Digital Art Tutorial: How to Paint Stylized Portraits | Maxine Vee | Skillshare

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Digital Art Tutorial: How to Paint Stylized Portraits

teacher avatar Maxine Vee, Artist and Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Setting Up

    • 3. Understanding Values

    • 4. Choosing Colours

    • 5. Lineart

    • 6. Shadows and Highlights

    • 7. Painting Different Hairstyles

    • 8. Refining Details

    • 9. Adjustments and Final Touches

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About This Class

This digital art tutorial will teach you the basics on how to digitally paint your stylized portraits. This class is aimed at students of all levels. I will guide you through a step by step process of coloring your initial drawing to a final rendered painting. I will share the techniques and tips that I use to color my portraits.

I will be working with Procreate to paint the portrait however this process can also be applied to any digital software including Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, and Krita.

Key things you’ll learn:

  • Understanding values to get a good foundation for your painting
  • Choosing colors creatively
  • How to shade and add highlights
  • How to paint different hairstyles
  • Making simple adjustments to take your portrait to the next level 

Meet Your Teacher

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Maxine Vee

Artist and Illustrator


Hello, I'm Maxine Vee! I'm an artist and designer Toronto, ON. I am very passionate about painting and drawing and would love to share the techniques and tips I have learned over the years.

 If you want to see more of my work feel free to check my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! 

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1. Introduction : Hi, My name is Maxine V. Welcome to my digital art class. How to paint style ites. Portrait's I am a full time artist and a designer working at a gaming city on Toronto. Allow painting portrait's characters, storytelling and creating colorful illustrations. I would love to share some of the methods and techniques I've learned over the years to paint my portrait. It's in this class. He will learn the basic understanding of value. So set a foundation for your painting. Guide you to choose colors creatively to create effective color schemes, techniques and how to shading and highlights to your portrait's exists in a three dimensional space and tips and tricks to help issue stylized portrait to the next level. Let's get started. 2. Setting Up: before we get started, make sure you have your Leinart or initial sketch openness up in a separate Lear. If you don't have a line, are ready for this class. You and Donald the PST file I have provided in the description below. Whenever I start painting, I like to make sure the resolution is large enough so I can paint more details. So for this example, I want this piece to be print ready. And to do that, I checked the cannabis information to check. If the DP I said to 300 the 300 is the standard prince ice. But for this tutorial, because I am Penis for a Web base, image is going to be around 150 t p I, which is perfect for Let's say, policy on INSTAGRAM or any other social media platforms Changes size. I click on the actions button at the top left corner beside the gallery, click on canvas and go to properties eyes. And right now the pixels are said to 17 22 900 pixels is there in 1900 pixels, which is a little small, so I like to double the size, and now I'm going to set it to 2440 pixels. We just get enough to add in more details. So now I'm just realigning the sketch sorts in the center, and to do that, I click on the Transform Tool, which is currently said to Magnetics, and snap it right at the center line. So now that we have to sketch open and are happy with the sites of the image, we're moving on to adding the base layer. Is this essentially going to be thesis ola wet or shape of your portrait? So create a new layer and let's just name it the base layer, and you're going to drag that layer. Be low your sketch. So that way you can see your drawing while outlining your silhouette. To create that silhouette, you're going to use the lasso tool and make sure it is set you free hand. So now we're just going to outline the shape of here, drawing or sketch. So now that we have that done, we're going to click on the color tool. But this year's agree a likely color for the peace. Now we'll click on the same color toe, gerais it towards the shape you have just outlined and drop that color, which will just eventually fill out the shape. I mean, is it not amazing? I love using that future because it just feels like magic. All right, now we're ready to move on to the values. See you next lesson. 3. Understanding Values: Let's talk about values and why it's so important in paintings. Some artists would even argue it's more important than color because values determine and measures the lightness and darkness of the painting. The value scale shows white and black, which ranges from 1 to 9 one being the lightest fortify being the middle and nine being a darkest well, we're seeing a wide range of values in the water lily spinning I did on the left side. We can actually simplify and scale it down to 33 values, which is light, middle and dark. The eyes the focal point of the painting being the targets, her skin glowing flowers, the light race being lightest and her hair and background ranging in the middle supported portrait. Over here, Penny, you can apply to see method and skillet down three or even two values. So I've decided I'm going to make her hair to darkest value, and by doing that, I create a new layer and set it to clipping mask. I love using the stool because this allows you to paint in areas of your shape without worrying about going over the lines and silhouette. Do you have created earlier. Now I'm just going to use the same method I did to create a salon earlier, but apply it to the areas where the hair is with a darker color. This time, I'm also going to take my paintbrush and just go over the areas have missed or just clean up the shape of the hair. So I'm just going back to naming that earlier. It's always good to organize your layers. I think so. Now that we have our light and dark values, I'm just gonna add it. Just gonna create a new earlier to add a mid range values to her features such as their pupils, eyebrows and lips. I'm just using a paintbrush years since I'm just coloring in smaller areas. And once I'm doing that, I'm just going to the address min tool in light and those values you so I could see to sketch a bit more. That's why I like starting out with a limited value range because you can always play around with adjusting about use here. I'm gonna show you different ways he can play with this limited palate. As you can see, I'm just playing her brown with adjustment tool you want her to have lighter hair, darker skin or working a middle range mid range palette. I'm still keeping in mind with a dark and light values. So as you can see, I'm just going back and forth to the hair to base or the eyes and lips layer. And I'm just sliding that brightness tool from up. Try to see which one feels us. A tip I like to follow whenever impeding is to zoom out almost a thumbnail size to see the console. Distinguish those two or three values even from afar de playing around with this limited power to see which one you'd like. And now we're ready to move on. You're choosing your colors. See you next lesson. 4. Choosing Colours: let's begin in coloring intersections of her painting. Let's lock the layers by selecting the awful law. This is really going to apply right now. But later, when we work with walking in our shadows and highlights, we will need to lock players. So I'm just doing it beforehand, so I don't forget for her hair, I'm just choosing a dark teal color and a light, peachy color for skin. As for eyes, I chose a light sky blue hue. Now you may be wondering at this point, Maxine, why didn't even go through those values? If we're just picking random colors? Well, they're not really a random. Because while I was choosing those colors, I still kept in mind the light and dark values. There's a trick I like to use to check. My values are correct, create a new layer and make sure it is on top of all the other layers. They go to the color tool and so, like black, drop it in the layers. It completely fills the image, then so, like the same layer, click on the capital and beside a check box button, then so like color. And instead of the normal load select the color mode, which will show your values and soda. This chick can be used for not just seeing porches, but for any paintings or drawings that requires you to check if your values are correct. I'm content with a color palette that I have right now. I don't completely love it just yet, so I'm going to be grabbing some color pilot inspirations just to see if I can explore some more colors. If you're wondering where you can find some color palettes, I listed a few links below, so we're just going to check that out. Firstly, I listed is a site called Coolers. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that right, but it's is awesome sight with archives of color palettes. And if your designer this is very useful. If you view one of the palates, you can actually just see the hex code and copy the hex code right you descend. Other side I like to go to is this I called Color Hunt. It's very similar, except the interface is different. But again, there's so many beautiful choices and selections here. My particular favorite site or up to use or color Paul inspirations is every artist, bus friend, which ISP interest. So when I'm working, I like to drag the printers after the side, so it creates a split screen. So that way I can always refer back to my painting while looking for some colors. So with a color palette that I have, I feel like it's missing. Something is still very much like the teal color, so I'm going to try finding color palette. It's very similar to mine. I really like how this house a splash of oranges, so I want to incorporate it to my portrait. So because most people tend to look at the eyes of the portrait first when they see a painting, I want to make her I sent out by changing that blue toe gorgeous orange hue. I'm also going to change her lip color is a while just to make it boulder and closes her reddish tone rather than a more pinkish tone. So I'm quite happy with how does this turning out? But I still think we could push us further by trying out different pounds. It's always worth to explore different pilots than the 1st 1 you came up with, especially at this early stage because you'll never know what will happen. You might completely love it or hate it, but it's always we're trying. So that's what I'm doing right now. Instead of finding a very similar teal color palette I already have. I'm going to deviate away from it and just try it a completely different palette. I'm already loving these colors more than the other one, because I really like he saw needed colors. I think it just really works altogether. But again, I won't stop from there, and I'm still going to explore different colors by duplicating my portrait. It's and trying out to been Hughes until he find when I'm really happy with for this process, it's a lot of experimentation. You can see that I'm playing around with the sliders. Speaking of colors, I like from the other palettes and incorporating it to a new one and just finding out about good balance. So I'm really happy with this palette. I kept some of them heated tones that I love from that pastel palette, but I still really loved idea bringing that pop of orange. So I decided to keep that. So when you're playing around with experimenting color pilots. Don't be afraid to try out crazy colors. And if you end up finding a color that you really like, try to create different combinations with it. And most importantly, just have fun. I love to see what combinations you come up with for your pushes, so show progress implicit in the gallery. If you need some help looking for some color inspire ations. I compiled a few pins on my Pinterest sport and the link below so you can use those combinations, that's all. See you next person. 5. Lineart: you may see other artists begin their painting process with a sketch and their line work ready before the beacon coloring. But I like doing the Leinart or line work after I've chosen the colors, because this gives me freedom to add character. Adopt those lines and I just find it easier to go over those lines with a clear. So what? For those of you help already Dunder Line work. You can skip this process, but for those of you haven't done it yet. Let's begin by selecting sketch layer and lowering capacity to around 50 to 60% ban at a new layer above the Sketch Lear. This is where you will do all your line work. Select this catch pencil brush or any drawing barrage pen rush pencil brush for any brush that allows you to draw nice fine lines. So I color pick from her hair because its darkest color in the canvas and I just slide saturation and brightness. Get a darker color. Don't worry about the color you will use to do your line work, because I will show you how to change it later. Begin my line work by starting from a hair line and just going over the sketch lines. Notice how I decrease the size of my brush to create finer lines but increase the size when I'm working on the outer edges of my portrait. I believe this just gives it more definition to your line. Work as I go over at the area sort of sketch isn't as clear. This is when I start envisioning interesting style choices for hair because this is stylized portrait, I'd like to exaggerate. The forms really accentuate the curb lines in her hair and erase areas to make the shape clearer and defiant. And then I also add a bit of details to shape, so it's not so stiff. After that, I take the same sketch layer, put it on awful lock and use a hard airbrush so you can change the color over a sketch for her skin. I use this. I traded reddish tone, and for her hair, I just use a slightly darker color than what she already has. This tip just makes a drawing a bit cleaner and brighter, but still retaining some some of thes catch lying texture. However, if you want a clean line art, you can simply turn off the sketch layer. All right, so right now the line work has just one color, but we are going to change that by matching the color of the base layer to the line. Work with a slightly darker is that treated color. Let's create a new layer and set a to clipping mask. I color pick the skin tone and move the huge her British tone and increased the saturation that also decreasing the brightness. This will be the outline color for skin, so I'm just going to use the paint, brush and paint over the line. Work with this color. See how it blends in nicely, but still dark enough to know that it's still the outline. So I'll be using and repeating the same method to color the lines of her eyes and lips by using a darker and more saturated color for the line. Work to match with the base layer. And after that, we're done with a line work, and now we can move on to painting your shadows and highlights. See you next lesson 6. Shadows and Highlights : So, for it is painting. We're going to work with a soft directional light when adding the shadows and highlights. Key aspect is to envision your portrait as if it was in a three dimensional space. So you constantly thinking about the structure of the head and the underlying skull. I highly advice, sees references to get familiar with the structure of the head, and face is so here. I have three examples to show you where the darkest areas usually hit the face. It's usually the same from person to person, but here's a generic island. So these areas air, usually prominent just on her eyes around her forehead or the cranium of the head cheekbones in the large shadows, usually kassid on her neck on her nose, I saw kids brow ridge and below her lips, so I'm just gonna be doing this to do the other portrait. It's so as you can see when I turn off the leery, you can see the structure of the face with just the shadows. So now we're going to apply the same method to our portrait. I'm gonna use a saturated color and changed a hue to more reddish tone for the shadows. You're going to create a clipping mask here layer and said it's a multiply to around 40%. I'll be using a soft lectured bush beginning, but you can also use a soft round brush or paintbrush you were using in this project to create a soft transition from dark to light. So I started by adding a shadow to her neck area, her eye sockets underneath her nose around the cheekbone area in blocking in areas where shadows will appear. After that, it's important to do a quick check out our values by turning on the value layers to see if our values are correct. Right now, I feel you could push the shadows a bit more by darkening some of the areas, like around her eyes, that collarbone cheek bones just to give it more definition. No for a light skinned faces. There, three colors owns the forehead area is a yellow golden color. The brow area to the bottom thin nose is a reddish tone. Well, the nose to chin area is around greenish bluish tone, so thief zones are more prominent and men, and they're very, very subtle and not a spot uses my doodle. So when we add the zones to our portrait, we create a new earlier said. It's a clipping mask and paint in those zones after pain. Those three zones, we're going to blood and in with the skin tone and shadows that we already have. Use a large soft brush to blooded in to create that smooth transition. Then you're going toe lord opacity to make it even more subtle. And there you have it. It just gives that extra definition and structure to the portrait. Here are some creep variations of how a color driven skin tones set your layer to multiply and changed a hue and add a bit of saturation. No, I'm going to show you why it's important not to solely rely on decreasing the brightness for your shadows. The brightness refers to how much black or white is mixed with Hugh measuring the lightness and darkness of the color, which means if you're only using the brightness tool for your shadows, your only mixing that color with black and white, which can make your colors appear doll or money. So I recommend changing Mayhew for your shadows, as you can see here, if I just decrease the brightness. The shadows can look money, making the portrait appear lifeless. Moving on, said highlights. I'm taking the same examples I've used earlier, but this time I'm coloring in areas of their face is where it gets the most light. So that includes the pressure. The nose keep its bo chin cheekbones just below their eyes around the nose area and just parts of the face where he gets the mostly. When I'm painting a portrait, I like to use soft textured Russian maximum capacity and use a brighter color to add the highlights. So now that I'm done, I'm going to make some adjustments because I do think the highlights are a little strong. So I changed a hue and just slightly lower the brightness to reduce that look of shiny for its surface and make it look like it's funded and more. All right, so now that we have set the foundation ever shadows and highlights, this is a good basis. Start with and we will be refining and adding more details to it later. So don't worry about it. Looking completely, finish as long as we have a good foundation and peace to work with. All right, see you next lesson 7. Painting Different Hairstyles: When painting different hairstyles, try to think of hair us one form or one big shape instead of thinking about it's individual strands, a technique I have learned from James Gurney, this amazing artist and author of Color and Light. It's a thing of Harris ribbons because hair like ribbons are a reflective surface, the highlight goes across the shape. So for painting hair, I'd like to start with a mid range value, so it's easier to add shadows and highlights. Use a large brush so you don't get lost in details and begin by blocking the shadows to get the value of the shape. So for this hair, I'm only thinking about the shadows and creating simple forms. Asper braids think of its repeated pattern where the lines meet and its outer edges are where it will get the most shadows. While the middle area will have the glossy reflected highlights, I'm just adding the same pattern to this one and blocking in those ships for Afro hair. The same rule applies about thinking, uh, the hair as just one shape. I think about grouping the hair by blocking in the shadows with a large brush, then use the hard airbrush. I'll erase some of the shape to add details and refined across a bit more. Now that we've done all the base shadows to these hairstyles, let's start adding in the highlights Brutus hairstyle. I use a textured paint brush and added highlights by drawing in softer girls well for the straight wavy hair. I think about the ribbon technique and following the direction where the hair goes and apply those highlights. I do the same thing to the braise, but this time adding highlights too. I was thinking about the repeated pattern moving on to the portrait. I'm going to apply the same rule by using a large brush and using a dark color to blocking the shadows. Then I gradually create a soft transition to create that ribbon effect by following the direction of the hair and adding highlights across the shape, and that should be done. Just remember, when you're painting hair, use a large brush to make simplified shapes first, before you can add in any details. So for a next lesson, we're going to finally start refining the portrait and adding in more details, which is my favorite part. See you next lesson 8. Refining Details : not all we've got are based shadows and highlights done. I'm going to make some small adjustments by changing her camp hair color to a bluish tone. I'm gonna do that by using the lawsuit tool to select areas of her hair and changing its you to get that nice blue tone. It's a very subtle difference, but if you ever want to make small adjustments, the loss of tool and color adjustment layer is very handy. So right now, I'm just merging some of the layers because I personally prefer working with minimal layers . So that way I don't have to worry about painting in the wrong earlier. And just working directly on the portrait itself. In the process of refining and adding details is where I use a smaller brush to create smaller, finer strokes. The key things to remember is to start thinking about adding more contrast and points of interest to your portrait. So that means adding fine details in areas where you want your audience to look at. So in my case, I tend to start finding the eyes and really paying attention to giving it more contrast. But using Boulder and Dark Alliance to accentuate her eyelashes and eye shape. No, - I do. Hello. This is optional if you don't want to add prominent lines to your portrait. But I do like accentuating my Leinart by going over those lines with bolder and darker tones. No, during the process of shading, I like to zoom out from the painting just to get a new perspective and see where I can make some adjustments. So here I'm going to make some color adjustments, using the color bonds tool to bring out the purple hues. So this is when you can re hit some really fun colors and interactions by experimenting with a temperature of your portrait. So, looking at the painting, I feel like the contrast still needs to be pushed for it. Or we can do that by checking our values to see if it looks flat. So right now I want to add more contrast to the hair to give it more volume. No, I'm also going to paint and shadows to make a darker and bolder, especially any insides of her hair, to bring out a nice contrast between her face and her hair, adding details and refining. The painting is one of my favorite part of the coloring process because those when you can really see your painting come together. It's a lot of going back and forth to gradually adding those highlights, adding were conscious of the shadows and adding our definition of shapes and lines. So we're pretty much finished our portrait and in the next lesson I will show you how to make final adjustments, quick fixes and a few tips to really push your portrait further. See you next lesson. 9. Adjustments and Final Touches: So with the artist painting, I want to reduce the saturation and give it a more softer pastel survived matter here. Stuff I'm going to reduce is that there's also the stylistic choice. I like to add to my paintings to give it up overall, soft looked. I do that by creating a new layer and fill it with a color that matches the overall mood. So in this case, I went with a cool tone to reduce that saturation. We're gonna play around with different colors to see if you want to use warmer tones. But for this part yet I want to make the color softer and muted. So what are you going to issue? Set the layer to a darker color and reduce opacity to around 20%? Then I'm going to take a large soft brush us my eraser to just spring back some of the areas where I want to retain its brightness. That way, I could still have that combination between that was needed, colors with him of saturation. So now I'm just continuing, adding those highlights of the hair with a brighter color and cleaning up some of the lines . I'm also going to be adding or highlights your face, especially her eyes. Just make it stand out a bit more. So I'm going to continue making some color adjustments. Your hair, because I do feel like the blues and purples could be toned down just a bit more, so I'm gonna use the loss of tool to so like her hair. And don't forget the eyebrows is all and fill the layer with a soft pastel color. I'm going to set it to color mode and play with the sliders to get the hell I want. As you can see, I can even change your hair color to green or pink. So it's really fun playing around with the sliders and just choosing the color you want. So I'm really happy with a soft, great tone is going on, and I'm just gonna make a few adjustments using the color bounds. I want to show you why it's important to change the color balance whenever you're making adjustments to any color. When you make adjustments to the temperature of the shadows and highlights the subtle difference, can we hear colors more vibrant? I'm very happy with the color palette right now, but I'm just going to make a few changes to your face. I noticed by zooming out her left eyes a little bit far, so I'm gonna duplicate that layer and use a lot. So tools to select the I and just slightly move it to the right. Then I'm going to continue doing any last touches, but cleaning the lines and 90 more details. These small adjustments may seem very subtle, but it really makes a huge difference. The further you go along and work, work away with your painting, and one of the things I like to keep in mind is to step away from the painting but year zooming out or flipping the canvas to avoid tunnel vision and spot these mistakes. So this is CNN's editorial. I hope you have found this useful. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop a message, and I am really, really looking forward to seeing your color portrait. So please share them in the project gallery or tag me at Art of Maxine be. If you want to watch more tutorials, follow me on skill share and I'll be providing more content. Thank you for watching and see all soon