Photoshop Basics, Digital Watercolor Painting | Sophia Maria | Skillshare

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Photoshop Basics, Digital Watercolor Painting

teacher avatar Sophia Maria, Illustrator / Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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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 (52m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Get To Know Brushes

    • 3. Finding and Installing Brushes

    • 4. Foundation Layers

    • 5. Adding More Depth

    • 6. Hair

    • 7. Faces

    • 8. Flowers

    • 9. Finishing Up

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About This Class

Get to grips with the sheer endless possibilities Photoshop brushes can bring. I'll talk you through the basics and what Photoshop has to offer. I'll also suggest you find a set of brushes online and import them into Photoshop for even more control and creativity. 

After some good old fashioned playing around, I'll talk you through my process of creating a family portrait. Step by step using all my tips to add texting, playfulness and fun.

For more inspiration, check out the portraits on my Instagram Page


The basics of Photoshop brushes and painting

- Plenty of experimentation

- How to import brushes and tools

- Getting to grips with shading and highlights

- Using watercolor brushes

- How to create a charming portrait all in Photoshop!


- A reference photo of you and some friends or whoever you'd like to paint

- a copy of Photoshop

- Optional: A web browser to download some watercolor brushes.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sophia Maria

Illustrator / Teacher


From London! I work mainly for Editorial illustration but also I dabble in the stationary and print industry. I have one published childrens book and hopefully more to come.





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1. Introduction: Hi and welcome home, Sofia. Andi, I create personalized portrait's for people. Andi, I've been setting them for about here and 1/2. Now, Today I'm going to be teaching you how to get to grips with the basics off, using brushes in photo shop, painting with brushes, invited shot. Which is how I create my personal, personalized, poor trades. We're gonna start with very, very basics on It's gonna be really fun. And in the end you will have your own personalized portrait. So all you'll need is a copy off photo shop on also a picture off. You and your partner or union family. Anyone you want to paint, you and your mates, it's up to you. So I'll I'll see you in the course, and I hope you enjoy it by 2. Get To Know Brushes: Okay, so you want to stop by opening a Photoshopped file? A four is fine and then create a new Neha. And to get onto your brushes, you can either hit bay or actually go to your toolbox and hit on the paintbrush. No hit on it cause you call it. It's a man in a ball, Um, on. Then at the top, there's dropped down brush menu, select any and then pick a color other than white. Basically, just start playing around with it. Ready? I run with the size, if you right click that brings the size up. It also brings up a hardness option. Obviously, the lower the hardness, the fuzzy of the edge you can right click again Midway, sort of mid fuzzy and full hardness means nice, crisp, blind around the edge. If we go to window and brush, we can start to see there are a lot of texture options that *** so brushes with different edges, different textures, and it's fun to kind of just explore this a bit more. You hit the flow at the top. That basically means the flow is less. It's quite self explanatory. I'm just having a play with different options. Different style brushes. It's size is different. Capacities layering you guys if we hit on the drop down brush menu at the top and then on the little cog in that it's separated each brush into appropriate, um, categories so natural, wet and these where it gets a little bit more fun. Capacity is good to play around with. That at the top dropped down. Sometimes you just want to add texture to something, and changing it to multiply can add shading. Really Well, you can see on my the credit love Dr Gladden Teoh signaling me Yeah, um and again on this brush pain that we opened from window There's tons of options here if you find a brush you like, But perhaps it's too dense you can take that down. So then you get really light spotting, which is great for shading. And now pasties. You could see it better rain pavement cross uh, shading on faces. It's really useful. I'm gonna delete that, Andi bearing all that in mind, I want you to just now just have a play trying out these different brushes from the options different sizes. You don't need to actually have to create a beautiful picture here. Just get to grips with that. Get to grips with capacity, transparency, options and just have a play. Because this is how happy accidents happen. Kind of looks like a tree, guys. And if I d recommend you use a drawing tablets. I you 3. Finding and Installing Brushes: So in this in the rest of the tutorial, I actually use a downloaded brush pack that I purchased on the Web If you Google. But I watercolor brushes, there are so many options. A lot of them have samples and textures to show you the kind of effects that give. I use Kyle's ultimate mega pack because it's freakin awesome. You could see this tons different options, and they really mimic riel, paintbrushes and water colors. So well, um, I imagine there are some sites that may offer you brush packs for free. It would just be a case of hunting those down, but that, honestly, there's there's tons of them over the wig that this is a free ones here. But I think Kyle's brushes a truly great I've had them for a long time. I hope you can still get them, um, and how to import only brushes, starting to document as you would on hit window and tools. Once you've done that, it load to a preset and find the document up. Sorry, the tool packed that you just downloaded the brush pack. Sometimes it saves as a tool or as a brush. Either way, if it saved is a brushed file. You do the same with but in the brush pain. You see all these lovely brushes here on these watercolor ones? Just show you they animate like a real watercolor brush. Andi, if you're using a tablet, the pressure, it reads the pressure as well, which is super exciting. I find this kind of thing just so satisfying. Um, and as you can see, there are a little bit. Well, let's be honest. There are a lot more effective than the brush is that photo shop that provides no offense, photo show still love you on like we did before. Just have a play. There are hundreds depending on which ones you downloaded. Get to grips again. See the limitations, See the capabilities. How does it handle capacity? How does it handle transparency? Um, and yet yet again, just just get to grips with it. Andi, In next section, we will stop painting 4. Foundation Layers: So this is an old customer order. They wanted me to pay them for their wedding day. Andi, they sent me this photo. Teoh uses a reference. Now I just dragged and dropped it into photo shop of made it the correct saris on the way to start something like this is to layer it up. So first we're gonna start with the skin to get the correct skin tone hit I on your keyboard, which will bring up the I drop it'll where you can select by clicking a section of the skin to get the correct skin tone. Then, if we hit bay are brush, make sure you selected one that's quite dunce because it's skin tone. It needs to be quite filled in and basically start tracing some off. The brushes have very rough edges, which can make people skin look very strange. Um, so that's what's good to get to know your favorite brushes before, So I'm just gonna trace all the sections of the skin that's my stomach rumbling. I'm sorry, and all this will make sense, thanks to players and Photoshopped making it so easy. So just take some time. If you go over the lines. It's OK. You can use your raise a tool to tidy up a bit, Um, on catch back up with you when you've done the skin. So I'm just finishing off her legs on. If we turn the bottom layer off, we can see we've got the basic skin. I don't know what I did there, Onda just tidying up these edges. So if we turn our layer back on again, or reference layer and start a new layer above the skin way, we're gonna hit the different brush just for a variety. Well, what to try? We get the color of the shirt using eye our eye dropper, and then we're doing the same with the cards. So it doesn't matter that I'm going over the tie because of what we do is create another layer on top. Makes it much easier than having to leave gaps everywhere. And you can already see that the the brush has this lovely, watery effect. No, you can. It doesn't need to be perfect either, because these air illustrations and the less perfectly looked more playful they are. Um so I am going round the hand here because this layer is above the skin there, so it would go up. But if you if you want, you can always it's sometimes it's easier to go over the layered something me and then a raise it that's completely up to you. Hopefully know about theirs. Um, so yes, doing this shirt. So at the moment I'm not doing any details, any buttons or anything like that, that'll come later. Um, I fell in a bit more because maybe it's a little bit transparent. And then I will do the same with his blazer. Her dress, his trials is, um you again by hitting I and selecting the color of the blazer, you don't have to be perfect with the color evil. You can always just I just use this as an outline reference on you know it. Create walkie colors, whatever you want or edit the colors slightly. So yes, Now do the next layer, which is the clothing there. And I will catch you soon. Hey, your love away from me You can hot okay your love away from me You can hot You're 5. Adding More Depth: So you've got the basic foundation off the clothes, all on separate layers. It's looking a little. Wash it, wash it. If we go to our layers panel lips, I'm going to select a different brush from. I'm going to set it to multiply because what I want to do is I want to make the suit darker by hit command and then hit the layer. What it does is it creates a barrier around his suit. So no, anything I do will be within that line so you could be freer with it. And it's just quicker and on the transparency at the top of hit multiply. And as you can see, it's darkening. What's underneath really nicely of use a slice, slightly dog brush. Then why did originate and you can just see It's adding loads, more debt and shading and detail because the texture of the brushes themselves are just wonderful. I'm gonna put a layer behind. I'm gonna do a shoes for me and just carry on tracing the image. Make sure breaking one separate layer just makes easy. If you wanna edit it later, Andi, then yes, we'll get onto details and stuff later. Carry on. She sure, and to 6. Hair: So now we're onto the hair can be tricky. I'm going to start again with the foundation collar. Now I've picked a yellow for her and a wonderful capacity here on again, similar to the skin tracing over this layer is on top of all of them so it can cascade down her shoulder. Just notice that's a multiply. I don't want anything showing through here brushed on creating little ringlets. The trick with hair will be the shading, so certain areas of the hair will need to be lightened. Look, people that have I never label my layers only when I'm doing tutorials. It's pretty bad habit like on we're doing same for him. Just base layer base color tracing the overall shape. I'm gonna aren't all those details and shadings. So what? I don't know. If you saw that, why did that was hit Dodge Tool, which is a little pinhead on the tool section. But I've chosen brush and you can also if you click and hold the pinhead, you can have burned to, which creates shadow official and it works the same as a brush. Except it's not got a color, you know what I mean. and so really the maker section lighter if using the Dodge tool or dark if you using the phone. And if it's way too much theseventies things air in the top bar, you can change the explosion, whether it's effective turns or shadows or highlights, cause I'm using the Dodge Tool to create shadows in his hair. Okay, and yes, sometimes what I was just doing before was troubling the reference photo on and off, just to see whether edges are lining up and whether it's true to the actual, um, shape of it itself. We're gonna do the same with her. I'm going to start with a Dodge tool. She's got very shiny hair. No. So any friends, that's Dodge stores just adding highlights. I'm gonna make it small. It was a nice ring nets just where you might imagine a ringlets to pick up light. It was a good for a highlighting effect, and she's got it. Got shading on her fringe, and, as you can see at the top, I've got it set to mid tones, mostly because the foundation hair colors on shadows. No highlights. So we wanted to work off mid tone. You talk to Dodge tomb. And even more my light trekking. It kind of looks like calls, right? I'm gonna maybe just hisses all of it. She has her parting in the middle, which most Parton's. This is gonna be shattered. Okay. Golden brown? No golden brown. Sort of just golden Rennie. She is very effective. And on the Dodge and burn tool you can use the brush is actually work as well. So you still get a texture. It's not just sort of a block, shadow or look, highlight. It does have texture to it, which is very useful. So I'm gonna carry on. I'm going to do his tie. His hand looks a little too transparent, so we fill that in, and then in the next section, we are going to do faces. Well, John 7. Faces: Hello and welcome to the face section. I'm gonna group everything just to keep out the way like that. Maybe clothes and faces clothes and skin. Whatever. I'm gonna send it off. And then above our reference, named at another there museum Right in. You guessed it. We're gonna trysts. Just take a color from his hair in a nice fuzzy brush, actually. Large in a bit. I suppose you brush for the eyebrows, members, but to write cheap. Right, Um So what? I'm gonna dio I'm just gonna Oops. They used to burn too. Just dark in the bottom. The eyebrows, more texture, more debt. I just use a black because after all, this is a car too, or administration. I'm just trace over the eyes. It's it's difficult to get a real likeness off people. Unless you're really careful on, Do you trace it pretty pretty calf today. But it's not necessary to be honest, as long as it has characteristics of the person during that communal, we're gonna take a dark skin tone and again, multiple make shirts and multiplied and drastically low other a positive. Just outline the nose because it doesn't need to be to dog to fight. So yet always you can always talk. Talk over your skin, layer on enough just to check out lines and things that just shaping the outline and adding some nostrils. It's a bit more realistic. It's tracing over this island here and in the grand scheme of this portrait, the eyes, They're gonna be so small anyway, lips, we're gonna take the lightest color of lips because we'll shave the NATO and again just shows it is possible. I want to go for capacity here. Sorry. And if you look at the original more picture, obviously there's a crease in the middle where the lips meet Theo, edges of shaded as well. So again, using the burn tool we can. Abdo's in just lowering the A positive that layer as a whole, just so I can see where the outline is, and then we'll bring it up just a number, and that we can see it's pretty true to the original. But until we're great and lowering the exposure, that's perhaps a bit too dark, creating the edge. You see death, maybe, but in the center as well, where the lips meet. How's that looking? That's cool a cool. Just the skin, you see, because they used a rough brush, a quick women there. I'm just gonna tell it either up because he's bugging me. And if you can see it's not quite, it's neck the you can see. Actually, the skin isn't reaching quite the edges. It's probably wise is quite important to mention all your zoom didn't remember we did the skin quite far away. You probably want to be exhumed in just to make sure you can see it was my eyes. Yes, that's kind of him dumb. It takes more time, maybe to, um adds more detail, eyes on the raising minutes just to shape that island bit. She was just a raising. It's looking pretty sure to him again. Not that that's the aim you could give him for us, perhaps to tattoo on the face, darkening the eye sockets on the skin layer because he's got quite a her Did I. Now I'm adding the shading to his face, which will help outlaw in his jewell chin again with the burn tool the most useful to ever on the cheeks. Just, uh, they happen Memorial, because he was getting my just add a little line, his eyes taking the bear until now, just adding some more shading. The thing with frustration was on fire to show is if you add every single line something like this. If you were trying to do something very photo realistic, obviously you need to put every single beach in that. But there's something like this. It can age that really badly, so it's almost better than less. You do the better, that kind of thing. Um, and I'm just filling in gaps where the watercolor brushes have left out because it can make the face look a bit odd if they're gaps where they shouldn't be. Eso my skin there. I'm just filling in those gaps. Yes, seeking revenge. Be happy with it, shading that cool on. Now I need you to do exactly the same with the lady. Have fun with Dutch, make it look pretty 8. Flowers: Hello. Welcome back. We're now going to create a new layer and start work on this lovely bouquet of flowers that was require a bit more detail, I think. But a good way to start is the foundations again. A foundation color with a nice didn't brush. Perhaps. I see a minute bet. Just the tracing, the bottom shape. And then with the burn tool, I can add the edges of the petals really easily. Money plays, escapes, help like that. I'm with the Dodge Tool, just adding highlights where you might see a highlight on a raise color on the edges. Actually, court work needs to be much darker. It was lovely. Edges on roses by there, slightly darker. I don't know what's going outside going on outside, if you can hear that. I'm sorry. Uh, sounds like I live in the ghetto, but we can darken those. Make it more realistic. It's really like a rose too much. Yet I'm just gonna fill it in in a different color. It's a bit dark game trial, an era. There we go. It's less transparent. I'm just gonna go over it again. Remember this in the grand scheme of the image is gonna be tiny. It doesn't need to be perfectly detailed. Um, arm doing it very quickly just to show you kinda happy with that. It's troubling on a no. And then what we're gonna do is I'm gonna for each flower on a different layer on just do the same. The others using a base color, then using the Dodge Tool to create, uh, outlines of petals and shadings. Very similar to what we did with the clothes. A case. It just takes some time now doing that with them. Any detail on your page if they're trees in the background or prince on a on the clothing. Um, if you don't have a bouquet of now was all new reference image completely fine. But it's just a good technique drawing flowers. It's so satisfying. Um, so it would be worth Actually, crack sings in flowers because the's water colors brushes were just made for making. That was really anyway, so, yes, have a go with that. I'll catch up with you in a second, so I'm just creating these bugs on a cold. I'm holding option first selecting the selection tours that's V on your keyboard and Then if I hover over the bud and press option and drag it, it will duplicate them. Basically copy and paste. But much quicker. I'm holding the auction key and just dragging them, and I'm filling in the gaps place. Maybe do another woman's slightly different. Then I have a layer underneath at the shading rental man friend. Merge those layers. Why do in command a selecting both letters? Emergen. Come on A. I'm doing the same again. I'm just repeating anyway as you work continues. So I've created a lot of elements and if you turn the bottom layer off, you can see there are still some gaps. So what we're gonna do is we're just going Teoh do that little trick with the option and drag tool. I'm gonna fill in the gaps, making sure there's lots of variety maybe adding some new elements. New Clowers to make something above the layer in that area you have command and then the bracket That's like a square bracket. I don't know what it's called. Come on, square bracket. The right one takes up a lair. The left one takes down a layer. Yes, that makes any sense. I don't know time. I'm just creating some extra elements. I really love buffets. That looks likely wild to these grassy things. It's just a stem with Dr Rahm side, but it makes it look a lot prettier. More of those, maybe like week or something. 9. Finishing Up: say that kind of looks all right for the flowers. I'm gonna bring that right now. There will be one of the document we obviously need above her dress, but under her hand. You guys Oh, don't mellow produce. Why? Out of ribbon here, as she has in the photo as this is a customer order, they like it to be pretty true to the original. Uh, just so we can see little ribbon peeping out because it's a place ribbon on the photo. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use the razor tool. Just ideal holes. Just a bit of detail on this is the time to do any finishing touches anywhere where the skin, it has any gaps, you know, on some detail of the fingers with the burn tool just going to see referring back to the reference to silicon Get these things has been a bit more human, I think Fingers, hands and feet. But the holiday ist things to draw. Of course, we need a little spotlight for the wedding room, and I'm just adding little lace details with a very thin white textured brush basically doing just little swells to give the illusion of nice that she hasn't had bodice on then over to the dude. We're going to give him some more details in a moment, but first Oh, that it's really booking may. So if you've overshot any of the layers, you can just literally go and shave it off with the razor. As you can see, hers doesn't quite meet address that. It's a strange I'm just gonna even out her skin tone. Whoa, it's unmarred by what happens Just gonna even out. That's a bit again. I'm just shaving bits off address, actually, lips a little bit too far down, so everything is flexible as long as it's on a separate layer. That's a lesson you may learn the hard way, like I didn't going to AJ the wine, glass and for glass really easy. It's just gonna be a white line, obviously, cause it's C three. Just a thin white line is quite effective, but we're obviously going to fill it with pink champagne because is there? Why didn't I? All right, um, she's oclock now. Some fingers with burnt off this guy. He deserves fingers. Two men deserve fingers. Tubes, right. Also gonna fit in her legs because that looks strange. I just would have dressed that taking a color with the eyedropper tool off the original dress, darkening the edges, the rental gonna have a little better shading on the in all. It's like more human putting in her legs as well. Over the layer in the layers panel hit command and click toe outline that just to keep whatever I do within the confines of that line, his face a little fill in as well. It's from afar. It looks strange that's getting there very nearly done. We're gonna add with a very thin white brush, very small lines outlining his lapels. As you see here, the edge of the jacket where his arm is bending, increasing. It's a just very lightly, very sort of flowing strokes. Little pocket there, using a thin white brush is just really good to just up those details, because if you stop doing that to sort of religiously to the vote, it just loses the playfulness of it. So it's a good way to keep that. So, yeah, it's pretty much done Any final touches spitting in where the world colors a bit too opaque to transparent. Sorry. Yeah, I'm here You go. Makes a wonderful gift. Maybe you could go into a rival business of May in starts setting them. Don't do that because you're probably make for much more money tonight. Um, but that I mean, the great gifts to give to people. I do a little pets as well, so you could always get into that. Um, yeah. Thank you so much for taking my class. I hope you've enjoyed it. Who has been useful? I have been useful, but a lot of people have requested a basics video. So that's kind of ploy, Captain. It's, um also with some tool packs, brush packs, you get blend tour, which sort of smudges them. But you can also use this much talk info to Chef in. There. We have it. Congratulations to the happy couple. I still haven't found a husband