Dreamy portrait in Procreate: fun technique with free watercolor brushes | S Sukilopi | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Dreamy portrait in Procreate: fun technique with free watercolor brushes

teacher avatar S Sukilopi, Artist, Skillshare teacher

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

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

8 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Presentation

    • 2. Template and Sketch

    • 3. Watercolor Techniques in Procreate

    • 4. Painting the face

    • 5. Hair Magic!

    • 6. Background Design

    • 7. Last details

    • 8. Project and Resources

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class you will learn to paint a beautiful, dreamy portrait in digital watercolors using Procreate on your iPad. 

I have created a set of 16 custom brushes that will make the process easier and will give a real watercolor feel to your artwork.


 In this class you will learn to:

• design a simple template that will allow you to place all the elements of a face in the right position, with correct proportions

• sketch a girl’s face

• add basic coloring and shading, as well as details to create a lively expression

• use colors to add a whimsical touch to your portraits

• create textured backgrounds with wet brushes, blooms and salt effects

• use the lace brushes for this boho feel or any other style you wish to give to your artwork

In addition to this, you will be able to download:

• a set of 16 custom watercolor brushes, designed from original watercolor paintings

• a watercolor paper texture

• the 2 colour palettes that I am using in the class

• the basic sketch of the face that you can use multiple times to paint different versions of this portrait

• the template for easy drawing and positioning of face features

You only need a basic knowledge of Procreate for this class, as I will be using simple techniques that I will demonstrate step by step.

Come and join me in this class and discover the fun of watercolor painting in Procreate! 

My other classes

Music: http://www.bensound.com 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

S Sukilopi

Artist, Skillshare teacher


Hello, I'm Sandrine.

I am an artist and Skillshare teacher who loves using all kinds of media and especially watercolors. I am also a Procreate lover and I especially enjoy working on digital collages.

I sell my art through exhibitions and on print on demand websites, such as Society6 and Redbubble.

Feel free to check out my website www.sukilopi.com

My main sources of inspiration are my daily reveries, nature, music and books. I am also a major paper hoarder and collect everything and anything that is not completely white, basically!

Last but not least, I am French (which you already know if you’ve heard me talk for half a second), born in Toulouse, south of France.  However I have spent most of my adult life living abroad, ... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Presentation: Hi everyone. My name is Sandrine. I'm an artist and a teacher. And today I will show you how to paint a beautiful watercolor portrait in Procreate. When joining this class, you will have access to all the brushes I am using for this project. They will help you a lot with painting in Procreate. I will also share with you my palettes, a digital watercolor paper texture, and my template and sketch for this painting. First, we will create a simple template that can be used time and time again to easily draw a face. Once your sketches is ready, I will show you how to color the face with various layers of paint and some simple shading techniques. You will also learn to create watercolor textured backgrounds. Once you have finished this class, you will be able to use the brushes for any of your Procreate artwork. And you will know how to draw and paint any type of portraits digitally. So come and join me now and let's get started. 2. Template and Sketch: Hello my friends and welcome to this new class. We are going to start by opening a new canvas in Procreate, I will be working on the format you see on the screen, which corresponds to a canvas of about 35.4 by 27.5 centimeters in an A4 shape. In this first lesson, I will show you a simple way of sketching a face for our portrait. You will be able to save the template we will design and use it for any portrait you'd like to paint in the future, either in Procreate or on paper. Finally, if you do not feel like going through these steps, you will find the sketch of the face ready to download in the projects and resources section below. That is also where you will find the watercolor paper texture, the swatches I will use in this class, and the brush set I have created for you. So let's create this face template. We're going into Canvas and switch on the Drawing Guide. Then Edit Drawing Guide. We are now in the basic 2D grid mode. And what we need here is just to increase the grid size so that it is about six squares high, roughly 525 pixels. You can draw with any one of the sketching brushes that you like. I love the Ink Bleed one, so I will use it in a brown color from the hair and skin palette. I start by drawing an egg shape and keeping my pencil down until the shape turns into a perfect oval form. I am then moving it so that the top and bottom of the shape are aligned with two lines up and down from the center, as you can see. Also making sure that the oval is well centered horizontally. I am now drawing three lines along the ones from the drawing guide. Every time keeping my pencil down until the lines are straight. Next, I am drawing a thin and more transparent vertical line in the middle. And finally, we'll draw another three horizontal thin lines between the main ones. And we have a template. As you can see, it's a pretty easy design that will allow us to disable the drawing guide and follow a more adapted template. You can lower the opacity of this layer and lock it. Then create a new layer for the actual sketch. I will keep my ink bleed brush, in a dark flesh tone. Let's draw an eye shape across the middle horizontal line and between the central vertical line and the edge of the oval shape. I am simply drawing an almond shape with the inner corner below the middle line, the outer corner slightly above. Then another line for the eyelashes. And finally, the iris shape and the pupil. We will mark the eyelid with a simple line above the eye. And draw the arc of the eyebrow. We can now clean up our sketch and possibly reposition some elements like the eyebrow, which I prefer to be lower than the thin horizontal line. Next, I just duplicate the layer, flip it horizontally and place it on the other side of the face. And here we are, two perfectly identical eyes. We will merge them into one layer. Then let's draw the nose. We will place it between the thin and the thick lines below the eyes. Just a little wave, two horizontal drop shapes at the end and little brackets on each side. Your eyes or nose might look different from mine, of course we each have our ways to draw and our preferences. So don't worry and just make sure the symmetry is correct and the elements are well positioned. And now to the mouth, the top of the lips will almost touch the thick line below the nose. I will just draw a little bow, then mark the edges of the mouth. Normally, they are just below the inner sides of the irises. It is easier to shape the lips with these reference points, because we can now link the bow with the points in some curvy shapes, looking like little waves and going slightly up at the corners. The bottom of the lips is under central line. Again, you can mark it and then draw another larger bow. Finally, lightly sketch the lips inner lines. I find mouths pretty hard to sketch. However, things usually get better once we add colors. The last step will consist in drawing the shape of the face. I will use the top and bottom horizontal lines for the chin and top of the head. And mark two points next to the eyes as references. Again, all we need to do now is joining the points. Once you have a nice curve, just duplicate and flip it, then position it symmetrically to the other one. Merge the layers. The chin is too pointed but we will simply erase it and draw a softer line. We can also add some cheekbones to our girl’s face. Now position your sketch where you want it. We need space below for the neck and shoulders and above for the hair. Et voilà, the hard work is done! Join me in the next lesson and let's have some fun with colors and brushes. 3. Watercolor Techniques in Procreate: Now that our sketch is done, you can save the template layer for future portraits and delete it from this canvas. Let's also lock the sketch layer to make sure we won’t paint on it. I will import my watercolor paper texture, set the layer to multiply and lock it. Remember that you can download this texture from the resources section of the class. We are now ready to add a new layer on which we will paint. Please note that all layers from now must be placed under the paper texture. I will start by using the old beach brush, which comes with Procreate. I love this brush and you will see why in a second. In the hair and skin palette, we have a selection of greens. And I will start by picking the lightest one set at medium opacity. Now, let's see what happens. As you can see, the brush paints not only in light green, but in a variety of similar tones, creating a harmonious palette of its own. I really enjoy the randomness of this process. It's fun and it allows you to use colors you might not have thought of or picked to start with. So you can change the opacity or the size of the brush and try various shades of green to come up with a good variety of colors. And if you do not like a particular tone, just undo by tapping two fingers on your screen and it will disappear. Once you are happy with the look of your background, select a blending brush. I will choose the Quoll brush from Procreate at medium opacity. We are going to remove some strong edges to create a watercolor effect. This brush is really nice as it blends the colors without blurring them. Feel free to try various blending brushes for different textures. Like here, the crazy wet brush. What we are doing is basically imitating the various ways that real watercolors blend, sometimes smoothly, sometimes with blooms or with a few hard edges. So you need to balance the various blending effects by using different brushes with different sizes and opacity. A good tip is to keep some white, unpainted spots, like you could find in actual watercolors. And also to live a few natural looking edges like this one, for example. 4. Painting the face: We're now going to create a new layer to paint the face. You might want to lock the green background layer to avoid painting on it. It must stay separate from the rest. You will see why in the next lesson. Let's first pick a medium skin tone color. For the first layer of the painting. I will use the light wash brush, which will create a good base. Please note that for uniform coverage, you should not lift your pencil. If you do, you will add an extra layer like here to shadow the neck. We can blend the tones with the blending tool. Then at the light second coat on some areas of the face. For instance, I am here shading very lightly the under and upper lids of the eyes. The lower shape of the nose, et cetera. You can add more layers in some places, like the inside corners of the eyes. Feel free to experiment. You will see that using the light wash as a blending tool makes the painting process very pleasant and easy. It allows you to move and blend the pigments, just like with real watercolors. And you cannot go wrong because it's very subtle. So staying on this layer, keep adding some basic shading in the main areas of the face and blending it until you get a nice and light complexion. As you can see. I will now clean the contour of the head with the smooth eraser. Will also be cleaning the inside of the eyes as we need to keep the white paper showing through. I will name this layer skin base and lock it. I will now add a bit of blush to our girl’s face with a nice pink tone and the soft wet brush. You can test the size and opacity of the brush and adapt it to your painting. I am adding two light touches on the cheeks and a little bit on top of the nose. Next, I will paint the lips keeping the same color but with a wet brush this time. As previously, avoid lifting your pencil for the base layer so that the tone is even. With the same brush and a brown color. We will paint the eyebrows. Next, we'll pick a light green and color the Irises and a pinkish gray for the eyelashes line. Finally, picking some pigments from the eyelids, I will color them too. And of course we are smoothing the lines with the light wash blending tool. If we reduce the size of our painting brush, we can color the small inner corners of the eyes and draw a light crease under the bottom lids. I will just add these small lines under the nose and we'll be done with this layer. You might wonder about painting ears, well, I never, ever paint any on my girls portraits, assuming that the hair hides them. But if you'd like to draw them, the bottom would be more or less aligned to the base of the nose and the top would be at eye level. So let's save this layer and create a new one. This time, I am choosing a darker pink and the wet brush to color the lips. Again, I am not lifting my pencil, but note that I leave some areas untouched to create highlights. I add another layer of color along the inner borders of the lips where they look darker. You can choose where to add more pigment, keeping in mind that the bottom lip should be lighter in the middle, than the top one. Lastly, we can mark the thin lines that will add more definition to the mouth. Here I am using the ink bleed brush in white, then blending the lines a little. Let's now work on the eyes. We will add another layer of color with the wet brush first. Then we can use the soft wet brush in a darker color for a super easy and very nice effect on the irises. You might need a few tries to get the size and opacity that you want. Going back to the wet brush in a small size, we can contour the irises with the darker color For more definition. We will now select the same colors as before to add more pigment on the eyebrows and eyelashes lines. And finally, draw some lashes with the ink bleed brush. A good tip for this type of dreamy portraits is to avoid using black. It is preferable to choose darker tones in brown like here, to keep the mood soft. Another tip is to always stop and take a look at your portrait while painting to make sure that everything is in harmony. Especially regarding the opacity of the colors. We are working in layers just as we would in real watercolors. So we need to keep all the layers light and the colors will get more intense as we progress and add more layers. This really helps in achieving a balanced and watercolor-like artwork, because it's easy to go over the top without realizing it in digital art, especially regarding colors and saturation. Let's move on and create a new layer. We will start by drawing a pupil with a dark green ink bleed brush. Let's duplicate it and merge the two layers. Then always check the opacity and consider modifying it if it contrasts too much with the rest of your painting. Going back to my wet brush, I will select a dark gray green to add shadows under the lashes lines. And in the corner of the eyes. We can blend it a little, making sure to keep some white in the eyes while having added depth to the eye’s expression. Repeat the process with the other eye. With the white ink bleed brush, we will add a little light reflection in the irises. As for the eyebrows, we can keep the same brush in a dark brown color and very small size and paint some hair following the direction of natural eyebrows. Now taking a look at my portrait, I feel that these eyebrows are too strong compared to the rest of the face. And I believe that the lines from the sketch are no longer needed. So unlocking the sketch layer, I will go and delete the lines of both eyebrows. Finally, back to my original layer. I will copy and paste the eyebrows hair above the other. I will merge the two layers and create a new one. Now that our basic coloring is done, let's have some fun. I want to add more color to our girls face. First, more blush on the cheeks with the crazy wet brush. Then I am choosing the wet brush and some nice deep orange tone to add warmth to the complexion. The orange color really brings out the green of the eye. And I will pick a rusty red to add on the other side. Note how the blending tool nicely smoothes all the pigments. At this point, it's up to you to add depth and color here and there where you feel it adds to the portrait. Just remember to keep some light on the forehead and center of the face to make it stand out. I hope that you are still with me at this point. This is the longest part of the class and you might feel a little bit overwhelmed by all these steps to paint the face. What I suggest is that once you have watched the whole process, you go on and start painting your own portrait in your own way. But using the techniques I have demonstrated. The way I paint the face does not have to be the way you paint one. You can experiment and have fun. It's almost like playing with makeup! I believe that we are almost done with the face. Just a few details are needed to bring some intensity to the final look. And we'll pick some turquoise color from the wheel. And with the ink bleed brush, simply scribble around the pupils in both eyes. Super easy, but makes a big difference. A few touches of white on the tip of the nose and on the lips also add nice highlights. And lastly, I promise, yes, lastly! We will give our girl a happier expression with a slight smile. With a wet brush in small size and a dark red, I'll simply add two upward dashes in the corners of the mouth, then blend them. We will also mark the lips’ parting a little bit more. And add tiny shadows in the corners of the mouth that will help suggesting a smile. One or two more shadows.. And finally, I am lowering the sketch layer opacity to about 55 percent. And we are done, my friends! 5. Hair Magic!: Before we move on to the next step, I will gather all the face layers in one group called Head. Depending on the mood you would like to create with this painting, You can leave the face as it is or make the whole painting more intense by duplicating the whole group. I like this deeper coloring, except for the eyebrows that are too intense. All we need to do is find the relevant layer and erase the coloring in one of the groups. I will also delete the sketch layer in one of the groups as we don't need such strong lines. And now let's operate some Procreate magic. We will move to the green and blue background and we'll transform it into our girls hair. I like this method because when you create a layer like this one spontaneously, without having in mind the idea of painting hair, the result is a lot more organic. So as you can see, I am using the transform tool in warp mode to shape the layer into a hair form. You can also add the Advanced Mesh effect to the warp tool to get more nodes and more control in your transformation. We will first give a general shape to the hair and frame the face by pulling on the various nodes. Next, I will clean the hard edges with the smooth eraser. You can then pick any watercolor brush you like to use as an eraser all around the hair. By changing the size of the brush, you will obtain nice edges that will later blend well with the background. I also recommend using the Push tool to further modify the shape and give it some movement. Lastly, let's clean the face, neck, and shoulders with the watercolor eraser. I know that our girl is looking a little bit weird right now. But don't worry, things will get better in the next lesson! 6. Background Design: It is now time to create a lovely background for our portrait. Let's open a new layer and hide all the other ones except for the paper texture. I will start painting my background with a light wash. The palette I am using is the second one that you can download from the resources section of the class. So I will start with a light yellow wash to cover the whole surface of the canvas. Let's create a new layer now and pick a new color and new brush. As you can see, I vary the size and opacity of the brush to get a variety of textures. I will carry on adding layers, painting with different brushes and colors from the palette... Enjoy the process of digital watercolors and whenever you do not like a stroke, just undo it by tapping two fingers on your screen. I'd advise you to compose the background in different layers so that you are later able to modify the opacity or blending mode of each layer. You will have more flexibility in this way. Of course, you could also use other colors of your choice. My tip for your project would then be to create your own swatches before starting to paint. And to have two different ones, one for the hair and one for the background. You will get a better result if the two palettes are made of contrasting colors. Like here, blue and green versus pink and orange for example. Or at least if one palette is made of cold tones then the other of warm colors. After experimenting with my background layers, I have decided to keep them all on normal blend mode and to merge them, we will set this new layer on darken so that the face and hair show through. We will then start by erasing the paint that covers the head, neck, and shoulders of the girl. Please note that I am erasing with a light wash brush. And you can see that some pigments are left, in places. This adds some authenticity to our watercolors, since colors often bleed in this type of loose painting. Next, we will start smoothing the strokes with various blending brushes, exactly as we did in the previous background painting. Remember to preserve some light in your canvas or to create some by pushing light colors into darker ones with the blending tool, for example. Once you are happy with your background, take a good look at your painting and see what needs to be balanced. For example, I believe that in my portrait, the hair is too light compared to the face. They have different levels of saturation. Now if I had not duplicated the head group, it would be fine. As a more light and pastel composition. However, I like the deeper colors, which means that I need to darken the head too. So we will duplicate the hair layer and play with the different blending modes and opacity. I am happy with the darken mode at 96 percent opacity. Once again, check your portrait because a new layer might mean some new tones in your painting and you might not like them. In the right corner of mine, for example, I am not very keen on this brownish green, so I will blend some pink into it. Also, check for areas that come out too bright, like this green here, and blend or erase some pigments. We are almost done now, join me in the next lesson where we will add a few boho details to our portrait. 7. Last details: Before adding the last touches to our portrait, let's play with some nice watercolor effects! I have designed the texture brushes from some of my real watercolor paintings. Let's just try the salt effect stamp. Like most of this brush set, it's best used at about medium opacity to keep the transparency of the original medium. You can try various blending modes. For this one, I think the color burn is perfect. Let's also add some salty texture with the spray brush. And now a few paint drops with the spray number two. You can test the various textures and have fun with them. I will just show you this dry patch stamp, which I like a lot. It should be used in a light color and will look as if some water had splashed on the paper and dried without anyone noticing. You can use it several times in one painting, but it's nice to transform it a little so that it looks like two different patches. Finally, we're coming towards the end of this class. The very last step in our portrait painting is super easy and fun. We will add a few flowers and ribbons in the girl's hair to give her this cool bohemian look. For this, we will use the lace and ribbon brushes that I am demonstrating right now. The ribbon brush is pressure sensitive, so you can nicely curve and swirl your lines. We have two types of lace and matching ribbons. Choose whichever one you prefer. I will pick number one in purple and draw a super simple flower shape without lifting my pencil. Here you can see a close up of the movement. I will add various colorful flowers not too opaque, as if they were simply stamped on the painting. If you paint the flowers on different layers, it will make it easier to rearrange them. You can also group them and move them around as a crown. Here I need a little bit more saturation. So I will duplicate the group and lower the opacity of the copy to 20 percent to still keep this handpainted look. You could also paint the flowers in white, for example. It's quite pretty. For the final layer, we will pick some color from the hair and draw some nice wavy lines that could be braids or ribbons. And our painting is done! Follow me to the last lesson to discuss your class project and how to download the brushes and other resources that I have prepared for you. 8. Project and Resources: I really hope you have enjoyed this class and that you are now feeling inspired and ready to paint with digital watercolors! The resources you might need for your project can be accessed by clicking the link in the project and resources section of the class. Your project is to use the techniques I have demonstrated in the class to create your own portrait in Procreate. I cannot wait to see your artwork! Feel free to post it here of course, or if you use Instagram to tag me so that I can see it. Thank you very much for taking my class. Keep creating and I will see you soon. Bye-bye.