How to Paint People II is a followup blog post and video tutorial from one of my most popular posts. From November of 2013 is the original blog post called How to Paint People and you can read it by following this link: For most people (including myself) painting people is intimidating. I’ve told myself for years “I can’t paint people”. Eventually I wanted to add figures to my paintings and I started painting people.



Paint Supplies

Materials used in the video are basic brushes and paints. I do use a variety of colors from my palette but the basic colors are:

Paint Colors

  • raw sienna
  • permanent rose
  • manganese blue
  • cadmium red or winsor red
  • ultramarine blue

Paint Brushes

  • Round #8 sable
  • Flat 1 inch

Watercolor Paper

I like a cold-press finish and I usually paint on Arches. This particular painting was a Lanaquarelle paper and like Arches is also from France.

Watch the video to see how I create gesture and movement in the figures. One important tip is to hold your brush lightly and closer to the end away from the bristles.

how to paint figures in watercolor by PJ Cook


Here is another quick watercolor with 2 people walking together. Notice how their legs are showing a walking motion. This small 5×7 inch painting is on a rough finish paper and it has more texture.


learn how to paint people video tutorial


Practice painting figures on the back of old paintings. There is less pressure to come up with a great watercolor if you are not using a more expensive, pristine piece of watercolor paper. Ask any questions you may have regarding this post or video and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for the latest news.
How to paint people watercolor tutorial