Oil and acrylic paintings and illustrations, both traditional art and children’s book illustration by Kayleen West

Final stage in the child's oil portrait tutorial. "A Child's Prayer."
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Child’s oil portrait tutorial in 7 steps

Portrait tutorial in seven steps - oil painting.

Portrait tutorial in seven steps – oil painting.

I am in the habit of taking progress photos of my work often and have a lot I could share on my blog. It is time to bring it all out to share inside of hiding away in my computer. This is portrait of a little boy I met in India late 2009. He was so adorable in his new church suit. I appropriately named this painting A Child’s Prayer.

First stage in the child's portrait - blocking in base shapes.

First stage in the child’s portrait – blocking in base shapes.

Stage 1: I began blocking in shapes. I squint to block out details and focus on the big shapes. This also helps when judging tones. Keeping my colours simple I began to create a form. At this stage I am looking for an approximate shape and not accuracy or likeness.

Stage 2 - child's oil portrait tutorial

Stage 2 – child’s oil portrait tutorial

Stage 2: I began to make more accurate strokes on the face and hands. Much time is spent pushing and pulling these features into shape. Portraits are challenging. Never stress over the likeness at the early stage. Simply look closer, at the abstract shapes, judging angles and proportions of each one. The face comes together more easily if seen as parts rather than a whole.

Stage 3 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 3 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 3: I worked the face more. As the face developed I needed to work the background. This ensures I get a nice soft edge and the portrait doesn’t look cut out. In my reference there were people in the background so this one is entirely invented. I used a soft green grey to contrast against the beautiful skin of the little boy.

Stage 4 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 4 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 4: Now it is time to move into the clothing, adding a little more blue and focusing on the folds – not every one of them, only enough to tell the story.

Stage 5 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 5 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 5: I have avoided the hands and feet long enough. Foreshortened body parts are the biggest challenge! It is time to be brave so in I go, again breaking down the shapes so the simplicity paints the impression for me.

Stage 6 - child's oil portrait tutorial - details in the clothing

Stage 6 – child’s oil portrait tutorial – details in the clothing

Stage 6: In this stage I work the whole painting, fine-tuning all over until I am happy with the shapes and tones.

Final stage in the child's oil portrait tutorial. "A Child's Prayer."

Final stage in the child’s oil portrait tutorial. “A Child’s Prayer.”

Stage 7: More colour is added. I work the background again and the clothing until I have the look I am after. In any portrait I work all areas several times until I get the result I am after. Sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes it is pain painstakingly drawn out. This one flowed well. I had a love for the subject and I think it shows – I hope so anyway.
Sorry about the glare from the light on the painting.

Download free oil painting tutorial – A Child’s Prayer

Inside title page from the children's picture book: Without Me
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Celebrating the Finals

I am not talking sport of any kind; I am talking final illustrations, packaged and sent off to the publisher with a big sigh of satisfaction. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see the final illustration finished and the book come together.

It has been really enjoyable working for the first time with Wombat Books on Without Me. I feel I gained a friend rather than a publisher. Rochelle (my publisher) gave me incredible creative freedom.

We worked united in a flexible and often comical relationship. We got a great end product as a result – something we can celebrate together! I would love my new book to succeed for her just as much as for the children that will enjoy the story.

I am not sure how you feel about working relationships, but I consider them as important as the work itself.

 

Children's book illustration: Picture book, Without Me? Publisher: Wombat Books
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New Picture Book about Belonging

I hold my breath as I change over my blog and hope my subscribers get this post. I have great news to share.

I have officially been signed up with Even Before Publishing to Illustrate a new book for next year called Ultimate Superhero. This picture book is written by Belinda Francis and I will be beginning work on this book soon.

Right now I am finishing the final pages for my new book Without Me. I am very excited to be working with Wombat Books and have the journey thus far very enjoyable. My publisher has become my friend and has given me great creative freedom which in my opinion will produce a better book. I have been able to feel my way and had the option to alter and mold the book into something special. I am loving the little painted faces on the family in the book and especially the pet dog.

 

 

Children's Illustration: They always loved cricket - oil
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Childrens Illustration: Children Playing Cricket

Children's Picture Book Illustration: Adoptive Father
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Children’s Picture Book Illustration: Adoptive Father

Children’s Picture Book Illustration: Adoptive Father

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Oil Illustration: Promise Land

Oil Illustration: Promise Land

Oil Illustration: Promise Land

Animal Portraits - Dog Portrait In Oil - Commission of a Spoodle portrait

Animal Portraits – Dog Portrait In Oil

Dog Portriat Commission

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Up Close – Adoptiver Father Book Illustration

Children's Book Illustration - Adoptive father - God

Children’s Book Illustration