Review: Portraits with Watercolor by Matt Rota (Craftsy)

Portraits with Watercolor is the other instructional video on Craftsy that features Matt Rota. The other video tutorial is Mixed Media: Pen, Ink & Watercolor which I've also reviewed recently.

In Portraits with Watercolor, Matt Rota goes through the process of painting a portrait from start to finish.

Here's the list of chapters in the video:

  • Meet Matt Rota (12 min)
  • Papers, Brushes & Colors (33 min)
  • Washes (32 min)
  • Creating a Tonal Study (44 min)
  • Beginning the Portrait (50 min)
  • Adding Color (41 min)
  • Dense Colors & Details (1 hr 7 min)
  • Details & Touch Ups (2 hr 7 min)
  • Bonus: Mixing Neutrals & Primary Colors (12 min)

That's almost 7 hours of instructional video. It's quite lengthy but it's also very thorough and covers a lot of information and techniques.

The tutorial starts out with an introduction to the materials and moves on to demonstrate basic washes.

Before starting the portrait, there's a section on creating a tonal study. That's really helpful for beginners to understand the form of the subject you're about to draw.

The next few lessons go into the actual drawing of the portrait. It starts out with basically mapping out the shape of the head and getting all the features and proportion correct. That particular chapter on getting the proportion right is really useful. It's basically a technique to drawing a portrait that's recognisable. Very important. The whole lesson was spent explaining the how and why each stroke was drawn where they are.

Matt Rota's actual process of painting a portrait involves using a lot of watercolour layers. That's one reason why the lessons are so long. But through the lengthy demonstrations, he also explains how to pick up the colours required by looking at your subjects, how to mix those colours, the techniques to use to create hard and soft edges so that the shadows blend nicely, and how to bring out the features on the face. It's just amazing to watch the painting slowly come to life with each successive layer.

This is the completed watercolour portrait by Matt Rota, and it's also one that you'll be replicating in the course.

This course is extremely insightful. There's almost commentary throughout. And if you have questions, you can ask them directly onto the Craftsy video page and get a response. You can also submit your portrait for critique or check out other student's submission and learn from one another.

This is a splendid course for those who want to use watercolour style to render a portrait.

For the price of the course, you get almost 7 hours of content. It's a fantastic deal.

Enroll for Portraits with Watercolor or check out more student reviews on Craftsy.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Craftsy for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.