A Mixed-Media Portrait That Emanates Pure Joy

I read an article recently that said those who often see faces in inanimate objects are slightly “off.” Thankfully, I take pride in going against the grain, so I rejoiced in the fact that I actually enjoy looking for patterns that resemble faces. I find even the random placement of three shapes (two for the eyes and one for the mouth) interesting.

Mixed-media faces and portraits can be as abstract as those contrived by our minds, or they can be realistic, complete with contoured cheekbones, full lips, and deep eyes. The new magazine from Cloth Paper Scissors, Faces: Creating Mixed-Media Portraits, features techniques and projects that encompass a range of styles, including intricately doodled faces and guides for using perspective and proportion for successful portrait drawing. Scroll down to read how Karin Winter created portions of her stitched mixed-media portrait: Girl With Blue Arms.

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Girl With Blue Arms (fabric, mixed-media) by Karin Winter simply emanates joy.

Mixed-Media Portrait: An Excerpt From “Girl With Blue Arms” by Karin Winter

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“My drawing secret: observation and sketching quickly,”
says MG Stout (mgstout.com), featured in Faces

1. Layering is important in creating the hair. I started with dark thread, but refrained from using black because it’s too harsh. I then added lighter thread layers with both hand and machine stitching. I also added wool hair from a doll after cutting and fraying it. I laid the cut wool on top of the stitching and stitched it in place by machine.

2. Take a good look at the face in your photo. I pulled up the photo on my computer and zoomed in on the eyes to see details and lines. I stitched the lines I could see on the print, and added other lines that were more visible on the computer screen. I did the same for the nose and lips.

3. Use fabric to define the areas of the face and the parts of the body that are highlighted. To match my daughter’s skin tone I used different shades of white fabric layered with pink tulle and sheers, and then stitched them in place with beige thread.

Bonus tip: Hand embroidery and machine stitching may distort your portrait or make creases and bubbles. If this happens, use a thin piece of lightweight chipboard, cut to size, and place it under the fabric behind the face. Pull the fabric as tight as possible, and stitch the chipboard in place by machine. This should keep the work nice and flat.~ Karin Winter

Read the full article in the new magazine, Faces. In addition to learning how to create a mixed-media portrait like those featured here, you’ll also discover techniques for working with skin tone palettes, drawing expressions, and creating 15 projects that celebrate a variety of styles from some of your favorite artists.

Drawn to faces,
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Blog, Collage, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques

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