Digital Art : Painting A Realistic Pet Portrait | Margarita Bourkova | Skillshare

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Digital Art : Painting A Realistic Pet Portrait

teacher avatar Margarita Bourkova, artist | dreamer | infp

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Sketching Shapes


    • 3.

      Sketching Details


    • 4.

      On References


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Building Up Layers : Fur Fundamentals


    • 7.

      Building Up Layers : Detailing


    • 8.

      Building Up Layers : Highlights


    • 9.

      Bonus : Photoshop Tips


    • 10.



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About This Class

If you've always wanted to create a portrait of your favorite pet, or just love animals and would like to learn some tips and tricks to help you draw them, this class is for you! I'll teach you everything i know about painting animals, from my sketching technique to how i paint realistic fur. I'll also share a few tips to make your portrait stand out and create beautiful visual effects in Adobe Photoshop. 

This class will be featuring my favorite model in the world, my dog Mars :) 

What you'll learn in this class : 

  • How to choose one or several good references
  • How to get the proportions right when sketching
  • How to paint realistic fur
  • Tips for editing your colors and creating 3D effects

What you'll need : 

  • At least one high resolution photo reference of an animal
  • Any digital painting software - i know not everyone has Photoshop, that's why i'll only be using some basic tools and a simple brush for most of this class. 
  • A drawing tablet or anything else you usually use for your digital work. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Margarita Bourkova

artist | dreamer | infp


I'm margaw, a freelance artist based in rainy Belgium. I'm self-taught, and i really believe anyone can draw if they really want to! I created this channel to share my drawing techniques, my personal tips and tricks, and to support others on their creative journey. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if there's a particular technique you'd like me to teach -- i'm always interested in your feedback!

Ballpoint pens are one of my all time favorite art supplies, i really enjoy using them for almost anything : rough sketches, stylized drawings or even photorealistic illustrations. They are easy to find, cheap and, once you've got the hang of it, really fun to use. Sadly, most people aren't familiar with them... that's why i teach several... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: hi, everyone in this new digital art class, me and my furry assistant, we show you how to paint a realistic portrait of your favorite animal from sketch to finished in. Frustration will explore references, painting for adding lighting shadows and those special finishing touches that will make your painting stand out. So grab your digital art oohs and see you in the next video. 2. Sketching Shapes: the first thing to do when planning a detailed and realistic painting is creating a preliminary sketch. Depending on your process and preferences, the sketch can be rather rough or more detailed oce of your examples of both styles. Keep your references handy as they're an important part of the sketching process. I'll only be using the soft from brush for this whole course. It's one of further drops default brushes, and you confined similar brushes in any digital painting software. What I like about the soft from brush is that you can use it both for very soft, blurry but also more precise strokes. It's part of my sketching process. I'm also creating a color palettes based on my reference picture, mostly brokers. A darker brown fur, the shadows, a couple of lighter colors for the body and dark gray for the snout in the eyes. All this colors are here to help you. We'll be using them for the sketch and the under painting. But of course they might change later on, and that's perfectly fine. If you're not sure about how to pick your colors, you can use the eyedropper to directly on your reference picture. My only advice would be to avoid pure white and pure black simply because it's not realistic. For example, it's really rare to find pure black in nature without the touch of grey or blue due to delighting. Once you have your color palette, you can start his catch in this first lesson are surely how I create a very rough sketch with just a few simplified shapes if you don't feel comfortable. But first you can start by sketching directly on your reference picture. So without paying too much attention to the details, I simplify the shape of my dog into a couple of triangles for the head and just the sort of trapeze for the body. You can't simplify it more than that, so now I draw the same shapes on my canvas. These shapes will serve as a reference for a slightly more detailed sketch. I'm so using simple shapes, but now I'm going to add the different parts of my dog's head so the ears and this not at first. It's really starting to look like the shape of a dog so I can erase the first simplified shapes. I true and keep this simple outline and now I can finally start drawing my dog's head with more details again tried to stick to simplified shapes as much as possible. It really help you with the proportions. And the more you do this, the more you practice with simplified shapes, the easier it will get to sketch animals and faces and to capture the likeness. I sketched some of the four to simply to get the general direction of it, and I add some smaller details, like the eyes. 3. Sketching Details: Hi again. We're still working on our sketch. Some artists prefer working with a very rough sketch like this one with just the general proportions, the general composition and they add, the details lay the wrong. I just like to prepare a more detailed sketch before the start painting. It's really a mother of style or workflow or simply a matter of personal preference. If you used to very rough sketches and that's the way you prefer it, you're free to skip this lesson. But for those who don't mind a more detailed sketch, here's my process. I started by lowering the capacity of the layer with my rough sketch, and I create a new layer for the detailed sketch. That way, I'm sure to keep the same proportions in my new sketch. The goal here is to refine the sketch as much as possible. You might find out that the eyes should be slightly smaller, for example, or is now a little bit larger. Now is the time to touch up the shapes if necessary, and even re scale or reposition your sketch on the canvas. 4. On References: Let's talk about references for a bit. It's not always easy to find the perfect reference with the perfect pose, the perfect colors and lighting. So sometimes it can be interesting to combine a few different photos. Let's have a look at the photos I chose for dis painting. I didn't end up using all of them, but they are all interesting for different reasons. So here I have a picture that I would like because of delighting. I really like this outline of light that makes the dog stand out from the background. This one they Joe's Because I like the colors. The jokers have a more reddish quality that I find really interesting, this one I used for the post and general composition. This one is a close up that I find interesting because you can really see the details of the snout and the hairs. But of course, unless you're really going for a very photo realistic painting, you won't need this kind of very detailed reference. And finally this one. At first I wanted to use it for the pose, but in the end, the picture is a little blurry and the colors on really to my liking. So I decided I wouldn't use it at all 5. Underpainting: after you finish sketching your subject, it's time for the first stage of the painting process, which is the answer. Branding the under painting is usually the first layer of your painting. That's counting the sketch, of course, and it serves as the base for the painting. It's why you block into colors and the values I create a new layer that I will put under my sketch layer. That way I can easily call or the sketch and blocking all the colors from my color Balet. But don't forget that your color palette is only there as reference. You're free to change it at any time, or yours additional colors if necessary. My main goal for the under painting is to cover every part of my sketch so the background isn't visible underneath. But other than that, I don't waste time detailing anything. At this point, it's just about creating the base of the painting. Once it's done, I create a new layer on top of the sketch layer this time, and this new layer will be about detailing the most important parts of the painting, maybe the dog's head. I like to have this third layer that kind of combines, catch and painting. It's a good base tohave before starting, really working on building on players of detail. I also like to add swatches of all the colors I'd like to use in the painting, and I also add some basic lighting to the peace. Once it's done, I emerge all my layers, so I have one layer for the under painting. If you're not happy with your college at this point, you can edit them or simply add some more contrast or lighting to your piece. If you like. You can also add some minor details to differ, but don't overdo it. We're going to focus on the for in the next lesson. 6. Building Up Layers : Fur Fundamentals: before we start painting the four, it's important to have a good look at the reference picture you didn't see that differ is growing in different directions, the first creating patterns that will have to copy. So when we painted will have to follow the same directions, it will make the painting more realistic. So I create a new layer on my painting and start with some self strokes following the same directions as in my reference picture. I'm still using the soft drum brush, of course, at around 50% capacity. The size of the brush will determine the level of detail of the for, so if it prefer, creating a more Roth painting, you can use a rather large brush for a more realistic look is a smaller brush and just keep adding hairs in the right direction. - You might have to erase some bits from the lower layers. That's perfectly fine. Sometimes I even adjust parts of the under painting as I go along people , now that we know how to paint for, it's time to start building on players and adding details to the whole body 7. Building Up Layers : Detailing: this part of the process is by far the longest and can take up to several hours, depending on the size of the animal, the size of your brush and, of course, the amount of detail you're willing to put into your painting. So take your time and just go methodically from top to bottom, following the for patterns from your reference picture. - If necessary, you can use some of furniture ups planting modes. Here. I use the color mart too quickly. Add some color without altering the rest of the painting here on the body, the hairs away longer than they are under head, and they're creating different types of patterns. Always keep your references at hand, so you don't know what type of pattern to pains. - Here's also another tip for more realistic. For usually, the upper layer of hair will be lighter and contrast to the bottom or inner layer that, simply due to the lighting, the bottom layer will always be darker, hidden in the shadows. So start by the bottom layer with a dark color and then add more hairs on top of its with a lighter color. - Building up layers of detail really is about this alternating between darker and lighter, for to create volume and contrast 8. Building Up Layers : Highlights: after we finished painting the for its done toe. Have some fun we photo shops blending modes. I tried a few different modes, and I settled for overlay with a low opacity toe at some colors here and there. It's best to duties on a separate layer, so it's easier to raise it if you don't like the results. Now, remember my lighting reference with this very light outline that I really liked. I want to recreate the same effect on my painting, so I create a new layer and at the same type of outline with the overlay mode. Using a very light color with the overlay mode is a great way to create highlights, and we will really make your bending stand out. I'll also add whiskers and all the small stray hairs that are visible in delight. I did this with the self drum brush at around 70% capacity, and then I slightly erase the tips of the whiskers so they're more realistic about from the outline. I also like to add highlights to the eyes simply to make them stand out. - If you wish, you can also add some shadows. The light is coming from the right side in my painting, so I added some shadows to the left side of the body 9. Bonus : Photoshop Tips: We are now almost finished with this painting, so I'm going to share with you a few tricks that I've learned over the years and that will make your bending stand out. First of all, I'd like to add some depth of field. The my paintings. Part of it will be sharp and in fuckers may need ahead in this case, and the rest of it were more blurry. There's creating the illusion of depth and volume. It's really easy to achieve this effect by using the IRAs blow to in photo shop that lets you select the area to keep in focus. Another thing you can do to enhance your painting, you see, adjust the colors or create color for effects like a chromatic aberration. So let's see how it's done. I create Kobe's of my painting and start experimenting. Go to channels and select one of the three colors available here. Red, green or blue chromatic aberrations are created with complementary colors, so choosing red means you're get red and green, then click on the I Aiken on the RBG layer. Now you have to select the whole painting, so use this short cuts this electric transform the layer and see how it created a slide chromatic aberration with reds and greens around the dog. You can adjust it so it's not so obvious, and it creates a slight tree. The effect? Which is really cool. Now let's try something else. I use another copy of my painting and on the new layer, decide to feel the whole painting with a flat color. I add noise to this layer and then said the layer to overlay with around 50% capacity, and you can see that it gives a cool texture to the painting. Here's another way you can edit the colors in photo shop. You have here a series of different color effects that it can use to make your painting stand out. I chose one that added more saturation to my painting. Finally, don't hesitate to combine multiple effects. Let's write a chromatic aberration with another color. Bring this time, and for this one, I'd like to really exaggerate the effect to really give it a free the luck. And let's combine this open that a color effect with distills. You're really free to experiments so you can make multiple copies of your painting and try out as many variations as you wish 10. Outro: Thank you so much for watching this class. It's time to get busy and paint a portrait of a furry friends. I'd love to see what you're working on, so don't as a day to share your sketches. Working progress shots are finished. Paintings simply posed them in the class project section. Don't forget to follow me so you won't miss my next glasses. And you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram. See you soon.