I found a wonderful watercolourist on Youtube (“Watercolor by Shibasaki”) – it’s all in Japanese but many of the videos have subtitles, you just have to enable them: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPiQ_mEXdEbB-3Yhiq7gq5w
I watched his video about why you should paint with large brushes, not small ones (I’ve always used small brushes to get into details). I was inspired to pull out the large brushes I had (Rosemary Shiraz 12,8,4) and give it a try on one of my 4×6″ portraits.
To really ramp up the challenge, I also decided to do no drawing first, or afterwards. So this is 100% watercolour (except for white gel pen dots for the eye highlights), which is really unusual for me, but I was feeling bold!
I was expecting a huge, unrecognisable mess, but to my great surprise, I love the end result. It’s more impressionistic (because it was much harder to fuss over details) and it’s a better likeness than I often get with drawing first!
The reference photo is Josaleigh Powers from Sktchy. I’m eternally grateful to everyone at Sktchy, from the staff to the contributors, for such a wonderful app and endless supply of inspiration!