Paint a Portrait in Adobe Photoshop: Blank Canvas to Finished Illustration | Gabrielle Brickey | Skillshare

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Paint a Portrait in Adobe Photoshop: Blank Canvas to Finished Illustration

teacher avatar Gabrielle Brickey, Portrait Artist -

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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.



    • 3.

      Photoshop Interface and Tools


    • 4.

      Tablet Properties


    • 5.

      Finding and Editing a Reference


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Drawing & Details


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Finishing Touches


    • 10.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class

Learn how to create a beautiful portrait in Photoshop! From set up to finished drawing, Gabrielle will walk you through the steps of making a realistic portrait. Using Adobe Photoshop CC and a pen tablet, learn how to create a work of art!

From finding references, to creating thumbnail designs, Gabrielle will show you how to plan your composition. Then from that solid foundation, Gabrielle will demonstrate how to paint with values, draw detailed anatomy, and how to soften and harden your edges.

After that, learn about blending modes, how to add finishing touches like skin texture, and how to save your files for display on the internet.

Check out Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits first for more in depth lessons on how to draw the portrait anatomy and planes of the face, then join in and try your hand at painting a digital portrait in this instructive class!

Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gabrielle Brickey

Portrait Artist -

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Hey there! I'm Gabrielle Brickey.

And I'm so glad you're here!

I teach artists like YOU how to draw and paint portraits and characters you can be proud of. I'm so excited to help you improve your art skills, gain confidence, and create the art you've always dreamed of!

Jump into class. Let's get started. :))

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1. Introduction: My name is Gabriel DeCesaris, and I'm a portrait artist. A couple of years ago, I made a class on drawing pencil portraits, but now, I'm back to show my process on creating digital portraits. Digital painting is great, because unlike any other media, you have an "Undo" button, you have every color imaginable, and with Photoshop, the possibilities are just endless because it's such a powerful tool. In my class, I'll walk you step-by-step through my process, and I'll show you all the tools I use, as well as how to program your tablet for faster workflow. Then I'll show you how to go about finding a reference, making thumbnails, painting with values, and I'll also share tricks for how to draw accurate proportions. I'll also talk about edge quality, textures, Photoshop effects, and how to upload your images for viewing on the Internet. Digital painting is such a fun medium and I would really recommend to every artist to try it. By the end of taking my class, you'll have a beautifully sparkling digital portraits. 2. Materials: For this class, you'll need a tablet and pen. Wacom makes great tablets. Many artists like the Intuos and Cintiq products. I'll be using a Wacom Intuos 3, 9 by 12 and Photoshop CC 2015, but any version of Photoshop should work the same. If you don't own Photoshop, you can download a 30-day free trial from the Adobe website. For this class, I'll be working on my PC, but you can use a Mac if you'd like to as well. 3. Photoshop Interface and Tools: I like to have the following open in Photoshop when I'm painting. Navigator, color, history and layers. Many of the windows Photoshop offers won't be necessary for this particular lesson. For now, just move them out of the way. To find the windows you need, go to Window and then click the ones you want to open. Say I unclick tools by accident as seen on the left side, to get it back, just go to Window and then tools and it will show up again. Once you have Photoshop setup with what you need for painting, go to Window, Workspace, new workspace, then make a name for your painting workspace. This way, if you ever accidentally find yourself missing something or in the wrong workspace, you can always find it under your previously saved workspace. To open up a photo, just drag and drop it into Photoshop. Often it will stick right to the bottom of your options bar. If you ever wish to get it off their say if you're working on two images at once, just click and drag the title bar of the piece while pulling it down and release it. The Move tool is an important tool. With it, you can move selections around. Like you see here. Right now I'm using the Rectangular Marquee tool. This tool can be used to select smaller areas of the piece. Once you select something, click your Move Tool and you can drag your selection to a new area or use the arrows on your keyboard to push it around. You can also use the Lasso tool to select. With the Lasso tool, draw the shape of whatever you wish to select. This is a good tool for moving around proportions, perhaps an eye that could be out of place. To deselect any selections, press Select in the menu bar, and then click Deselect. The Crop tool is essential for creating compositions. In Photoshop CC, you can pull the sides in the corners of the piece in and out to create your desired crop. There's also a feature which puts an overlay of compositional helper lines on top of your piece and this tool can be really useful. For a portrait, most often the focus will be the eyes. You can use these helper lines, in this case the golden spiral, to help crop your piece in a way that brings balance and focus to your composition. The Eyedropper tool is perfect for picking up colors. This tool is particularly helpful when you're painting from a reference and you need to pick up the colors in a photo really quickly. In the next video, I'll teach you how to program your Wacom Pen to function as a quick Eyedropper tool. The Brush tool is probably the most important tool in our toolbox for this class. By clicking to open the Brush Preset picker, you can find all the brushes you have in Photoshop. I have a lot because I've downloaded many from the Internet and from other artists as well. To load a brush into Photoshop, download the brush, and then drag and drop it into Photoshop. Then you will find the New brush loaded at the bottom. If you have an earlier version of Photoshop and this simple drag and drop method isn't working for you, try googling online to find out how to upload brushes into your specific version of Photoshop. There are some great tutorials already online that will walk you through step-by-step. Now I want to show you how to make your brushes pressure sensitive, like traditional media is. Toggle the brush panel, then click Transfer and make sure your opacity jitter and flow jitter are set to pen pressure. Now when you press lightly with your pen tip to your tablet, these strokes will be soft and lighter in value. When you press hard though, your strokes will become darker, mimicking the feel of many traditional mediums like charcoal or pencil. The Eraser tool is a good go to if you ever need to erase something out. I usually like to use it when I'm erasing through a layer to show through to something beneath that layer. The Paint Bucket Tool, as you just saw, is a tool I use to fill in the whole canvas with color. It's great for putting down a midtone color on a blank white canvas. Doing this in the beginning of a piece will help you get started, especially if the stark white of a canvas scares you. I usually like to use the Sharpen tool at the end of making a piece. Once I've resized it to a smaller size for the Internet, this is when I find the sharpened tool most effective. It will make your lines crisp and sharp. The Blur tool located in the same section as the Sharpen tool, will make areas appear soft and blurred. Often artists will use the Blur tool around the edges of the piece so that the viewers eye will be led to the focal point, which is usually sharper in comparison. The Dodge Tool is great for making lighting look dramatic. I used the Dodge Tool in the areas that light is hitting. It's easy to get carried away with the Dodge Tool though, so be careful not to go too bright. The Burn tool, which is located in the same section as the Dodge Tool, is great for darkening and deepening shadows. But again, I would recommend using it sparingly. I will often click this top color square to open up the color picker. The color on top will be the color that you paint with. Moving over to the right now, we find our Navigator. The navigator is great because it allows you to easily zoom out and back in. You can use the slider or even type in a percentage zoom. When zoomed in, you can also click and drag this red box to move around the piece. The color palette is important to have at the ready, because as he began to paint color, especially when you have no reference, you will constantly be needing to pick up colors. I like to have my history always available because that way I can click through and undo as I please to different stages of the piece. Say I make some strokes and I decided I don't like them. I can always go back and undo them or even redo them. If you'd like to have the option to go back hundreds of steps, go to Edit, then Preferences, and then to Performance. Then change your history states to the number of steps you want Photoshop to remember. I like to keep mine around the 400's so I can go back and see different stages of a piece and also take work in progress shots if I ever forget to. Photoshop layers offer you endless possibilities with your artwork. Here I'm clicking Create a new layer, and I'm filling a layer with an opaque black color. Now I'm clicking the arrows next to where it says normal, where I can see all the blending mode options available. Scrolling through, you will see some bad effects, but then also some really great ones that will point your piece in the direction it should go. To delete a layer, simply press the Trash bin and delete the layer. You can also change your interface background color in Photoshop. To do this, go to Edit, Preferences, Interface. There you'll be able to change the color from black to dark gray, to midtown gray, to light gray. Then just press Okay when you find the one you like. These tools and features are just the tip of the iceberg of Photoshop, but knowing them will help you on your way to paint in an awesome digital portrait. 4. Tablet Properties: As I mentioned, I'm working with a Wacom Intuos 3. So if you're also working with a Wacom tablet, I'll show you how to edit your pen and express keys so you will have a faster workflow. On your PC, first navigate to your Wacom Tablet Properties. With the grip pen selected, click the drop-down button next to the pin and click "Modifier". From there, check the box that says Alt and the one that says left. Now when you hover over your painting and you click the button on the side of your pen, you will be able to quickly pick up colors with the Eyedropper tool, without the hassle of going back and forth and changing your tools in your toolbox. With the Functions tool selected, you can also program express keys. To program a button, click the drop-down arrow next to it and click "Keystroke". There you will want to type in the most common keystrokes you use. I like to program an Undo button, Redo button, Bigger brush and Smaller brush. Try to program the tools you find yourself using the most in Photoshop so that they're always right there at your fingertips. On a Mac, you can go into your system preferences to find your Wacom tablet. Keystrokes are slightly different on a Mac, but you can still edit your pen in express keys. With the pen selected, you can edit your Pen button to be the Eyedropper tool when clicked. To program your Eyedropper tool, click "Modifier", then click the "Option" and "Left" boxes. On your Mac with the Functions tool selected, program your side buttons as the keyboard shortcuts you will use most in Photoshop. That way, instead of having to click back and forth between tools, you'll be able to quickly paint with all the tools you use most. Like here, I'm quickly selecting a color with the Eyedropper tool I programmed on my pen. Here with my thumb, I'm able to easily increase the size of my brush, all while still remaining in the Paint tool. Programming your buttons will make your workflow much faster, enabling you to also undo and redo steps with ease. If your keystrokes are not working as programmed, check up some resources online, where you can learn all the Photoshop keyboard shortcuts for your computer and version of Photoshop. 5. Finding and Editing a Reference: So you can find lots of portrait references to draw from online. has some nice photos to choose from, but they do have a price for their usage. I've decided I'll be using this photo as a reference for the class. I chose it because I was inspired by her eyes, and I also liked how the image has built light and shade. You can also try browsing resources and stock images section, to find a reference that inspires you. Often the stock photos found here are free to use, and you just need to credit the artist who took the original photo, and follow their rules listed under their image. Or if you're feeling ambitious, you can even take your own photos. Skill Share has great photography teachers that can walk you through the process. So now that I found my reference, I'm going to drag it into Photoshop and duplicate it by going to Image, Duplicate, Okay. For this class, I'll be demoing a black and white portrait, and also color for another lesson. To change my photo to black and white, I go to Image, Mode, Grayscale, and I just discard the color information for now, since I have my original file saved anyway. I also like to adjust the contrast of my images by going to Image, Adjustments, Levels, then I can push around the sliders to get the desired contrast. I also like to use Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast. Making these adjustments, will make the light and shade in your image pop. So now that I have my image in black and white, I'm going to make a bunch of copies of it. Think of this as your thumbnail stage. Your time to get all of your ideas. You don't have to simply copy your reference exactly. I actually like to take creative license when I'm painting from a reference, and I change it, and I explore many options. Let yourself go a little wild at this stage. Try out different crops, hairstyles, backgrounds, whatever you want to try. Also, if you find that you need another reference, because you can't just make it up in your head, then go ahead and search for that. There's no problem with combining more than one reference in your piece. This is your chance to experiment with your options compositionally. Here I'm experimenting with the idea of a V composition. I think the V shape often works well with portraits. Now here I go again with a new edit, this time I'm experimenting with the idea of her having a braid. Another filter I often use is the liquefied tool. To find it go to Filter, Liquefy. There I used the forward warp tool and a medium-size brush to push things around. Here, I'm just trying out different ways the hair can fall. Digital painting is great because you can try so many different variations without ruining your paper with an eraser. Now I've just created a new layer, and I'm going to use the paint bucket tool, to fill it with a dark gray color. Now I set the blending mode to multiply and with a soft edge eraser, I erased through the top layer, to see through to the original image beneath it. This creates a nice vignette effect. Here I am again, redesigning her hair and shoulder. This time I decided to put an atlas on her. I'm starting to think about character here, with this one, adding in some flyaway hears in the neckline. Oftentimes, I'll change up my view by going into Image, Image Rotation for canvas horizontal. This helps your eyes stay fresh, and you will also be able to see mistakes better when you flip your canvas. Now to finish up with this one, I'm changing the neck line a little bit, and using the rule of thirds to help crop her. I'm also using the dodge tool to add a bit of light interest in the background. With this edit, I've decided to try and give her long hair. So now I'm just experimenting with the flow of it. Hair is great for pointing your viewer's eyes right back to the focus of the picture. It seems strange, but if you imagined the curve continued, can you see how this hair seems to point right back to this eye, and how this hair seems to flow right into this one? You can use all imaginary lines and realigns to direct your viewers eyes, pointing them back to the focus of your piece. Another note about the lasso tool. If you ever want to rotate something slightly, just select it with the lasso tool, then grab the move tool and hover around one of the corners. The hair will become curved, and you can rotate selection slightly. Here I'm just continuing to edit, and I can see that this one is becoming another V-shaped composition. So once you've paid lots of compositions, pick one of your favorites. I liked this one because I like the flow of her hair, and I also like how, what the rule of thirds, this composition lines up so that her eye, which is the focus of my piece, falls right along a grid line. Now I've made three copies of my favorite. I'll keep one to stay as the original, one to posterize, and one to filter with angled strokes. To posterize, go to Image, Adjustments, Posterize. There I can see a very simple poster like image of my reference. This will help later when I'm trying to paint light and shade. Having the light and shade simplified into basic shapes will help me when I start working with values. Now go to Filter, Filter Gallery, then Brush Strokes, and Angled Strokes. Now I'm pushing the sliders around to find a painterly simplified version of my reference. Painting from this will help me later if I find myself distracted by details too early on in the painting process. It will help me see the big picture and the basic value patterns. Now I have several references I can look at, to get started painting. 6. Values: Before we get started painting, I want to first explain what value is. Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It's important for artists because it helps define form and it also helps create spatial illusions. Having light and dark values in your painting is what will make your portrait look real, and accurate values are the key to getting realistic light and shade. Right now I'm clicking around and you can see there's all values in my reference. For instance, here on the plane coming off of her nose, I think we have one of the lightest values in this reference and in this case, it's about a two on the value scale. But here on her hair, we can see one of the darkest values in the picture. It's about a 10 on the value scale. Now you expect the whiter the eyes to be just that white. But you'll usually find that it's not and here it's actually closer to a light gray 4. It's important to know values because then you can paint them in proper relationship, so your portrait will look more realistic. Some artists have the scale reversed, where white is 10 and black is one, but this way just makes more sense to me. Here in this drawing, we can see values in action. Highlights and half-tones will be the lightest values of a piece. Whereas the form shadows, form shadow cores, reflected lights, and cast shadows will be darker in valuing comparison and they would belong to the shade. This is what I mean by drawing values in relationship to one another. Even if the values in the light are more like a six, remember, that to make the lightened shape convincing, everything that falls into the shadow will be darker than the light values in comparison. Here are my reference using the simplified posterized image, I can start to better understand the values I'll have to paint by separating the light on the face from the shade on the face. To begin my painting, I'm going to "File", "New", and then I'm going to change it to inches and I'm going to change the width of my canvas to 13 and the height to nine. Nothing too specific here because I know I'm just going to change it as I go anyway. It's a good habit to draw big though, in case you ever need a large file. I'm going to make my resolution 300, and I'm going to change my color mode to RGB color. I can always change it back to grayscale later if I want to. Now I have my blank canvas and I'm actually just going to drag and drop my reference image right onto it. You don't have to do it like this, but I find it's easier to pick a values with the image right on the same file. Then I just drag it to the corner and press "Enter" or double-click to place it. Now just for organizing and keeping track, I'm going to double-click this layer is title and label it Reference. Now I'm right-clicking the Reference Layer and I press "Duplicate Layer". Then I take the Move Tool and I drag the new layer over. I'm just putting this here for a second to see how big my painting will be. Now I'm just scrapping off a little bit of the extra canvas, and I just delete the reference copy later. Now I have clear boundaries for where my painting area will be and it's the exact size of my reference which will be useful as we begin. Just as a heads up before we get started, it's a good idea to periodically save your work. You definitely don't ever want to lose a drawing after you've invested hours on it. For now, while we're working in layers, just save it as a PSD file. In the Layers panel you see I have a background copy which is just plain white, my reference, and now I'm adding a new layer which will become my digital painting. As a note, make sure when you're painting you're always on the correct layer and not accidentally painting on another layer. I'm beginning by selecting my drawing area with the rectangular marquee tool and I'm filling it with a basic gray background color just to get rid of the white of the canvas to help me get started. Now I'm picking up a basic brush, nothing to round or soft just yet, but a brush with a bit of character so that I don't get into detailed drawing too soon. I'll attach the brushes I'm using in the class project section of this class, if you're interested in trying any of them out. But you'll find that as long as you have a smaller variety of hard, soft, and textured brushes, you'll be able to make a nice portrait. You don't need to have hundreds of brushes to do this project. As I begin painting, I'm just quickly slapping on color to get started. I'm working fast and in the first couple minutes of drawing, I'm not overly concerned with how it looks. Looking back and forth between my reference and painting, I'm just quickly trying to paint in the various shapes of color. I just want to get some values up on my canvas quickly so I can start working with them. This is where programming your work on the side buttons saves you lots of time because you can quickly grab colors from your reference without changing tools. Now I notice that I'm painting on top of my reference a bit, and I don't really want to accidentally do that. Instead, I'll undo and just select my painting area with the rectangular marquee tool so I can have clean boundaries to freely paint with them. Now I'm generally stating the areas of her features with value and shape. As you paint, ask yourself, where's my darkest dark, and where's my lightest light? This will help you to paint your value relationships better. Don't get distracted by details just yet. Wait until you have the big values up on the canvas before starting in on detail. Also remember to flip your canvas by going to "Image", Image Rotation", "Flip horizontal". This will always help if you think your drawing is looking off. I often use the liquefy filter if I need to make a quick change to proportions like I am here with the jawline. If only traditional painting was this easy. Now here's a trick I'm constantly using while painting, and that is painting the negative space. Instead of drawing the hair, try to draw the negative space around the hair. A moment ago I was doing just that. Instead of drawing the hair with black paint, I was just drawing the gray shape around the hair instead. Sometimes it's easier to paint these more abstract shapes accurately than it is to paint specific known features and I found that in this case, drawing the negative space help me place things more accurately. You don't have to always just painting negative space though. You can also try to see sections as abstract shapes. Like here with her hair. I can see I'm pretty off, but I can paint them more accurately if I try to draw the abstract shape of the hair, while also paying attention to the negative space on the left at the same time. Here I'm noticing that her forehead is a bit more triangular than I've made it, I've made it more like a semicircle. Once I start to notice things like this, I just correct them as I go. In this beginning phase of the piece, we're just keeping it simple. Pickup values from the reference and then paint basic shapes with those values. In this phase, you might find it useful to use the posterized image you made. Here I can see my image broken down into simple, basic shapes of value, making it easier for me to draw. You may also find it helpful to imagine where your light source is. Now that I have my value patterns down, let's try to work on the drawing in more accurate proportions. 7. Drawing & Details: Now that I have some values down, at this point I like to push around the features a bit to get them in the right place before I go into detail. To help, I use guides. To find guides go to view, new guide, and then click Horizontal for now and make the position one-inch. Now with the Move tool, I can drag the guide to any feature and see if my reference lines up with my painting. I'd like to see if the corners of the eyes line up, the bottom of the nose, the part of the lips, the bottom of the chin. These points are very helpful if you're trying to get the likeness of a person. You can drag it anywhere you want, even something like a shoulder, whatever helps you to see the reference more accurately. You can even add more than one guide if you'd like. So now I've found something in my image that's off. I have the eyebrows lower than they should be. I can go about fixing this in a few different ways. I could use the liquefied tool and uses small brush to lift the brows slightly, or I could select them using a rectangular marquee tool or the Lasso Tool and move them up with the arrows on my keyboard. I would just have to paint the whitespace later. Or I could select them and go to edit, transform, and mess around with some of the options there. Or I could simply paint them higher right on top of what I already have. Painting digitally is really cool because you have all these editing options at your disposal. To remove a guide, simply grab it with the move tool and drag it out of the picture or go to view, show, and uncheck guides. Now I've checked our proportions horizontally, but I also want to check them vertically. To do this, I'm just using the crop tool to make a larger canvas, now I'm duplicating the reference layer and using the move toward drag and reference copy directly above my painting. Now clicking View again, I click New guide and this time I'm going to make it vertical. Now I can easily check my proportions vertically. Here I see that the eye is off. See how in the reference or tear duct is right up against the guide, but here in my painting, I'm a bit away from it. Once I find the major proportions I want to fix, I write them all on a list. I like doing this because it helps me remember and also because sometimes I find that guides and all the references make my screen looks cluttered. Since I have my basic values in place and I know the proportions I need to fix, I'll crop my painting and open up a separate reference file. Also, it will help to have your reference on a separate file now as we begin, because we're going to be zooming in, zooming out to draw details. Now I'm just going in and editing some of those proportional errors I saw that needed fixing. Now, I personally am all for strain from a reference and not copying it exactly. If you find that you haven't drawn something exactly like your reference, but you'd like your drawing better, by all means, keep it. If you're working on a commission or a drawing of a loved one, then yes, likeness is important, but if you're just painting a character design or drawing for fun, then you can be free with it and not feel as married to specific facial proportions. It's oftentimes more fun to experiment with proportions and it's also good to explore what kind of faces you like for your art. For the sake of this demo though, I thought it would be useful to show how to draw pretty closely from a reference. Perhaps in a future class, I'll demo how to take a reference and transform it into another face, but I'll save that for another lesson. Now I'm going into detail on the eyes. As I began to draw, I'm trying to think about the angles of the eye. The eye is not just this round, football-shaped thing, it has angles. I'm trying to remember this as I draw the shape. Here, I'm drawing in some of the values. As I zoom in to each feature, it's almost as if we're going back to the value lesson we just had, only here we're working with one feature. I'm still just painting shapes evalue though, this time they're just smaller, more intricate shapes. Now I'm just dancing around the eye a bit, drawing shapes with value that I'm picking up from my reference with the eyedropper tool I programmed earlier. Now I'm just putting in her lashes. I never like to copy eyelashes exactly because that's just too time consuming and tedious for me. Instead, I try to use quick confidence strokes to draw the eyelashes. Lashes are like long skinny triangles, thicker at the bottom and whispier at the top. Here I'm just getting in some of the darker values beneath her eye. I'm trying not to go too dark though, as that will make her look tired. Now I'm zooming in even further to get that extra layer of fine detail. I'm putting in some highlights in her eyes to make her eye look wet and shiny like she just blinked. Now I'm painting her eyebrows. Here, I've actually picked up a light gray color that matches her skin and I'm drawing in towards the brow. Basically, I'm drawing the negative space around her eyebrow rather than the hairs themselves. I've actually been using the same brush this whole time, but now I'm changing to a spotted brush and I'm using the Dodge Tool to add some sparkly skin texture. I like to zoom in and out so that I can always have a new perspective. Zooming out is like painting on an easel and stepping back from your work. It makes mistakes more obvious and easier to spot and fix. Now I'm going into detail on the other eye, using the same approach I've used to paint the first. Usually when I'm painting, I'm all over the canvas from the eye to the nose, to the mouth, back to the eye. But for the sake of clear demo, I'm just showing from start to finish one feature at a time. This eye is pushed a little more into the shadow, so I'm trying to make sure the sclera doesn't pop out to lighten value. Instead, I'm keeping it around a 6.5 on the value scale. When I feel like I'm doing too much detail, I ran myself back in a bit, looking at a less detailed image like the angled strokes image we made in the beginning. At a time like this, angled strokes helps me see simple shapes again without all the distractions. If you haven't already, please check out my first class here on skill share, start drawing techniques for pencil portraits. In that class, I go even more in depth with the plans of the face and the anatomy of the facial features. Here I'm just fixing some of the value patterns around the nose while adding a bit more structure. I'm using a light pressure on my Wacom Pen, since all the values in this area have smooth transitions. I'm drawing the nose and thinking about the wedge shape. I'm also thinking about how the tip of the nose is like a ball and how the shading is therefore similar. Here I'm just trying to lightly define the wings of the Nashville's self lines and I'm also using the liquefied tool to gently manipulate the shape. Now with the speckle brush, I'm adding more texture to her skin. Now I'm grabbing a soft round brush to paint the smooth transitions in value on the bridge of her nose. This is only the third brush I've used in making this painting. Like I said, you really don't need a whole bunch of brushes for this. Now with my usual brush again, I'm going into detail on her lips, I'm trying to think about the structure of the lips while I draw. It helps me to think about the top center as a heart shape with two triangles on either side. Then the bottom lip has two tear drop shapes. Now, I'm quickly trying to capture some of these tinier value shapes. I'm not worried about getting the exact shapes right here though. Again, like the eyelashes, I'm just going for the effect. Most often the top lip will be darker and the bottom lip will be lighter in value. Usually in portraits, you'll find this is the case unless the person were holding a candle or something and being lit from below, then in that case the lighting would be opposite. Here. I'm trying to get these little areas around the lips. Like at the corners of the mouth. You can see how there's a little bit of a darker value around the corner of the lips. Adding this touch will make the mouth look more real. Again, if you're interested in learning more about the structure of these features, check out my previous class where I go more in depth with all of them, including the ears and hair. 8. Edges: What are edges? An [inaudible] edge is the transition between two shapes or forms. So here on the left, the two shapes would be this circle in the background. This one has a very hard edge, also known as a sharp edge. Hard edges have a very sudden transition in value. Over here, we have a soft edge. See how the transition from this shape to the background is smooth and gradual. Soft edges will have a smooth gradation between one shape to the next. Here on this ball, we can see some examples of edges. This edge here is hard, and this one over here is sharp as well. But here on the form itself, look how gradual and smooth the edge is. In here, how it's so smooth and the values are so close that it even becomes a lost edge. In this charcoal drawing here, see how I made the edge of the hair on this side super sharp. Whereas over here, the edge is very soft and almost lost. Having a variety of edge in your work will help engage your viewer because our brains like contrast. Just like having dark and light values, having hard and soft edges will make your piece more interesting to look at because it will keep your viewers brain happily stimulated with contrast and variety. Here I have soft edges in the hair and soft gradual value changes on the cheek. I have a sharp edge here on the neck, but then over here I make it softer in comparison. Then right here I have a very sharp edge. Now I'm going to try and incorporate some edges into my portrait painting. Here I see that I have the planes of her forehead too definite and the edges are too sharp. To smooth them out, I'm picking up a softer edge brush, and I'm lightly drawing between the two shapes. I don't want it to look airbrushed or fake though, so I'm just doing this lightly because a little will go a long way. Now I'm doing the same thing on the cheek, just smoothing out the edges of my values a bit. Now here on her cheek and jawline, I'm grabbing a smaller brush and making the edge more sharp. I like incorporating both hard and soft edges because I find it gives my work more atmosphere and also gives it depth and it makes it look more real. Now just to finish up the hair a bit, I'm putting some of those lighter values in where the light would hit just with my basic brush from the beginning. Now that I have the gist of the hair, I'm going to experiment with the edge of it. Where the hair flares out, I want to make it a bit puffier like hair, so I'm just softening that edge up. Then I'm going to make this edge harder where the skull would be. Now I'm softening up the snap. This is when it would be a good idea for me to pull in another reference since I couldn't really see it in the original image from the beginning. But the idea is the same. This neck is like a cylinder and it will have soft, smooth edges as I work my way around it. Now I'm smoothing out the edge on the chin, and I'm trying to think about it as if it's a ball. Here I try on a value and when I zoom out, I see that it looks too dark. To fix it, I just paint over it with a lighter value and I smooth the edges. I like to put harder edges in the eyes because I want it to be the focus of the portrait. Your viewer's eyes will actually be drawn to the sharper areas of a piece. To make the eyes the focus, I make them sharper and more detailed than everything else. Sometimes I'll even make the edge of the hair sharper near the eye, so more attention is directed there. You may want to experiment with a speckled brush in the mixer brush tool. This can give some cool, loose painterly edges. You may also want to try blurring the edges of your painting. Try Filter, Blur Gallery and then experiment with the options there, this will bring more focus and depth to your piece as well. 9. Finishing Touches: Now that my painting is coming to a close, I want to be able to critique myself because I want to fix problem areas in a piece. Like I said before, zooming may help you spot things more easily. So with a critical eye, I'm going to pick the top three things that are bothering me, that I know need fixing before I'm finished. They are, her eyes which seemed to not be looking in quite the same direction. Her neck, which needs more attention to get up to the same level of detail as the rest of the piece. Finally, I need to work out the general background and design. So try and figure out what three things you're piece could use at this point to bring it to a more finished state. Either sometimes a challenge to get looking in the same direction. After lots of trial and error, I think it comes down to where the pupil is placed. Often to help myself, I'll cover up one eye and ask myself, okay, where's this one looking? Then I'll cover up the other eye and ask the same thing. Next, I'll try and alter one of the eyes. Oftentimes, I'll pick my least favorite of the two and I'll try and fix that one, and I'll try to match it up with the other eye. So for the neck, I found another reference in a similar pose to help me paint it better. I'm still trying to think of it as a soft edged cylinder. Design is something I'm always trying to learn more about because it's not something I'm personally great at. We all have things that we struggle with in our art. We're just going to keep working at it and practicing them. But here's one of the great things about digital art. You can really experiment with it because I can make ten different copies of this, and then make ten different designs with it like we did earlier with the thumbnail stage. So I can practice different design options that way. In the end here, I settle in on the V composition. But I'm not done exploring this one. I'll probably try more with it down the road. So once you've finished your piece, you may want to try out some of these finishing touches. Try image adjustments, brightness, contrast, to tweak the values of your piece. Or try image adjustments levels. If you think one of these adjustments makes your painting better, then by all means, use it to your advantage. This may also be a good time to intensify your highlights with the Dodge Tool. Learning layer with light pressure, black paint, and a speckled brush, you can add in skin texture like freckles. Or with the Dodge tool set to highlights, with a speckle brush, you can also add some skin detail. Something I also like to experiment with are textures. They're really fun. Here I've dragged the texture and the Photoshop, and holding down the Shift key, I can rescale it without changing the proportions. Then I scroll through blending mode options with the roller ball on my mouse, or if you don't have a roller ball, just press V on your keyboard, and then hold down the Shift key while clicking the plus sign on your keyboard. Like I said, there will be some wacky ones that you see, but then there'll also be some ones that will catch your attention. I often like to lower the opacity a bit and also grab a big eraser to erase some of the texture of the face. You can also add a layer of flat color on top and set it to multiply. This almost acts sort of like a glaze would be in a traditional painting. It harmonizes the piece. You'll find this trick particularly useful when you start working with color. As a note, to flatten an image down to one layer as you'll want to so that you can put it online, you'll have to right-click a layer and then press merge visible. But keep a backup of the PSD file, so that you can always have that if you pay them with lots of layers. Now, once you're finished you're painting, make a duplicate of your full-sized painting by going to image, duplicate, or just click this button here to make a copy. Make sure to save your high-quality full size version as well, and we'll resize the copy. On the copy, go to Images, image size, then change it to whatever size you like for the Internet. I usually like to upload around 500 to 1,100 pixels on either side. Once resized, I'd like to duplicate my painting layer, and go to Filter, sharpen, sharpen. This works really nicely on resized digital paintings. It just brings a nice sharp edge quality to the hard edges. It's often a little much though, so I just lower the opacity a bit and erase out the areas I don't want a sharp. Once I'm happy with it, I'll flatten the image. Or you can also try this. After resizing, I duplicate the layer again like before. Then I go to Filter, Other, High-pass. I bring the slider down pretty low, and then press Okay. Then I go to blending modes and set the layer to overlay. Again, it brings a new level of sharpness to the painting. To save my images for the Internet, I press file Save As. Now that the image is flattened, I have new save options available. I like to use either JPEG or PNG file. So here I'll save it as a PNG. 10. Closing Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining the class. I hope you were able to learn something new. Please check out the class project section to find resources in the class assignment. Please share your work. Just pick a project title and the cover photo, and then share your creation. Feel free to upload images from any stage of your progress, from reference options to thumbnails to work some progress to your finished painting. Share any insight into your experience and then create and post your work for feedback in the project gallery. As you continue with your art, remember that to improve, it's important to practice from life, references, old masters, and even from your imagination. Consider doing a 30-day challenge where you commit to drawing every day. Or even better, 100-day challenge. Or if you're really crazy, a year challenge, draw every day. If it helps keep you accountable, share a log of it online for others to see. If you like drawing portraits, consider taking my class, start drawing techniques for pencil portraits. In that class, I will walk you through materials I use, proportions, the planes of the face, anatomy, pencil technique, and much more. Again, I very much hope you've enjoyed the class. Please share your awesome work and thank you so much for joining.