View Full Version : Tutorial - Portraiture...blending and general techniques

10-14-2007, 01:50 PM
This is what i have learnt along the way about blending of tonal values and digital painting in general.. btw.. I'm no artist (its a hobby) but I hope the tutorial will be useful. Canvas size (width 2000dpi)

PS: the finished work is right at the bottom.

Start off by getting a few reference photos (good sharp ones) of the subject (different angles and lighting). Either sketch in the outlines (for pros only) or trace accurately the oulines (for the rest of us). Use a new layer and pencil at 20pt (mid grey color.. not black not light grey). This will become your topmost layer.

Paste up all the photo references (resized and zoomed if you need to)

I then open up a new layer (the face layer) and start working as shown below.

10-14-2007, 01:51 PM
step 2 - how to get the right face color? either pick up the color from the photo reference or just invent your own.

this is the flat knife blending stage. It will preceded any soft knife blending work.

10-14-2007, 01:51 PM
step 3 - now blend with the soft knife

10-14-2007, 01:52 PM
step 4

10-14-2007, 01:52 PM
step 5. After blending (soft knife) an area, do not look directly at the blended area but look a bit to the side. Only then can you see the "overall" effect and whether its too dark, graduations are harsh, color is off etc.. Another method i learnt (from art books) is to half close your eyes but its too tiring to squint all the time.

Also clean up the edges of the face with the eraser

At this stage, you should be finetuning the whole section. Blend check blend check etc.

10-14-2007, 01:53 PM
step 6. Happy with your blending?... then work on the parts of the face. the eyes, eyebrows and mouth/lip shapes capture the essence of the subject. If you get this wrong, you could still get a correct general face shape but it WONT look like your subject (who would probably throw the wacom at your face anyway).

Oh yes... you need to ZOOM in to work with this facial parts..

And then compare your drawing frequently to your photo references... paint check paint check ....

PS: There are some notes on painting the eye below... same standard technique for every eye that i paint...

10-14-2007, 01:53 PM
step 7 - if you are quite adverse to mistakes like me, do every part in a different layer

10-14-2007, 01:54 PM
step 8

10-14-2007, 01:54 PM
step 9... blending subtle tonal differences come with practice so its hard to explain how to "see" differences in color tonal values... remember to "look to the side" or squint to check if overall blending is acceptable..

10-14-2007, 01:54 PM
last one

10-14-2007, 01:55 PM
final draft

10-14-2007, 02:03 PM
Great job! Thank you for the excellent tutorial!
Also, wonderful painting!

10-14-2007, 06:25 PM
Thanks erwinsoo for taking the time to share these techniques with us.
A very well done and thorough job of showing how to do portraits.

10-15-2007, 09:00 AM
Thank You Erwinsoo..... :D :D This Is Excellent :wink:

10-15-2007, 10:26 AM
A simply wonderful tutorial. Maybe I'll screw up the courage to give it a try. :)

10-15-2007, 01:04 PM
Great tutorial mate! This is very helpful, thanks

10-22-2007, 09:34 AM
Thanks for all the useful details...your painting is simply wonderful

10-27-2007, 10:36 AM
this is very helpful to everyone .......thank you

D Akey
10-27-2007, 11:01 AM
What a terrific tutorial. Nice flesh blending.

:D :D :D

10-27-2007, 10:08 PM
Hi erwinsoo, Great tutorial, well laid out and easy to follow. I'm sure it will be a great encouragement to us all.:D

10-27-2007, 11:36 PM
tinzo.. it pales in comparison to your work *sigh*

10-29-2007, 01:41 AM
Thank you erwinsoo :D (in my opinion you are indeed a very skilled artist)
thanks for sharing your skills

10-29-2007, 02:33 AM
tinzo.. it pales in comparison to your work *sigh*

You both excell in what you do.
This is a stunning tutorial. I will have no, or not much time to visit the board these days, so everyone making a tutorial, feel free to post t hem in the "tutorial central" topic, which is fixed, so no one needs to struggle to find it back. I have asked the moderators to continue to add links to the first post of that topic, so everything must be OK.

Continue to have fun with this extra ordinary piece of software ! 8)

10-29-2007, 10:29 PM
thanks rowena and hanzz... :oops:

11-05-2007, 12:31 AM
I'm in over my head here, I guess I should think of myself as a work in progress as well. So much to learn. Thanks for the tutorial. :roll:

11-05-2007, 02:12 AM
thanks jiffyblue... i have lots more to learn too :D

11-19-2007, 12:04 PM
Wonderful tutorial. Thanks so much for writing it and including so many illustrative screenshots.

11-23-2007, 11:46 PM
thanks.. and you have very nice paintings on your site :D :D

11-28-2007, 04:30 PM
Thank you so much for your nice comment on my paintings. :)

I hope in time to be able to do even better using Art Rage. It's simplicity, i.e., not having to choose from a list of hundreds of brushes, makes it so much more user friendly, at least to me.

01-06-2008, 11:17 PM
wow! awsome tutorial! i don't do painting with the brush because i don't have a wacom but soon ill get One and you can be shure im trying it! :D

01-07-2008, 04:09 AM
thanks pierre-luc... hope it has been helpful :D :D A wacom will be very helpful for detail work.

01-10-2008, 06:53 AM
erwinsoo - Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I didn't think the day would ever arrive when I would be able to even attempt a portrait, but thanks to your excellent step by step instructions, I managed to do one on my first attempt that wasn't too bad.
Thank you! :)


01-13-2008, 03:39 AM
glad to know it was helpful barnburner.. keep on painting!!!

02-06-2008, 12:00 PM
Great tutorial - thanks. I think it's always useful to see how different people tackle things.

Even seeing how you do it doesn't stop the final result from making me think, "Wow! That's great!" :)

02-06-2008, 02:54 PM
yoz.. thanks for your kind comments :D

02-22-2008, 01:06 AM
Well done and well explained, good tutorial ! :)

02-22-2008, 01:37 AM
thanks dany... :D