Incredible Watercolor Portraits

When it comes to watercolor paintings, watercolor portraits have to be my ultimate favourite subject!

Capturing the essence of a person through splashes of colour, light, and detail, takes a special kind of artistry and eye for realism.

I’ve gathered 20 super stunning watercolour portraits from amazing artists around the world, and compiled them here for your viewing pleasure! May you draw some inspiration from these ideas and subjects and apply these techniques to your next painting!

Colourful Portrait with Splotches


The use of vibrant colours in this one is stunning! Keeping with the watercolour vibe, I love how this artist incorporated splotches and splatters throughout the piece for that super wet wash effect.

Full Body Portrait


Light and shadows add drama to this piece which resembles a photograph. This artist did an amazing job capturing the daylight with super bright highlights and bold, dark shadows.

It’s All in the Face


I’m always drawn to portraits that mix painterly strokes with highly rendered details, like the face on this man. Your eye is drawn to the highlighted realistic facial features while the surrounding elements seem very rough and undefined. The perfect balance of paint techniques!

Dry Brush Details


The rough texture of this piece mixed with the wet washes is a lovely way to incorporate interest into a painting. Once again, the highlights are spot-on and help to smooth and add depth to the face.

Wet into Wet Portrait

The muted tones of this piece are so beautiful, along with the splashes of wet into wet details, like blooms in the hair and a background that bleeds colours together.

Greyscale Portrait

A magical piece that uses dark greys and blacks by this super talented artist. The face of this woman seemingly emerges from a rough background and blends perfectly into the surrounding area.. Like she’s just come from the clouds!

Abstract and Colourful


Sometimes portraits don’t have to be all about the fine details! This more abstract piece uses bold colours and brushstrokes to build layers of a composition. Definitely a technique that would be fun to try!

Realistic Full Page Portrait


Filling the frame (or paper!) makes for a beautiful close-up composition and allows for more detail to shine through! This artist uses blue-tones for lighting and shadows which really help to capture the realism!

Cosmic Beings


This artist has been a favourite of mine for a while now. The uniqueness of his pieces is what I am drawn to and the colours he uses work so well together. Using a simple colour palette and negative space, he is able to clearly define details and depth.

Splashes Everywhere


This gorgeous painting uses bright saturated colours like yellows and purples and a whole lot of splashes to make it come to life!

Blooming Perfection


This is quite possibly my favourite use of wet blooming that I have seen! The hair and outfit are created using this effect and it totally makes the composition unique.

Quick Sketches

This painting resembles somewhat of a sketch that has been painted, with quick hair strokes and dry brushstrokes on plain white paper.

Only the Details


A pencil sketch creates the base of this watercolour portrait which is then “filled in” with watercolour washes, details, and layers. I really like the mix of initial sketch and rendered painting.

Illustrated Portraits


The style of this portrait give me somewhat of an illustrated vibe with layered strokes and light outlines. It’s a great example of painting a portrait from a side angle where the subject isn’t looking straight at the viewer.

A Kaleidoscope of Colour


Detailed watercolor portraits mixed with “messy” poured paint or splotches seems to be key here in creating an eye-catching watercolor masterpiece. It’s a great combination of finished/unfinished perfection.

Lines and Layers


This piece starts with a quick sketch to set up the proportions and overall outline and is then finished with fast brush strokes and wet blends of colours, for a final painting that shines!

Realism Watercolour Portrait


I could have sworn this was a photograph when I scrolled past it, but indeed, this artist has a knack for perfectly depicting moments in time with her paintbrush.

Something Out Of Nothing


These two faces seem to emerge from the paper through splashes of paint and textured strokes that fill the whitespace so beautifully. Concentrating detail on the female’s face helps her stand out as the main character, too!

Soft Portrait Painting


Finally, this portrait is simply beautiful with the soft background and the way the colors blend together seamlessly. Can you imagine having a painting this lovely of your own children? Perfection!

By Dana

Besides being a wife and mama, I'm an entrepreneur, artist and author of the Watercolor With Me book series. I'm from Ontario, Canada and founder of the brand Wonder Forest. I'm here to help you on your watercolour journey!


  1. These are all such beautiful, inspirational paintings. I am not a portrait artist but they certainly made me itch to get out my watercolours

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *