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question about mark's teaching method and portraits

Mark says that students of his method should paint 10 complicated or 20 simple still lifes. And I know he thinks it's good to learn to paint from life. I'm brand new at all of this and eager to begin! But what I really want to paint is portraits. So I'm wondering, if I really want to follow Mark's method to the letter, should I still paint the 10/20 still lifes first before turning to portraits? I will if that's what Mark believes is the best way to learn to paint. But I'm wondering if I can substitute some of those first 10/20 paintings with portraits.

I've also noticed that there's not much on the website on how to paint portraits from life. Does anyone paint portraits entirely from life, without using photos at all? Do I need to buy the $100 video to learn more about portrait painting specifically, or have I missed something that's free on the site?


  • I agree, and well said, @PaulB:)  
  • Thank you. Yes, I want to use the process exactly, and I understand I should begin with still life, but I wasn't sure when/where it was appropriate to try a portrait. Thanks again.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited August 2018
    Welcome and good luck. Best advice is to go slow and follow the method exactly. What you learn painting still-lifes easily transfers to portraits later on. 
  • Painting from a live model requires a lot of time from the model.
  • Portraits are very hard. I would say don't make yourself crazy. Try a portrait or two. Just don't let it distract you from your main studying and more importantly don't get discouraged because it may be really bad.
  • CJDCJD -
    edited August 2018
    I did a portrait for my 5th DMP and it turned out quite well I'm still happy with it. If you follow the method and take your time mixing and checking values then a few still lifes will be all you need to do before trying a portrait.

    Make sure you follow the course on the dmp site.. Dont just rely on the videos. The step by step guide is key

    There was a forum portrait challenge a year ago.. Find that thread and you'll see what kind of portraits the DMP method can lead you to paint.
  • Copied from the portrait challenge Some of these were their first portrait attempts and some with less than a year painting...

  • I say stick to the DMP method like Mark said..I didn't and I am currently struggling with my technique.. I also advise to do a lot of drawing about figure drawing..needlesss to say the more u understand anatomy the more you  can paint well. One advise is to all the time have in mind where the light is hitting and where is going is not necessary with DMP because you just paint what u see but some times when u need to make a brushstrokes it is helpfull. Paint just what u see is the best advise ever, sometimes we over think about what is a face and what is an object but in reconstructing an image from a source there is really no difference.. bit and here I think there is the main problem slight change of measure in a face is always more noticeable compares to an object simply because we a have a brain very sensitive to it. There is a Mark lesson also about this and how to take point in making a believable portraits. Last but not least love what u paint..u will see a good still life is better than a bad or hurried portrait so do not think u will not enjoy by painting an object..if u will succeed, and with DMP you will..You will love painting almost everything. Sorry for the verbouseness. Rob
  • Thank you all so much! The portrait contest was incredibly inspiring. ;-)

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