Digital Painting in Photoshop: Create a Stylized Portrait | Melissa De Nobrega | Skillshare

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Digital Painting in Photoshop: Create a Stylized Portrait

teacher avatar Melissa De Nobrega, Digital Painter

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.

      Finding Reference


    • 3.

      Setting Up Your Workspace


    • 4.

      Create a Valuescale


    • 5.

      What is Stylization?


    • 6.

      Sketching a Foundation


    • 7.

      Blocking In


    • 8.

      Painting Shadows


    • 9.

      Painting Highlights


    • 10.

      Exaggeration and Clean-Up


    • 11.

      Finishing Touches


    • 12.



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About This Class

If you want to stretch your creativity and paint a portrait that’s stylized, rather than realistic, then this class was made for you.

Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours teaching myself to paint portraits digitally. I’ve made some horrifically ugly pieces and others which were my absolute pride and joy. In this class, my goal is to take those years of experience and set you up with the closest thing I’ve come to calling a ‘portrait painting formula.’

You’ll be using a digital medium, like Photoshop, to create your artwork. You’ll walk away having learned to:

  • Source good reference imagery
  • Sketch a foundation for your painting
  • Create a value-scale for reference
  • Block in big shapes and paint smaller details
  • Exaggerate features
  • Make finishing touches to your artwork

For your class project, you’ll work on your own black and white stylized portrait using the formula covered in class.

This class is recommended for intermediate artists. Although beginners are more than welcome, it’s important that you at least have some working knowledge of the software you’ll be using to paint, as I won’t spend too much time explaining tools in detail.

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa De Nobrega

Digital Painter


Hey! I’m Melissa and I create classes to help artists get better at digital painting. I focus on teaching traditional techniques like inking and sketching, but using software like Procreate and Photoshop.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: If you're interested in stretching your creativity and learning how to paint portraits that are stylized instead of realistic, then this is absolutely the class for you. I'm Alyssa an illustrator and graphic designer. Over the years, I've spent hours upon hours teaching myself how to paint digitally. In this class, I'm hoping to take everything that I've learned and transfer that over to you. I've come up with the closest thing that I can call to a portrait painting formula. During this class, we'll learn how to source good reference imagery, sketch a foundation for our painting and this is already where we'll begin to explore some stylization. We'll create a value scale for reference while we paint, we'll block in big shapes and paint in smaller details, and then finally, we'll make finishing touches and adjustments. To paint, I'm going to be using Photoshop, but you can use whichever software you feel comfortable with. I do recommend that you have a working knowledge of the tools and the program that you choose. For the class project, you'll be working on your own black and white painting following this formula that I've created for you. If you're ready just to get started, then let's just go ahead. 2. Finding Reference: Let's talk about reference images and what to look for and what to avoid when sourcing a reference image for your painting. On the left-hand side of my screen, I've got images that I would typically avoid using. Then on the right-hand side, I've got images that I would personally use when I'm painting as a reference. If we take a look at this image on the left-hand side, the reason why I wouldn't use this one is simply because it's very low in contrast. There aren't really a lot of shadow shapes on her face or her body. I think it's interesting. I really love her hair, I love the shape of her glasses, I love that she's got accessories. But the image itself as a reference for painting, it's going to make my job really difficult. If we take a look, basically to describe the form of her head, all I have are these highlights maybe a little bit around the lips. I don't really have any shadows to help me describe the actual form and how it turns in space. I know that her forehead is round because I know that foreheads are typically round. Other than this highlight shape, there's not really anything. A shadow right over here would be great. That would help me describe to the viewer the actual dimension of her head. This image, although it's a beautiful photo, it doesn't really make for good reference when painting because it's just not giving me enough information. If we look at the Navigator, you can see that her upper lip right around here, it just disappears on a very small-scale. To describe the shape of her nose, we really only have this little shadow in here which when I'm painting, if I paint something like this, it's just going to look like a line. It's just not descriptive enough. I need bigger shapes, bigger shadow shapes, and bigger highlights as well. On the other hand, if you take a look at this image, you can see on a very small-scale, it reads so much better than this image. That's also not really a black and white versus color thing. So we'll knock this one out as well. You can see you basically have the same gray. You've got the same mid-tone gray all throughout this image, if I were to paint it. There's very low contrast. When we take a look at this one, you've got higher contrast. You can actually see the shape of her nose, you can see her lips, the cheek area. You've got lots of different shadow shapes that are really helping describe the form of her face, the form of her head to the viewer. Lots of different shadow shapes. I personally also really like this image because I think it's really interesting that she's got one light ear and one dark ear, and of course, the shape of her hair is just really fun and unique. She's also got some accessories which are fun to play with as well. This image I actually quite like and I would use it myself. But the one on this side, although I like the subject, I just think that for a reference image, it's going to make me work really hard. If I were to paint it exactly as I see it, I run the risk of painting a very flat image. Like I said, we would be mostly using this mid gray with a little bit of highlights. It may make our painting look especially flat and not three-dimensional. We'll move on to the next image. On the left-hand side, I've got an image that the lighting is very, very diffused. Although they're both naturally lit, one is, I think, better reference than the other. This one, we're really losing a lot of information all around here, everything just looks the same. Open up the Navigator and you can see her nose disappears. Again, we basically only have the highlights that are helping describe the form. We don't really have the shadows that are helping to describe the form to us. I can't really tell if this is all just makeup or shadows at all. It really just looks like makeup. But if we were to knock this one out as well, let's do black and white. Again, you're working with that same value. If you were to paint it, right in here, you completely lose her nostril. You're just painting with the same gray everywhere and then you've got some highlights. That's basically it. Maybe down here you have some shadows, but the shadows themselves are very light. There's, again, not a lot of contrast. Now also another reason why I would avoid a photo like this one on the left-hand side is because everything is so soft, the lighting is so soft, the background is blurred, around her hair is blurred. Everything just has this blurry filter, which means that when I'm painting, if I'm not paying attention well enough, I'm going to lose a lot of my hard edges. In our paintings to create visual interest, we want to have a lot of soft and hard edges to contrast. A soft edge would be something like when I'm using this brush. So that's the soft edge. Then the hard edge would be this. You can see literally a soft and hard edge. In an interesting painting, we want to have both of those present. In this reference image, if I'm really not careful, I could lose a lot of the hard edges by accident. To contrast that, on the right-hand side I've got still another photo that is naturally lit, but obviously it's got a lot more hard edges. The focus of the photo, her arm and the cloth are out of focus, which bring those soft edges in, and we lose her hair in the background. Again, it could be another soft edge, that could be where we use the soft edge. Then along her face on the inside, we've got a lot of these harder edges. We've got this nice shadow shape right here on the eye. We've got this hard shadow to help define the shape of the nose, and here as well, there's a little bit of shadow here. But even near the fingers, you've got a lot of information that really helps you understand the form and understand what you're looking at as a viewer. One of the things that I don't really like about this photo is this awkward, cross-shape that's probably coming from the window pane, that shadow being casted on her face. That would be something that I would eliminate if I were using this photo as a reference, like a pseudo shadow. It's just something that I would probably remove because I think it's a little bit awkward. For the next one, on the left-hand side, I've got a photo that I definitely wouldn't use. This image is great because it's got a lot of those shadow shapes that I was just talking about, a lot of these shadow shapes. These really help us understand the form and their contrasting, of course, with the highlights that we have here. Now, this photo to the left is definitely something I don't want to use. I like the photo. I've never been a fan of using these super colorful photos as reference because they are just confusing visually, I think. When I look at this photo, there's definitely a trick of light happening here. It basically looks like there's a light shape that's just dropped on top of his head and it's flattening out the shape of his head for me, it's harder to read. Again, usually the photos that I choose not to use, I don't use them because they're difficult to read because it's difficult to see where the plane changes happen on the face or on the head. We've basically got the side of the head and we've got the front of the face, but it's difficult to determine where the side of his head is versus that front. If you look at this image, it's very clear. This is all the side and this is the front of his face. Whereas over here, I don't really know what's going on. It's because the lighting is so soft, and then I've got this big blue patch over here. Photos that are very heavily filtered, whether that's the coloring, the lighting, it's very soft, it's diffused, I tend to avoid. I go for photos that have higher amounts of contrast. I usually go for black and white images so that I don't get distracted by the colors, and if I need to, I might make some subtle adjustments to some of the photos themselves just so I gain a little bit more information when I'm painting. I'm not going to be painting exactly what I see, but I do want my image to give me enough information that I can make a choice. I can choose to include the ear or exclude it. But when I look for a reference image, I want something that's going to give me a foundation and then from there I make choices and I make decisions. In the Resources section below, I'll go ahead and link to a couple of different sites where you can access royalty-free images that you can use for reference. 3. Setting Up Your Workspace: Once you have a reference image that you like, you can go ahead and open that up in Photoshop. One of the first things we're going to do is set up our Canvas. We're going to go to File, New. I usually just paint on 8 by 10 in portrait. That's usually just in case I ever want to print it, 8 by 10 is a pretty standard size. You could frame it. For resolution, we're going to use 300 DPI. The reason for that again is if we ever choose to print it, that'll give us a nice, crisp, clean printed image. We're going to work in the RGB color space and everything is fine. We'll go ahead and we'll click "Create". Okay, now to arrange our workspace, we're going to go to Window Arrange, and we're going to do two up vertical. This will place our windows side-by-side. This just ensures that we always have easy access to our reference image and we don't actually have it on the same canvas. We don't have to worry about painting on top of it or adjusting our canvas to the size of the reference image or anything like that. Now we'll just quickly cover the tools that we're going to use most of the time when we're painting. We've got the navigator, the brush, brush settings or brush properties, and this is where we might alter the pen pressure at some point. Brushes, you can access from this quick panel. I usually just get them up here, and properties we may or may not need this. I usually just leave it open. We've also got our layers open and our color wheel open. If you don't have any of these, just go to Window, and you'll find them here at the navigator for example. You just click it and it pops open. If you're missing any of the ones that I just mentioned, go ahead and find them up in Windows and set them up. Now for brushes, I usually use pretty much three brushes when I'm painting and I don't usually use any more than that. I like to use a round brush, a square brush, and an airbrush. Okay, so the first brush I use is round brush, and it's set to adjust to my pen pressure. If I'm pressing lightly, the amount of paint that comes out is very light and quite transparent, and then if I press harder then it gets darker. The next one is a square brush, and I usually use this for blocking in. So, blocking in big shapes, and so I usually turn it up so it's really large and just coloring with it. The last brush is an airbrush, and you can see the edges of it are very soft and I usually use this one for blending. All of these brushes are set to respond to the pressure that I'm using in my pen. Sometimes I'll use a pencil brush. Sometimes I actually don't sketch when I'm painting. Sometimes I'll just go straight to walk-ins. But if you want to use some pen or pencil brush and you can go ahead and do that. Otherwise, actually the round brush will do the exact same thing if you just shrink it down in size and make it really small. You don't really need anything super special. But those are the three that I usually use. As a disclaimer, the brushes that I use when I'm painting, I've actually paid for. They're not Photoshop default. I bought the pack from a creator called Eric J Anthony. I think he sells on my income road. I'll drop the link in the resources section below if you want to check it out. I'm not affiliated with him in any way, I just really like how the brushes work. I find they work very well, like out of the box, and I don't actually have to make too many adjustments to them. If you don't want to buy brushes buy I don't blame you, then you absolutely can use Photoshops. Default brushes, we just need the round, the airbrush, and the square brush. Photoshop has all of those already. There are also lots of free brush packs. I used to use a brush pack from control paint for a very long time. That one doesn't have a square brush in it. Instead it's called the round the airbrush, and it's like elliptical kind of brush. But those ones are also really, really great. I'll also drop the link if you want to check them out. Otherwise, go ahead and use default brushes or brushes that you know that you love to use. 4. Create a Valuescale: Now we're going to start by creating a value scale. The purpose of the value scale is really just going to be to ground us and give us a point of reference when we're painting. Sometimes I'll actually color pick from the value scale itself. But basically, if you ever get confused as to which value you should actually be using when you're painting, then you can compare your reference photo against your scale, and you can also compare your own painting against your scale, and it will help you see the difference if you've gone too light or too dark with your painting. All we're going to do is set it up now. It's very simple. It's basically just going to be black on one end and white on the other, and everything in-between are all the different shades of gray. We're going to do a seven-step value scale, which means we're going to have seven different values in our scale. The gray that goes right in the middle of our seven-step value scale is supposed to be the perfect gray. Basically, if you had the same amount of white and the same amount of black and you mix those together, you get this 50 percent gray. It's just this perfect gray blending right in the middle. From this gray, as we get closer to black, our grays are going to get darker, then as we get closer to white, our grays are going to become lighter. That's how we get this very transitional gradient scale. All I'm doing here is, I'm actually just painting in the grays. I don't bother. But I mean, you could be mathematical with this if you want to. I really just like eyeballing it and guessing, so I just go ahead and I mix right on the layer. What I'm doing when I'm creating my scale is, I'm trying to make sure that there's a distinct difference between the grays. Basically, when I'm moving from one gray to the next, I want to make sure that it gets maybe about 50 percent darker. If you look at number 4 and number 6, number 5 is actually right in the middle of those two. If you were to again take the perfect amount of number 4, and the perfect amount of number 6, mix those two together, then you get value number 5. Just like that, if you were to mix value number 5 with value number 7, you get value number 6. That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to make sure that we get progressively darker, and then on the light side trying to make sure that we get progressively lighter. Because I'm going to have this value scale up the entire time that I'm painting, I'm giving it its own layer, which I've named value scale, you can see over there. I'm just going to clean it up. I'm just going to make sure that everything is a nice little square. I use the Lasso tool and I'll just delete the junky edges that I created, just to clean it up a bit, and that's it. 5. What is Stylization?: Let's talk about stylization and what that means for us. When you're stylizing a piece of artwork, what you're doing is you're stepping outside of the realm of realism. We're not going to be creating something that looks like a photograph at the end of this class. To stylize something essentially means to simplify the shapes and the forms, the lines, sometimes even the colors that you see. In some instances, you might actually end up with something that looks more like a cartoon rather than something realistic. The way that it's going to work is we're going to use a reference photo of a model, and we're actually not going to be going for an exact likeness. We're really just using the reference photo as a source of inspiration. If your model, for example, has really big eyes and a really small nose, you can actually do the exact opposite in your portrait, and you can make the eyes really small and the nose really big just to see what happens. We're really just trying to explore and see what shapes we like, and we're just playing around. I've got a couple of different examples that I want to walk you guys through. What I'm going to talk about is sort was going on in my head when I was approaching this painting. Why did I make certain choices? Why did I choose to stylize something a certain way? Just walk through that brain process. This first example that I have is painting that I did a while ago. I remember what I really loved about this photo when I was looking at the photo, I really loved that dewy glossy skin, and I loved this eye area, as well as this lip area. Like I said, it's just the skin looked so dewy and so glossy, and I thought that would just be so much fun to paint. That's what I focused on in my own painting. You can see how I made the highlights severe wherever I saw the gloss, I wanted to put that in. She looks shiny, which is what I was looking at in this photo. I was looking at how shiny she was and I wanted to translate that. The bottom area down here to me wasn't as important. I didn't really care too much about it, so I didn't focus on it as much and that's why it's so simple here. But then when you look at the clothes actually, I had a lot of fun just with all of these little blue jean details, and so I really wanted to capture those and put those in. That was just fun for me. That's why the clothes gets detailed. But up here, not really too much. When I'm painting, I'm painting for me, I'm exploring, I find things about the photo that I like and then I focus on those. With the ear, you'll see that ear is really big, so the eye is also really big. The reason I did that was because I really love that ear and I really love the eye. When I mentioned this eye area, I painted it nice and large because that's what I was looking at, that's what I enjoyed, I liked the shapes, I liked the little eyelashes and that lid area. Now, with the ear, I saw this shape, it's got this shape. That's what I see when I'm looking at this, I see this geometric shape. For her ear when I was painting it, I wanted to create a geometric shape. I forced this shape in. Obviously, her ear isn't really like that. I don't think anyone in real life has an ear like that. It was the same as saying with this hair, I really liked this shape in here. To me, I really wanted to imitate that. I wanted it to be boxy, and so that's what I did on this side. Instead of having it round on the top and square on the bottom, I said I really want to play around with the shapes. I want to push and pull the shapes, so I did the exact same thing here, I had it boxy. Then when it came to this little bob, I thought I want to do something a little bit more fun. I also, as you can see, was running close to the canvas, so instead of making like a little round ball, I just did something like that, and I was, that's good enough, that's great. When I'm looking at an image and I'm making choices, usually what I'm looking at is I'm looking at the different shapes and sometimes the different textures. Like I said, this one was about textures. I like the glossiness, the shininess here and then I love the roughness and the details of the jeans, and so you can see that that's what I focused on. Now, I'm jumping a bit ahead here, but I want to show you a bit of the process. This is my working file, and I've got all the different layers here. I can show you where I would start off. This isn't where I would start off. This is where I would start off. I start with a sketch. My sketches aren't always fabulous. Sometimes they're awkward, they're weird, the proportions are messed up, they're ugly. I'll do one version and then I'll sketch on top of that to fix up some of the mistakes that I felt that I made. I'll continue to explore in this phase, continue sketching. The next one I did, you can see because of the ghosted lines. You can see I pulled ahead out a little bit more this way and fixed that eye. This was the sketch that I ended with. I said, "I really like the shapes that I'm seeing here. I think I'm ready to move on." From there, that's when I start doing the block-ins, and I start blocking in some basic shapes and shadows that I'm looking at. It's always shadows first. Then finally, I start adding in some of the lights, and then continuing to refine that. Tackling some of the hair. At this point, this is when I finally start tackling some of that jean material, and a little bit of clean up there. You can see I was messy in here and then I cleaned that up and made some adjustments. We're going to go through all of this step-by-step, from the sketching, to the painting, to the adjustments. But this is a sneak peek into the whole process and how it comes to life. We'll move on to example number 2. For example number 2, again what I was focused on is the shape. Stylization is going to appear differently for everyone because no two people think the same, we don't have the same experiences in life, we're not all interested in the same things. For me, I'm really interested in a shape, and so that's usually what I focus on, and usually what I exaggerate. When I was looking at this image, I really liked this line here, this how the neck blends right into the shoulders and right into the hair. I also really liked in his hair how it was really weighty, but then also really choppy. He's got these little ponytails that are chopped off and it was very choppy, so I did that exact same thing here where it's choppy. I again really focused on that line there. You can see how big the line is. I even pulled his neck out a bit more so I could emphasize it even more. Then I remember, I really love the eye again, and I saw this really strong cheekbone and jawline. That's what I focused on, again, in my painting, that cheek, and jaw and then the eye. I thought his lips actually look really nice and shiny and plump, and I wanted to emphasize that as well. The lips are bigger and the eyes are bigger than they actually are in the real photograph. His nose actually, I've made it a little bit lighter in there. If I show you where this one starts off, I can really describe to you the process during the sketching phase. This was the first sketch, very basic, very quick. I was just trying to anchor in, where is the lip? Where are the eyes? Then I saw these angles. I kept seeing these angles. I really like those angles, and I decided I want to force them into my drawing. I've got this line that's repeated several times to create this kind of rhythm, and the next time I drew my sketch, you can see I forced the body to join up at all of these different lines. That's how I forced this rhythm into the image. Then after I was happy with that, again, same painting process, so I would continue. I'm working only in the shadows for awhile. This one is a little bit different from the process that I'll teach you. I jumped back and forth between shadows and highlights, but usually, I only paint shadows first and then highlights on top. This one is slightly different in the method, but I wanted to show you anyway. You can see it, just all of the paintings happen step by step. In this last painting, what I really loved about this photo that I was looking at were the extremely harsh shadows. I love that. These shadows just blackout all of the information. Like his shirt, there's barely any detail in there. I have no idea where his chin actually ends and where the neck begins. The upper lip, it looks like it's almost black, and the eyebrow, the shadows are so intense that they blend in with his hair and make these giant caterpillar eyebrows. Remember in the reference photo, I talked about revealing some of the information, you don't always have to, it's choice. In this one, when I was looking at this picture, I said I really love these dark shadows, I want to focus on those. I wasn't really painting his features and I wasn't really focused on exaggerating any of these features, I was more so focused on capturing those shadow shapes. This is where I started. Really basic sketch. This was just to anchor everything so that I wasn't painting with no indication of, I don't put his eyes somewhere up here and the other one down here. Just some really simple shapes. Then from there, I started the block in. This one I did entirely with a square brush. It was a very quick painting, it was no more than half-an-hour, but I was just dropping in a bunch of different blocks because I thought, "He looks really blocky. It might be fun to use a blocky brush." I continue painting, and here's when the highlights finally come in, and then continue to refine until we're done. That was basically it. Like I said, a very fast one, but in terms of stylization for this one, what I was really focusing on were those shadow shapes and how everything in this picture so angular and so blocky, and so I wanted to bring that into my own image. When you're looking at stylizing your own image, you can ask yourself a couple of questions. What do I like about this image? What do I want to focus on? Is there anything that I want to tell the viewer? For example, with this one, I wanted people to see, "Look how shiny her face is. Look at how luscious the lips are." That's really what I was seeing and that's really what I liked about this one. Ask yourself couple of questions, stylization is different for everyone, you're probably not going to stylize things the same way that I do. You may not care so much about shapes, you may care more about textures. Don't be afraid to explore and try different things and make ugly sketches just to experiment while you're working on your own class project. 6. Sketching a Foundation: When I'm sketching for painting, what I'm doing is I'm actually looking for specific shapes and angles. I'm not really interested in doing a perfect drawing, because I know that this entire thing is going to be covered up with paint anyway, and it's just going to disappear. Sometimes when I'm drawing as well, I'll draw shapes that I see. Like I've got this little line that I've drawn on the shoulder which represents that shadow on her shoulder. That's what I'm doing when I'm sketching, I'm just looking for landmarks. I've switched to that pencil brush, that I had shown in our workspace video. Like I said before, if you just wanted to use a round brush to sketch, go ahead. Or a square brush, it doesn't really matter what you use. Again, we're not making a perfect drawing, we're literally just dropping in some landmarks, so that when we're painting, we're not 100 percent guessing. For the face, I've dropped in these construction lines. I've got that vertical line, I dropped it down so that I know where the middle of the mouth is and where the middle of the nose is. For the nose I'm not trying anything, or shoulder, or anything like that. That nose shape, it's a big shadow, so I've just colored it in. I'll make larger adjustments. I'm using the Lasso tool to tilt the head because in general, I think, I just didn't tilt it enough. I'll just grab the entire thing and just do a quick transform. I know that I tend to, draw really big. Something that I usually have to do is just transform the entire drawing and shrink it down in size. Because right now I can't fit in the hair, so I'm just shrinking it down so I can actually draw in the hair, because that's one of the things I love so much about this reference photo is, all of the hair that she has. I definitely don't want to lose that. When I'm drawing the hair, I'm not drawing really any of the strands at all. What I'm looking for is the general shape of the hair. Like I've already said a couple times, I think, I'm not going for a drawing that is 100 percent accurate, but I still want to check to make sure that accurate, that my proportions are correct, that one eye isn't higher than the other, or that the nose is off-center or anything like that. What I do when I want to check for accuracy is I'll actually grab my rulers. You can use Command or Control R, to pull up your rulers, and then I'll just drag both the vertical or horizontal release, it depends what I'm actually checking. Here I've picked the cheek area there, that cheekbone. I've dropped in a vertical ruler on my drawing, and then I'm dropping in a vertical ruler in the exact same place on my reference photo. I'm looking down that ruler and I'm seeing, are there any landmarks that line up with that ruler that I can double-check line up in my own drawing? You can see on the reference, her elbow crease lines up with the ruler, as well as where her hand overlaps her other arm. We've got that perfect little V-shape in there, that lines up with that ruler. If you look over at my drawing, you can see I've completely missed that. I'm way off. I've got, well, maybe not so bad with the crease, but the hand is completely off. My choice, if I want to correct that or not. I think, I want to fix it up a little bit. I think a quick and easy adjustment for me is actually to move the position of her head, as opposed to redrawing that arm area. I'm going to push the head over a little bit toward the left-hand side, and then I'm going to realign my ruler. I'm still on that cheekbone area and now I'm double-checking. Now I'm a little bit more accurate. Still off, I'll fix it a little bit, but I'm not super concerned with that. You can do this in any spot on your drawing. You can use, like I said, the horizontal rulers if you wanted to make sure that your eyes are aligning properly, if you wanted to make sure that the bottom of your nose is aligning properly, or even like the corners of the lips, the corners of the mouth. Another thing that I often do is I actually flip my canvas. I've got my keyboard shortcuts setup. It's not setup by default. I use Command or Control F, to flip. Flipping my image, it refreshes my eyes, it refreshes my brain. It allows me to see my errors quickly. It gives me a new perspective, basically, on my drawing. Once I'm happy with my construction drawing, what I'm going to start to do is I'm actually already going to start to stylize it. What I've done here, I skipped ahead. What I've done here is I've actually duplicated my layer. Just in case I do anything that I wish I didn't do and I need to go back to my original construction drawing, I'm working on top of a duplicate layer. I'm trying to create a more dominant shape, instead of these little ankles and stuff like the jawline, for example. The jaw, it looks like it overlaps the neck, like those two don't line up. But I might actually want to do the exact same thing as I did with the chin and line those up, because that simplifies the shape, and to me that looks more stylized and lets me focus more on the overall shape, of the person as opposed to like all of these little bumps and snags, and things like that. I may want to start exploring the shape of the hair. I'm not really too happy. I'm not really too sure that I'd like the mushroom shapes that I've got going on right now. I'll pull my picture down a little bit, so I can see better. I'm just going to start exploring with the shapes here and seeing what I like. Here, if I just quickly turn on and off the layers, you can see the construction drawing, and then you can see what I've done. There's not a huge difference here. Mostly I've just simplified that shape around the chin and the neck area. 7. Blocking In: Let's talk about block ins. This is our next step. What I've done is I've created a new layer on top of my sketch layer. I've locked both my sketch and value scale layer to make sure that I don't paint on top of those. Now I'm going to take my square brush and I'm going to just basically color in the lines. I'm going to give myself a base to work off of. When I'm looking at my model, I'm looking at where the darkest darks are and where the lightest lights are. When I'm painting, I know that I want to preserve black and white, so those are the two ends of a value scale, remember? I know that I don't want to paint with either one of these because once I paint with black, I can't go any darker than that and once I paint with white, I can't go any lighter or brighter than that. That's like the end of the line. If I just painted her hair in pure black, if you look at her hair, she's actually got lots of shadows in her hair as well that are being cast by the curls. If I painted the entire shape in with black right now, there's no way that I could ever get those shadows in because I've gone as dark as I can. Always when I'm painting, I preserve black and I preserve white just to make sure that I can always go darker or lighter in my paintings. The darkest points on her are her hair, her clothing, the shirt, I don't know if it's a dress, the shirt, and I'd say her eyes, those are all very dark, if not the darkest points on the painting. I'm going to use my my second-to-last color there, so my number 6. I'm going to start filling in my shapes with number 6. I've opened up my navigator to basically give me this aerial view. If I were really far away from my painting, does it still translate? Does it still work? Does my painting still a read a very, very small scale, like a thumbnail scale? If it's not working in the navigator, then I know that I have a problem. I always keep the navigator open when I'm painting just as another point of reference. I'm going to move my sketch on top and I'm going to set it to multiply because right now I'm still coloring in the lines so I'm just using my sketch as a reference and I need to be able to see. Next I want to paint her skin and the model has fairly dark skin. In general, her skin is more of like that mid-tone, so that 50 percent gray and then there are highlights on top of that. But the base skin tone isn't that bright. It's actually, I'd say about the middle gray. For the majority of my painting, I'm going to be working with these guys down here and I can just ignore the brighter values at the top. I press "Alt" when I'm using my paintbrush and that takes me straight to the color dropper and I'll usually pick up colors from the painting itself or from the value scale. The way that I work when I'm painting is I always work basically from biggest to smallest. Right now what I've done is I've blocked in the biggest values. You can see they're completely flat colors. I've really actually only used two values at this point and then I'm going to continue to work in more and more detail, so I'm just dropping in the eyebrows. I'll drop in the color of the eyes, but I'm not actually getting stuck in any of the detail yet. I want to ignore detail. When it comes to the eye shape, I know because I've looked at skulls and stuff like that and studied a bit of the anatomy of the head. I know that our eyes are in sockets and we've got our brow bone that juts outward a little bit so our eyes are usually actually in shadow. If you look, you can see that her eyelids are and then she's got the bags under her eyes like the lower lids. Those are all actually a little bit darker than her cheek area and that's because they're in shadow. There's also because her hair is really big and curly, it's actually casting shadows as well onto her face. I'm going to go ahead and generally tint around the eyes just a little bit darker because I know that in general they are darker. At this point, I'm not painting personally, but I'm trying to set myself up so that I've got the majority of my values down and the majority of the larger shapes down. I want to make sure that I don't get stuck in details at this point. One of the ways that I make sure I don't get stuck in details is to make sure that my reference image is basically zoomed out like it is right now or I'll zoom out even further to make sure that it's a little bit smaller. Because if I zoomed in close, I would be able to see her nostrils, I would be able to see the pores in her skin and I don't want to focus on any of that stuff right now. I keep my picture zoomed out and that's how I make sure I don't get caught up in all the small details. Now I move down to the neck area, so right underneath that jaw. If I squint at my reference image, I can see that there's a pretty hard line between the bottom of the jaw and that neck area. But the rest of her body actually the shadows are very soft. I'm switching to my airbrush and I'm going to use this one for the shadows. There aren't too many hard edges on her arms, so I'm using my airbrush to just bring in some of that darkness. I'm looking up at my navigator again to make sure that what I'm doing works. I would still consider this blocking in. It's starting to look a little bit like painting, but I'm just generally trying to get some of those values in. I really want to say colors. When I'm blocking in, I typically don't focus. I don't focus on any of the highlights or anything like that. I just work with the shadow areas and I block in those larger shapes. Now I'm just adjusting the shape that I created earlier with the hair. I don't think that I like the shape that I have right now. I'm not really too sure what I want to do with it, so I'm just playing around with that shape right now. I'm looking at the navigator to make sure that it translates well. 8. Painting Shadows: This is where I ended up. I changed the shape, a little bit of the hair. Let me switch over to my heard round or I'm going to turn up the pen pressure. I can see that there's that brightness in the light of the eyes. I just want to drop that in quickly. The right eye actually is not as bright as the left. I've used different values there. This is the only kind of brightness that I'm going to bring it into the painting for now. Other than that, we're just going to be painting in the shadows. Now I'm actually going to start looking at the different shapes. I want to make sure that the eye shape is a little bit more accurate, that it looks more like an eye, and remember to pull up and that Navigator again so you can see what you're doing. This is where I'm beginning the refinement process because that's really all painting is. Right now, I believe I'm working with the second darkest value on our scale. I'm looking for where do I see this same value in my reference image? I see it around the eye area, and I see it around the nose area. All this stuff is a little bit darker than I've made it. I'm going in, I'm bringing in those shadows. I switch to my airbrush because a lot of the transitions on her face are actually quite soft. They're quite blended in. I'm using my airbrush for the majority of this. I'm watching the Navigator again to make sure that what I'm doing translates at a very small-scale. Because if it doesn't work, when it's really small like that, then I know that I bought a bigger problem. I'm bringing that darkness into the cheek. A lot of this cheek area is in love. The highlights here we overvalue skill and so am going to ignore that for now, and I'm just going to try to paint in the shadows that I see. I'm looking at the direction of light on my reference image and her back is kind of in shadow. The light is coming on from the front and maybe from the right side of her. I know that her back area is kind of in shadow. Then where her hair overlaps her forehead, she's kind of got these curly bangs. These are also going to cast shadows on her forehead. I need to darken the forehead still. I did that earlier, but I don't think I went far enough. I'm going to try to bring in some of that darkness. As I fix up this forehead area, I'm color sampling from the mid-tone gray on my painting. That isn't a highlight that I'm bringing in. That's that 50 percent gray again. A little bit navigator. I think for most part, it's working, it's coming along. We're still in the very, very early stages of our painting, so don't be discouraged. Things are looking really weird or crappy right now. I think paintings always go through this really weird process where they just look ugly for about a good 80 to 90 percent of the time that I'm painting. Then finally at the end they start to come together. Again, the neck area is quite dark, like right underneath that jaw. I'll bring some of the darkness in there again and right around that sort of shoulder area as well. I think maybe a little bit too dark with it. I'm going to bring in some of the mid-tone again. Because again, I'm looking at my navigator and seeing that it's looking quite dark in my navigator and everything is starting to blend together. You can't see her shirt, for example, in the navigator. After make a mental note of that and I'll adjust that in a moment. When I'm painting, I usually paint out of the lines a lot actually. I'll go in and I'll clean it up afterwards. You can see with the airbrush, it makes a really big mess. I'm not worried about that because I know I can fix that later. I know that I still haven't gone dark enough with the shirt. For example, her eyes and her hair. I can stand to make those darker. I'm going to turn up my pen pressure, and what that does is basically it makes sure that I don't have to press so hard or repeat my stroke so many times because more paints is coming out of the brush. I turn it up while I'm trying to fix up these edges of the shirt here. I'm cleaning that area up again, when I look at the navigator, it's looking a little bit better. Not as contrast to E as the reference photo, but better. Instead of staying focused in one one of my painting, I like to jump around a lot. So I know that I'm going to have to dark in the shirt at some point, but I'm going to leave that for now and I'm going to start focusing elsewhere. When I look at the right eye, for example. In my reference photo here you can see that she's actually got a big strand of hair covering her eye. I don't want that in my painting. I'm going to have to make it. I'm just going to paint the eye in to the best of my ability and just pretend that that strand of hair isn't there because I don't want it in there. When I'm done that, I'm going to zoom back out. Because remember, I don't want to stay zoomed into my reference photo for too long because then I run the risk of just getting stuck on details. I look up at my navigator and I think it's looking better in the face area. I think the eyebrows, you can't even see in the navigator, so I need to make those a little bit darker. I'm going to work on the nose area, so zooming in a little bit again because I know that she's got a shadow that's being cast by her nose, but then you can also see a tiny bit of the nostril there. I like that little detail. I want to kind of get that in there. I'm just going to zoom in a little bit because it's hard for me to see far away what's going on with the nose. I'm going to zoom in a little bit here. Just to work on this a bit and then I'll leave it and zoom back out. As I'm painting the nose here and focusing on that shadow shape, trying to make sure that I get that accurate. Then the lips obviously, when I was blocking in with a square brush, the lips were very messy and the shape is totally wrong. Now I'm going back in with my round brush and just kind of refining or just fixing the shape. I'm bringing some of that darkness into the loop. If I squint at my reference photo, I can see that the upper lip is ever so slightly darker than the bottom. I want to do that in my painting. Sometimes I'll flip both my canvas and my reference image just because it helps kind of reset the brain. It allows me to see these kinds of errors that I couldn't see otherwise because I was already so lost in the painting. I'm Just fixing up this area. Then I'm going to start working on the jaw area. There's a slight little shadow because her chin is round, that I want to make sure that I get into my painting because I don't want her face to end up being really flat. I'm going to switch to my airbrush because I know that the shadow in here underneath the lower lip is quite soft and in my painting is very hard because I made that just with a square brush. That's my basis to start. Then I'm just going to start trying to like blend it in. My blocking gives me a good base to start from there I refine. That's all I'm doing here, trying to bring in some of that softness using my airbrush. 9. Painting Highlights: Finally, we're going to start bringing in some of the lights into our painting. This is where we're going to start working with some of those values on our scale that are closer to white, still not with white, I'm going to reserve that. But I've got highlights in the cheeks, the nose, the lips, and that shoulder and collarbone area. First I'm going to focus on the shoulder. What I've done is I've compressed all of my old layers and I've created a new layer on top for my highlights. I'm going to use my eraser to actually cut into some of the bright paint that I just put down, because her shoulder has this little shape here, this square shape. It's not as soft because I've made it. I'm actually just erasing some of the highlights. Now I'm going back in with my airbrush to brighten up some areas. I actually, before I started the video, just threw in some bright areas of the hair where I think most of the highlights are, just messily I threw it in there. Again, as you're painting in highlights, make sure to look at the navigator to see if you've gone too bright, like in this collarbone area, I think maybe I've made it a bit too bright. I think also I haven't made the shadow hard enough. I'm going to go in with my round brush and paint in along this shadow area and highlight area. Now I'll go into the face area, the nose and the cheeks because very obviously these areas are brighter than I've made them. I have to be careful not to make the right side of her face too bright because when I squint the right side of her face, the majority of it is actually still in shadow, so I want to make sure that I'm going too bright with it. I'm starting to zoom in here, as I refine around the eye area, getting a little bit more detail. As we continue the painting, we always get a little bit more into the detail. Clearly, that's not where we start. We start with the big shapes and then we get smaller and smaller. This is where I'm striving to refine the eyes a little bit. I believe that's the cupid's bow area. I just forgot what that's called, but that area of her lips are really bright, I want to make sure that I capture that, and the bottom lip is catching a lot of light as well. Right now I'm getting a little bit caught up in the detail. I like painting in the lips, the little lines on the lips. Sometimes I do that maybe a bit prematurely. Because it does happen, sometimes I still get caught up in details and once I notice that it happens, I just zoom out and I move on to something else or a different area of the painting. There's a little bit of brightness on the chin, so I've dropped that in, and I'm comparing all over, I'm comparing the different spots. Is the shoulder as bright as the cheek? Have I made it as bright? Should it be as bright? Should they be the same? Is the nose brighter than the cheek? Is the nose brighter than the shoulder? I'm just comparing always the area that I just painted. How does that compare to the areas that I've already painted? Do I need to go brighter or do I need to go darker? Now when I'm looking at the navigator, I see that my painting definitely is not as dark as it could or should be. Because I've already used basically the darkest color that I can use without using black, what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to create a new value right in between black and my number 6 value. This is something that I do when I'm painting, is if I notice that I need a value that I hadn't created, then I'll go ahead and I'll create it. That's fine. I know that I need to go darker, but still not too black, so I'll just start painting in. I'm looking for the darkest areas. The nose [inaudible] , the corners of the lips, the eyes, her hair and her shirt, these all need to be darker than I've made them. That's all I'm doing right now. I'm using my hard brush, because if you look at her shirt, it's got very hard edges in comparison. If you compare her shirt to her shoulder, or her neck, or her cheek area, all of these areas of skin, they have very soft transitions where the highlights bleed out into the shadows, whereas the shirt has very hard edges in comparison. I'm not using my airbrush for the shirt by any means, I'm using my hard round and I'm painting in the edges of the shirt. When I open up the navigator again, you can see that it's way more accurate than it was previously. You can see the hair I still haven't made as dark, and that was the same value as the shirt previously. Now you can see her arm actually whereas before it was harder to see her arm because it blended into the shirt. But now the two contrast a lot and you can see that these are two separate things, the shirt and the arm. 10. Exaggeration and Clean-Up: Again, I've compressed everything into one layer, and the reason for that, is I'm actually going to try to push my painting a little bit further, the stylization of it. I use Photoshop's Liquify filter to do this. When I was looking at my painting, I just thought, it's not bad, but I want to do a little bit more with it. I feel like I could push and pull some of her features a bit more. I'll put my painting into Liquify, and I start pushing things around. I want to change the shape of her hair again, I'm still not happy with it. I'm using this little pushing tool to reshape it, and I'm just looking for, do I like this shape? Don't I like this shape? It's a quick and easy way to manipulate the painting. I want to push the arm in a bit, just adjust some of the body. My favorite thing about Liquify it is actually playing around with the features. Something I like to do is shrink and grow things. Make her eyes really, really tiny or I can make them really large. I just want to see what happens. I can always undo any of these changes, so I'll make her eyes really big. I think she looks creepy. I don't think I want to keep this change. But it was worth exploring. Maybe it's a tiny a bit bigger. What else? Maybe push the nose out a bit. We should change the facial expression, even make her smile. It's all a little bit creepy, but any change that I make in Liquify, I would then paint over. Actually, it's something sour. I actually really like this, I want to keep it. Try making the lips bigger. I don't think that's working. I think I just really like it when she has pursed lips, and she looks so upset. Anyway, we'll undo that. I just made some subtle changes. Sometimes in Liquify, I make some pretty massive changes. Sometimes I won't. Sometimes I'll just make some really small, small changes. But that's usually how I use Liquify. Now what I want to do is I want to clean up the painting a little bit, because I've made a really big mess around the body area especially. Usually, what I do is I'll create a new layer and I'll grab the background color and I'll start creating just these hard lines. What you could do is actually mask the layer that you're painting on if you know how to create a layer mask. But usually, I just paint the background color in. You can see up in the Navigator, it's really starting to take shape. The body part especially, now that I've cleaned it up, we can really see the person because it was very messy before. Now I'll start painting in some of the hair. When I'm painting in the hair, I'm not going to paint in every single strand of hair. That would drive me nuts. What I'm going to focus on doing instead is just picking out a couple of these strands and just hinting that her hair is curly. I'll draw the strands around the edges of her hair, so around her bangs and right around here. I'm picking out some of the curls. But that are on the inside, I'll just messily scribble it in to give it some texture. But I'm absolutely not doing a strand by strand, and I'm not doing curl by curl. It's a bit abstract. I'll use a big brush, and I go in and messily sort them in. It's only around the edges that I focus on defining the curls. I switch from a big and a small brush. I usually use a smaller brush near the edges where I want to find some more of the curls. I switch in between the big and small brush because when I look at her hair, I see that she's got larger clumps of curls, and then she's got really small ones as well, so the curls themselves range from thick curls to thin curls. That's why I'm doing the same thing. I'm imitating what I'm seeing at this point. I soften in some of the edges by bringing in some of the background color again. I soften the edges of her curls. In the Navigator, things are definitely coming along. I think her eyebrows could be a little bit darker because in the Navigator right now you can't really see them that well, so I'm going to make them a little bit darker to match the hair on the top of her head as well. 11. Finishing Touches: We're coming to the end of our painting. This is the point where I review my work to make sure that there's nothing that's super off about my painting. When I look at the position of her nose I actually think it needs to move to the left a little bit. So that's what I'm doing now. I'll grab the Lasso tool and I'll just grab the nose and shift it to the left. I wouldn't use Liquify for this because Liquify can be finicky I find. The Lasso tool just gives me better results when I'm just moving something over. Once I've broken the image like this, I need to patch it up. But that's a really simple fix. I'll just color sample from around the areas here and I'll just paint in all of the gaps. When I'm finishing the painting, I'm double-checking my work. Then finally at the end here, this is when I'll actually start to bring in the pure black and pure white. Pure white, not usually so much. But for example, something that I'll do is I'll take pure black and I'll drop it right into the eye. Because usually when I'm painting a portrait, I want my viewer to look into the eyes of my subject. So the eye area is where I'll have the most amount of contrast. Soft and hard edges as well as color contrast or value contrast. The eyes I'll make like pure black and then I'll actually drop in some white for the white of the eye. I don't usually go pure white though because I find it's very jarring. Especially on this painting because most of it is like in that mid-tone range to the lower end of our value scale. So adding pure white into this painting is especially jarring. I want to add some highlights as well because I just think her eyes look a little bit dead to me. Even though she's got no highlights in the reference photo and the reference photo looks fine I think in the painting it looks a bit glazed and dead. So I'm just adding some highlights to the eyes and then I'm going to bring those highlights into the nose and like that lip area as well. Maybe even brighten up some of the cheek. I also haven't added any highlights to her hair. Doing so would really add some three-dimensionality to it. So I'm going to go ahead and just drop in a few highlights because right now her hair is really flat especially on the right-hand side. So I'm looking at my reference image and I'm pulling out some of the shapes that I like. But even in the reference image, the highlights in the hair or not that bright. What I'm doing is actually way too bright. You can see how it's not realistic. Looks like she's got some crumbs in her hair if you look at the Navigator. So I need to soften that. I'm going to do that by adding a mask. Remember earlier I talked about masks. If you didn't want to paint the background directly onto your painting when you're doing your clean-up, then you can use a mask instead. So I'm using a mask here. I'm just using the mask to hide some of what I just painted. It softens it. You can see the Navigator now it's not as jarring as it was before. The finishing touches really are for me cleaning up any problem areas, as well as cleaning up the painting if I colored outside of the lines anywhere. Then also just adding in the highlights and adjusting some of the contrast. The very last thing that I like to do sometimes is I'll actually add a mask. If I make a composite layer of everything, that's Command Option Shift E. Then I add a filter to that called Unsharp Mask. I can actually sharpen my entire image, which means that it makes it more crisp and reduces some of the blur. So I'll do that. Then the only real areas that I want to sharpen are around the eyes, maybe some of the nose and the lips. Again, I'll use a mask to hide the filter that I just applied and only apply it to the eyes and that nose mouth area. You can see in my tiny little mask over there, layer 5, the black on that little mask is hiding everything. Then the white areas are where that layer is being revealed. So in that way only the eyes and such are being sharpened. Okay guys, so I want to take a moment to talk about something really important to do when you're painting. It's actually taking breaks. For the entire duration that I filmed this class, I didn't take a break once. I didn't get up from my computer. I was completely wrapped up in what I was doing. I had mentioned during the painting that there were a couple of things that I wanted to fix. I would get to it later, like the eyes, the shape of the hair I wasn't really happy with. But after I had finished filming the class I was like, this is great, this is done. I'm happy with it. It's good. I went out for 15 or 20 minutes to walk the dog, and when I came back and took a look at it I was like, my God, it's so obvious. I know where I can make adjustments. So I did things like fix up the lips. I simplified the shape of the lips. I change the shape of one, if not both eyes and fixed up the hair, as well as increase the contrast. All of these changes that I made, I believe, make the painting better than it was before. So make sure you disconnect from your painting. A good 10-15 minutes, at least maybe every hour. But especially if at any point you're feeling frustrated. If you are frustrated with the drawing that you're creating, you're not happy with it. Take a break. Absolutely. Same thing with painting. If at any point you're really stuck or you start negative self-talk, maybe you're painting isn't good, you don't know why you're doing it. Take a break for sure. Be nice to yourself. Give yourself a mental break, and just try again later. 12. Conclusion: Thank you so much for sticking with me throughout the duration of this class. I really hope that you've learned something new. In regards to your class project, you can find the instructions as well as any of the links that I said I would post. So links to brushes, links to photo reference sites, those are all in the Projects and Resources tab right below this video. Please post your class projects so I can see what you've been up to, and so you can share your work with your fellow students. If you want to, you can find me on social media, well, Instagram really. I'm not really anywhere else, @melissadn_art. I think that that is all, so until next time. Bye. Oh, one more. Please leave an honest review if this class has been helpful for you, if you struggled with anything, just an honest review because it helps your fellow students figure out if the class is worth their time as well. So yeah, thanks for being a part of this community. See you later.