youngster in watercolour.

 I typically begin a portrait painting with a strong pencil sketch. I organise the perspective, relationships, proportion and balance, size and distance during this stage of composition planning. Take your time here; a good drawing serves as a solid foundation for a painting and can boost your confidence.

 I began washing the face with a number 14 round brush at the top of the forehead and worked my way down. For this painting, this base wash helped me build a gentle, well-balanced colour foundation. You'll see that I left several areas unattended. They served as the teeth and eyes. Then I applied a wash of brunt umber as the second layer of colour to define the face's shadow.


Painting the Hair

I began painting the face again from the top with burned sienna once it had mostly dried, and then I added more burnt umber for the hair on the forehead. I continued to use the same round brush, number 14.


Shaping the Face

I began defining the outlines of the head with burned umber and crimson once the sections of the head had dried.

I was not in a rush to paint the lips and eyes just yet. Keep in mind that the importance of the relationship must take precedence over the specifics of the photograph.

After that, I washed yellow into the shirt's area. To define the shadows, I used a small amount of yellow with burnt umber and blue.


Add Dark Colours

To further define the figures at this stage, I like to add darker-value colours to the painting. I started with the hair before moving on to the eyes and mouth corners. For the areas around the mouth and nose, I combined red and burnt umber. Additionally, now was an excellent moment to work on enhancing the garment's details.

I added a little yellow hue as the reflection of the yellow shirt and softly raised the reflective area around the chin.



I primarily used red and burned umber as my centre tones. I didn't spend a lot of time working in one place. Most of the time, I take 10 seconds here and 10 seconds there. As you work into the smaller parts, it's crucial to maintain your focus on the entire painting and pay close attention to the colour temperature and balance.

 Finally, the time has come to add the finishing touches to the mouth, ear, and eye areas.

 I applied a light wash of blue and burnt umber on the left side of the background without blending them. I used yellow, burnt umber, and a touch of blue on the right side. As a result, the background of the portrait painting would accentuate the main subject.

Check out our blog -  How much Does a Portrait Painting Cost?