Digital Portrait Painting - Semi-Realistic Style - Procreate | Yannan Shi | Skillshare

Digital Portrait Painting - Semi-Realistic Style - Procreate

Yannan Shi, Digital Illustrator

Digital Portrait Painting - Semi-Realistic Style - Procreate

Yannan Shi, Digital Illustrator

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9 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction/Trailer

    • 2. Digital Art Tools Needed

    • 3. Choose Your Inspiration!

    • 4. Layer 1: Sketching a Form

    • 5. Layer 2: Adding Values

    • 6. Layer 3: Playing with Color

    • 7. Layer 4: Rendering

    • 8. Layer 5: Adding a Personal Touch

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to paint a portrait digitally from a photo reference in a semi-realistic, painterly style. This class is ideal for someone who has some experience with drawing, but maybe has only used traditional media and wants to explore digital painting. It would also be great from someone who has dabbled in digital art, but isn't quite sure how to achieve that painterly look.  I will be using an Apple Pencil, an iPad Pro, and Procreate, but you can apply these same concepts and techniques to any digital art program, such as Photoshop. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Yannan Shi

Digital Illustrator


Hi there! I'm Yannan and I'm a digital illustrator. I love painting dreamy portraits and storybook inspired illustrations. 

You can follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my Youtube channel for updates on my freelance artistic journey, and buy my work on Etsy!

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1. Introduction/Trailer: Hey there. My name is Yunan and I'm a digital illustrator. I've been drawing digitally for about 10 years now. And I'm so excited to share with you my very first class on digital portrait painting for beginners. I will walk you through step by step to create your very own digital portrait painting. All this class is designed for beginners. It helps if you have at least some prior experience of drawing. Maybe you just do a lot. Maybe you're a charcoal artist. Maybe you have dabbled in digital art, but you just can't figure out how to achieve that painterly look. Well, this class is for you. In this class, we will work together to get you comfortable with digital painting while simultaneously producing a piece of art that you can be proud of. You'll start from a reference photo like this to produce an original piece of portrait or like this. Not only will I go over the practical step by steps, I will also guide you in personalizing your art to make it your own. I can't wait to see what you make 2. Digital Art Tools Needed: for this class, I will be using an iPad pro, an apple pencil and procreate. This can kind of be an expensive option. So if you don't have the means to afford this, an alternative option is to use the laptop or computer that you already own and get a welcome into us Tablet, which I paid $300 for back in 2000 and eight. But they're much, much cheaper now. I checked. I think you can get one for, like $60 and to download a free software called gimp, which is very similar to photo shop, except that it's free. So if you're not using procreate and you want to follow along with his tutorial, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with whatever digital art program that you do end up using. And I made a list of some of the basic concepts that you, ah should be comfortable with experimenting with right here. And if you don't know what any of these things are, a quick Google search should reveal all of the answers for you, and finally we will be using some procreate specific brushes. But every digital, our program has a similar brush it just might not have the name that I'm using. So I would also recommend that you go through your brushes right now and try to find something. Um, that will be a similar substitute so that when we get to these layers, you'll already know what birches to use. 3. Choose Your Inspiration!: your first task will be to choose a photo that inspires you with some limitations. First, you want to choose a photo that is going to be in black and white, and the reason for this is because it's going to make it easier for you to see the values. For example, in this photo, it's a little bit hard to tell if the pink lips or if the yellow background is actually darker. But when we de saturate this photo and converted into gray scale, we can see that the lips are clearly much darker than the background color. A couple of things to look for is to make sure that you avoid black and white photos with very high contrast. And you also want to avoid black and white photos where the figure has been cropped. The last two photos I picked are good examples of what to look for because the person is clearly in the foreground and there's a good range of grays in addition to the black and white. If you need help getting started, I created a collection of black and white portrait photos that you can use, and it's linked in the project and resource is tab of this class 4. Layer 1: Sketching a Form: after you have chosen your inspiration photo open, a procreate and or whatever digital our program you're using and import the photo into the art program. Then we're going Teoh double the canvas size of our image so that we can look at the reference image on the left. If you are left handed, you might want to put the image on the right. Next, we're going to create a new layer. This is going to be for a sketch layer, and now we can start drawing. Think of painting the way you might think of building a house. In this analogy, the sketch layer is like the blueprint we're not concerned with. The details were looking mostly for shape. So when sketching, try to simplify everything into straight lines. Even if that something looks curved. Look for triangles, rectangles, hexagons, etcetera, etcetera. You get the idea. This technique will help you define the forms of the person better. For example, even though her nose is quite round in my sketch, I have simplified it into more of a triangle shape. You might also want to use gesture lines to hope you make sure certain features lineup. For example, I drew a horizontal line along her face because I know I want her face to be tilted slightly but still have her eyes lineup and I drew a vertical line to guide where put the nose and lips. Also, don't be afraid to adjust as you go along. A quick tip is to simply resized the image if it is looking too narrow or too wide as fine . Waas Just click on the mouse icon in the upper left hand corner. 5. Layer 2: Adding Values: Now that you have your blueprint, they're going to start laying in the foundation the most important stuff you will need to create a new layer on top of your sketch layer. In addition to creating a swatch of five shades of gray. Why color on top of the sketch drawing on top of the sketch layer instead of under the layer forces us to find edges rather than line. Edges are changes from light to dark. In this example, we can see that the changes in grace teller eyes that this is a cube in the picture on the left, whereas in the picture on the right, we can only tell that this is a cube from the information drawn in by lying. There's nothing wrong with a style of art that communicates with lines, but it's not going to give you a painterly look. And that's the point of this lesson. So let's get back to our painting. I'm using the Nico role brush at 100% capacity, and I'm only changing the size of the brush is needed, and I'm Onley using the color picker to draw from the graze on my color power, tried to not be tempted to use more than the five grease in your palate, limiting our color palette to five grace forces us to simplify and capture on Lee the incident. Essential information. With these limitations, the end product is going to look a bit messier than we might like, but we're going to have an opportunity to refine it later. My problems, that being said, you should also take your time with this step because, like I said earlier, the foundation is the most important part of the process. And if you don't have a strong foundation, nothing you paint on top of it will make it any better. 6. Layer 3: Playing with Color: Okay, so now that you've done the hard work of putting in the values, this part is, I think the most fun we're going to add in color, and you can be as creative as you want. You can choose realistic skin tones, or you can make it purple like I am. So what you're going to do is you're going to create a new layer. Then you're going to fill that entire layer with whatever color pleases you. Next, click on the little capital end next to the check mark box. It's going to open up the layer settings, and by changing the layer settings, you get a lot of different interesting results. This is something that's special traditional art and why I love it so much. It forces me to think of some new color combos I might not have thought of before. Go ahead and play around with this, and she is one that you like. The only thing to pay attention to here is you don't really want to choose something that's going to make the color palette those five colors that you have on the left have any of those colors disappear, so you'll notice that on some of these, the lighter colors will essentially become white, and you don't want to lose your color variation. OK, so I ended up choosing the mod lighten. I liked how it brought in some blues that in the mid tones that I think were kind of interesting, and our next step is going to be to merge all of the layers together. If that frightens you, you can create a new group just so just duplicate all of the layers and keep all of our old layers in a separate group and merge all of the layers together. You might find an issue with merging all of your layers together, so let me show you a quick tip around that. So if you try to merge all of your layers and it ends up looking like this, um, it's because your background is transparent. And so when it's merging, its not merging currently. So to solve this, create a completely white layer and put it in the back and then trying to merge everything , and now it should look the way that you want to look really back. Georgia another way that you can play with the colors that you have created from changing the mode and the layers is too plea with adjustments. The adjustments button is in the upper left hand corner. Kind of looks like a magic wand. Maybe I'm not really sure what it's supposed to be anyway. Here I like to play with the hue, saturation and brightness, the color balance and the curves. I don't really use re color that that often, but I fully encourage you to experiment with all of these adjustments as much as possible. So for my peas, I already noticed that it's pretty highly saturated, meaning there's already a lot of bright colors, so I'm not gonna really play with that as much. But I am going to experiment with the color balance, and there's two ways to do this. You can play with the color balance, or you can also use curves, And the basic idea behind the curves is if you take the dots on that line and you drive them up, the image will get lighter, and if you drag it down, the image will get darker. You can also select composite red, green or blue Teoh either affect all of the colors just the reddish colors, just the greenish colors or just the bluish colors. Okay, so after dealing with the setting some more, I ended up with this. And I hope you ended up with something that you like, because now we can start rendering. 7. Layer 4: Rendering: Now that we have a strong foundation, we can go ahead and start smoothing out some of the rough edges by rendering. Let me show you one possible technique for rendering. So I'm going to start with using the round brush, and I'm going to pick the color that is in between to light and dark colors and using the round brush. I'm just going to lightly color in that transition. I might also use this color and other parts of the image. Let's say you want to add some more light or more shadow in a certain spot. The soft brush is a great tool for this because it evenly and lightly distributes one color in a large area, which is similar to how shadows and lights are. So I'm gonna I want this. I want to push the darks in this a little bit more, so I'm gonna take the purple color that already exists, going to deepen it a little bit and just like use this off brush to add a little bit more of a purple, too. My picture. You might find that you lose some of your edges when you're using the round brush and soft brush to blend in these transitions and in the cylinder. I want to make that edge between the circle and the round bit more defined. So that's what I'm going to use the brush pen for. So this is the technique that I am going to be using to finish rendering my painting. I also noticed that in the previous layer, I had lost some of the dark ger values that I wanted. So I added an extra swatch of dark purple that I'm going to go over the shadows with a little bit more. Here's another quick tip for you, so I noticed that the shoulder and the head we're not quite in the same alignment as the reference photo in the reference photo. The ah shoulder and her back is like sticking out more to the left than her head is, whereas in my image, it's not quite the case. So an easy fix for that is I'm going to click on the s sheep and I'm gonna select my figure . And then I'm going to click on the mouse and I'm going to select War and Warp allows me to address my image a little bit so I can get a more accurate proportion. And here is the before and so another thing that I noticed is that the nose and the mouth are not as tilted as I would like them to be. So I'm going to again press that as shaped button and select the nose. And I'm just going to leave this in free form and not goto warp. I'm just gonna leave it in for reform to rotate the nose a little bit. And I'm going to do the same thing for the mouth, just like tilted a little bit. And it ends up leaving some of this like white space when I addressed it this way. And so what we're going to do is we're just going to fill those, uh, white spots, um, in and all you have to do is use the color picker to select the colors that are surrounding the white space and use amusing the round brush to basically fill those spots in and, um, using if you need to maybe use the soft brush to, like, blended out a little bit more. Okay, so now I'm going to go back and finish rendering my piece and what I'm looking for here is Am I matching the hard edges in the photo in my drawing? So, for example, I see some like harder shadows on her nose and, like, from the left side of her face to the right side of her face, those air some fairly hard shadows that I try to recreate there. There's a distinct difference from like two dark. Whereas on her arm, um, I want that to be like a softer shadow and along her chest. Us. Well, I want those to be softer, smoother transitions, kind of like the curve of the cylinder from her example earlier. And I'm not really going for photo realism here, So it's not super important to me that I capture every single one of these details correctly. So it's also up to you how, um, detail oriented you want to be. You want to leave it in a messier state. That's also perfectly fine. So it's that that's kind of the hardest part of this is deciding when you're done and when you can stop 8. Layer 5: Adding a Personal Touch: Okay, This is so exciting because we are almost done with our painting. We're just going to be adding some small personal touches to really make it our own. As you can see, I have already cropped out my reference photo by changing the campus size. And now I'm going to give you my five tips for adding a personal touch while you were experimenting. You're going to want to make sure that you are creating a new layer every time you think you might want to change your mind and go back to your previous rendition This way, you don't have to press undo it bunch of times and you don't risk losing some of your work . If you introduce new colors at this point, it's going to look like you just slapped something on at the very end. And wow, Um, that is essentially what we're doing. You don't want anyone to know that a lot of people wonder how to develop a signature art style and part of developing that art style is a matter of what brushes you gravitate towards and what you like to use. So really experiment a lot here and see what kind of happy accidents you create and what you tend to like. Another cool way to add some interesting effects is to change the layer mowed off the layer that you're working on and just like to see what happens. And you just have to be a little bit careful here again. Do not introduced to many new colors so that it doesn't look like an afterthought. If it feels right, you might want to draw on some patterns or details like clouds or stripes, or in this case, this was giving me colors of the wind vibes. So I drew in some leaves, so those are my tips and let me show you what I ended up doing. 9. Final Thoughts: thanks so much for taking my class. I hope it was helpful to you. I am so excited to see what you guys are going to create. So please, please, please upload your projects into the projects and community resource is tab of the class. I will probably be checking obsessively to see if anybody uploads anything. So please do that. And also, I would love to hear any comments or feedback or suggestions that you have for this class so I could make my next class better. So until next time By