Erm, hi. >.> Let's just skip the whole "Sorry I've been gone" thing, because we all know I'll pull that stunt enough times for you to be tired of it. I'm here, there's a new entry, there's pictures. Let's rejoice, or something.
Painting a portrait in watercolour:
(Step by step process, as done by an acute amateur:)
This is what I use to paint; an assortment of watercolours, mostly Van Gogh, Derwent watercolour pencils for sketching and lines, markers for the colours I don't have, some paper to wipe my brushes on, and the cheapest possible synthetic brushes you can find.
I sketch out the picture with Derwent watercolour pencil - Prussian Blue this time, because the painting is going to be mainly blue. I try to sketch lightly, but since the pencil is water-soluble anyway, it doesn't really matter much.
Using pretty much only water, I paint over the lines, using the smudging pencil to mark out where my shadows will be; if need be, I add a bit more blue. I paint the shadows in blue because, again, the picture is going to be mainly blue. I keep the shadows light; it's just a sort of underpainting for me to know where they go.
I add the skin tone and the base red tone for his clothes - lightly, because I might change my mind, and because it's better to start too light than too dark with watercolours. I also fill in his eyes a bit.
Darker shades on the clothes, and another layer of skintone to build it up (I am trying to make sure that the colours show up when I scan, but that, alas, is a lost cause; my scanner snacks on watercolours) - then a bit darker blues in the background to make the character stand out.
New verse same as the first; more layers of colour, layers of blue for the shadows, detailing with a tiny brush for the hair and the eyes, etc., etc., and this is what looks like when it's finished, before the scan - only not quite, because the lighting is crappy, and my camera is kinda out of focus.
Finished artwork can be found here - in all its scanner-mauled glory.