View Full Version : Portrait tutorial

09-19-2008, 01:35 PM
Everyone does portraits differently. I've been painting and drawing them the traditional way for a good number of years. But Artrage makes it easy to do them digitally. Here is my method.

Step 1, find a reference picture and use the trace mode and the pencil to gently trace details like the eyes, nose, mouth, hair etc. This is important for placement, and makes it super easy so you can concentrate on shading and blending. Then clear the trace and open the picture for a reference.

09-19-2008, 01:40 PM
Once that is done, I usually like to work on the eyes first. Open a new layer and bring the picture in close so you can see just the eyes. Use a small oil brush to color the whites of the eyes. Don't use flat white, because the sclera are rarely ever plain white. Usually a little blueish/gray. With a colored pencil, darken the rim around the colored parts of the eyes. Highlight the bottom half with a lighter color, and darken the top layer that will be directly beneath the eyelid. Use a small airbrush with black to create the pupil, and white for the glare.

09-19-2008, 01:44 PM
Once the eyes are completed, open another layer and block in a base color for the flesh. Once that is done, I use the erase to smooth the edges. Then I personally like making a stencil of the face, because then I can paint without worrying about the eyes, and it also helps keeping the edge of the face crisp so that you don't need to constantly erase paint that goes outside the contours of the face.

09-19-2008, 01:46 PM
Now that we have the face painted, and the areas beyond masked, we can start blocking in additional colors. Look at your reference carefully and add colors to the areas along the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, etc. You don't need perfection just yet, just add colors and not too heavily. Then take the knife tool and smooth and blend the areas, using both shirt and long strokes to get the best blend.

09-19-2008, 01:49 PM
Now, use the small paintbrush and the pencil to add the nose and mouth. You can also further blend with a small knife, but be careful you don't blend too much.

09-19-2008, 01:53 PM
Use a pencil and small brush to detail the eyes. Pay close attention to eyelashes. Don't have one eyelash then another. They are usually tightly packed, or touching one another. Look at your own in a mirror. I also begin to smooth the face and add lighter values with the airbrush. Be sure to use a larger airbrush with small, quick strokes. Don't let the airbrush stay in one place too long or you will add too much paint to one spot.

09-19-2008, 01:57 PM
Now we can work on the hair. Open another layer and put it above the face so that the layers of hair will look natural over the face. I use a medium brush with one main hair color for starters. Hair has three general colors, sometimes four. A dark color for shadow and areas closest to the face, a medium color that is the main color, a light color for highlights and an even lighter color used sparingly for shine. So, start with the medium/middle color.

I actually did this one, didn't like the results and so started over. But because it was its own layer, it wasn't a problem.

09-19-2008, 02:02 PM
Okay, this was the one I went with. I added the different values of color, the darker and the lighter. Follow the picture with where the values are and don't add too much of each color. Once that is added, use the knife edge ( the second mode) to drag the colors in the direction the hair goes in naturally. Keep dragging until you have a natural look. You can also add small individual hairs with the pencil, but be careful to not just have them poking out of the head, keep them going with the flow of other hair.

09-19-2008, 02:04 PM
Last step, add the clothing in a different layer and the background in a layer to sit at the very bottom.

I hope everyone can understand what I've shown, and if you have any questions, drop me a line.

09-19-2008, 03:59 PM
Thanks a lot!
Your tutorial itīs fantastic...

09-19-2008, 10:06 PM
A perfect lesson for anyone willing to try independently from starting skills! Thanks!

09-19-2008, 10:36 PM
awesome! thanks for sharing your technique

09-20-2008, 01:52 AM
big big lesson :)
the community will be very happy!

09-20-2008, 04:18 PM
Really well thought out and well presented.

09-20-2008, 07:58 PM
Thanks everyone, if anyone uses the technique for a portrait please post it, I would love to see everyone's work.:)

09-21-2008, 03:05 AM
Thank you very much, dali. I think, this is very good lesson and tutorial for us. Very useful for reference to paint portrait.:):):):):)

09-22-2008, 05:19 AM
Great tutor. Thank your for sharing! DoodLS

09-22-2008, 06:44 AM
Dali, thank you, this was super and informative! You are one talented lady! :)

09-23-2008, 02:43 AM
Thanks a lot! It's always a great thing to have other artists share! I learn so much!

10-24-2008, 05:45 AM
Hi Dali,
Great tutorial, it will help everyone, I've found it very helpful, thanks for sharing it.

10-24-2008, 08:52 AM
THank you...Very helpful and well presented....

10-24-2008, 01:40 PM
I even printed this out and my kids are using this method, (and my first portrait thread in critique used this method, tho maybe I was not patient enough)

I love this method !!!

10-27-2008, 10:48 AM
Last step, add the clothing in a different layer and the background in a layer to sit at the very bottom.

I hope everyone can understand what I've shown, and if you have any questions, drop me a line.


10-27-2008, 11:49 PM
this is great
on the first step do we have to draw the detail on the clothes?

10-31-2008, 03:53 PM
WOW! This is really nice and helpful and fun to see how you did it.:D

10-31-2008, 05:32 PM
I missed this when you first posted it. Thanks so much for sharing. Itīs a super tutorial!

10-31-2008, 10:45 PM
I have created a PDF file with this tutorial :)

Direct PDf or ZIP


11-01-2008, 02:53 AM
Very good tutorial and thank you for making it into a PDF.

11-01-2008, 03:18 PM
Wow, this looks great! Thanks so much for doing it! Super job! :D

11-02-2008, 01:30 AM
thanks to you for this great tutorial :)
I hope that andyrage publish it in www.artrage.com (tutorials)

02-18-2009, 10:20 PM
super video tells me so much.tx

02-19-2009, 02:51 AM
Thanks for taking the time to make this, I learnt a lot :)

03-22-2009, 04:51 AM
Hey Dali thanks for the tutorial This my version of it I call it Little red haired Girl

03-22-2009, 04:58 PM
Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm working on my own portrait using your step-by-step guide (except I still haven't figured out how to use stencils, but that's okay) with Jensen Ackles and just learning how to make the eyes look more realistic makes it all worthwhile. It may not be picture perfect, but it's definitely better than my last attempt, Woman with Umbrella.

This is a wonderful and helpful learning tool. My hat goes off to you!

08-25-2009, 02:40 AM
Thanks nightjar, SHAP00PI, yellowhorde, and thanks shellcrackerjr , I'll have to show that one to her. :D

09-30-2009, 12:50 AM
Dear Dali,
I really enjoyed your tutorial. I appreciate all the work that must have gone into this fine lesson. Thank you so much!:D

10-17-2009, 05:59 PM
Thanks a lot!
Your tutorial itīs fantastic

10-17-2009, 10:31 PM
Wow, thanks great tutorial!

10-25-2009, 05:00 PM
My result following tutorial and my first attempt with ArtRage. I am most impressed with the ease of use and interface of ArtRage.
I still feel that the shading is not satisfactory but I am at the point where a little advice would be great - at present, the more I work on the shading the muddier it seems to become.

Thanks to Dali and any comment, on any aspect of my attempt, appreciated. John.

11-20-2009, 04:23 PM
I really loved this tutorial. I am new to artrage and by no means an artists. Thanks for the detailed instructions, it made the process so much easier.

11-28-2009, 01:23 PM
What a great tut I traced the lines to on my paintings They are on my Homepage) because whenever I trie to make a painting without those sketchlines the painting looks horrible I`m working on a painting of Nichole Kidman without the lines I can`t show an example yet because I`m a newby but I love your result and the other ones to and they didn`t even had the original reference picture
Hugs Andrea:)

12-18-2009, 04:25 AM
that is actually pretty sweet

12-20-2009, 05:48 AM
Great tutorial! I did have some problems with the blendingknife. I had a green background, which made it very visible that blending sometimes whipes the paint. I solved this by duplicating the basic face and putting that layer behind it.

Your tip of making a stencil of the face is just genius :D

01-07-2010, 09:45 AM
Wow, John T that was an excellent job. Just pay a little more attention around the shadows of the nose, but you did a really good painting! Are you using a knife to shade or are you adding paint? When it comes to detail, use any tool to get the job done. Pencils are great for that, as well as the airbrush set small. If you use the pencil though, remember to blend it just a tad, or add some shadows over it.

And yes, electrocute, it is always easier to keep the background on a different layer if you don't want your subject smearing into it. Although sometimes that can be a nice effect.

I'm glad everyone is getting some use out of this tutorial!

01-07-2010, 11:01 PM
Thanks, Dali, for your encouragement and comments. I learnt a lot from your tutorial.

07-01-2010, 11:51 PM
Thanks a lot Dali, what a wonderful tutorial, this is going to help a lot:):):)

10-29-2010, 07:07 PM
Great help in the transition from traditional to digital :)