This post will share an excellent step-by-step palette knife portrait painting tutorial from artist Sergey Gusey. I highly recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel here, as he has fantastic instructional content.
One thing that needs explaining before you read further: While you can paint with a palette knife, and many artists do, a palette knife is made to mix paint on a palette, while a painting knife is specially made for painting.
Painting knives come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are cheaply made with plastic, while others are made of metal. The metal knives have more spring and are more robust, while the plastic knives have very little spring and are prone to breakage.
Many artists find the prospect of knife painting quite intimidating and strange at first, and rightly so. It is quite different from painting with a brush. Artists aren’t used to the loss of precise control. But this all comes with practice and letting go of the constant need to be so exact and detailed with portrait painting. Remember, this is a painting, not a photograph.
Additional Tips and Insights:
- Embrace knife painting’s unique texture and layering for standout bold strokes.
- Experiment with different knives to vary your art from broad strokes to fine details.
- Use palette knives for effective color blending, creating vibrant palettes and realistic skin tones.
- Layer paint with knife painting for a three-dimensional effect, enhancing depth and realism.
- Adopt a new mindset with less control and more expression in this style.
- Develop comfort with knife painting over time through regular practice.
- Clean knives after each use to prevent color mix-ups and extend their lifespan.
Apply these tips to your palette knife practice to infuse new dynamics into your portraits.
PALETTE KNIFE PORTRAIT PAINTING. Russian art with MFA Sergey Gusev.
I hope you found this Palette Knife Portrait Painting Tutorial helpful. Find more portrait painting demonstrations on our site here.