Portrait of Kyja Tutorial

The following digital painting tutorial was done in Corel Painter IX. This tutorial was created to help an artist friend in the development of a digital portrait painting. She supplied me the image she started, which served as a good under painting for my painting style.

About 7 hours to complete.


Step I: Sketch Comparison


I made a sketch to compare with the painting she started and superimposed it over her painting to check feature placements. It was important to me to make sure all features were in the right place before I started to add paint to it.

Step 2: Blocking in Basic Colors


Next, I blocked in some basic colors following the contours as if I were sculpting the portrait. I used a brush that I created based on one of the acrylics, but I added softness and some impasto as to cover quickly the surface since the brush I’ll use later on requires of many layers of paint to achieve the look and texture I want.

Step 3: The Bandanna and the Shirt


Here I added basic tones to the bandanna and her shirt, as well as adding paint to the shadow areas paying attention to color temperature.

Step 4: Filling the Background


Next, I painted the background and hair loosely.

Step 5: Experimenting with the Background


I continue on the background trying different color combination until I arrived to the tones and color that I believed enhanced the subject.

Step 6: Blending


After I blocked in the background colors (with some impasto – the same brush I am using to block in colors on the face), I then started to blend the colors only where two colors met.

Step 7: The Face


Once I finished with the background, I continued to add colorful paint on the face. This time, I used my other custom brush (the one that requires many layers of paint). Notice that for this tutorial, I left the sketch on a layer on top as a guide. Later this was deleted. I decided to leave this sketch up to this step so that my friend (and anyone else viewing this) get the idea on how/where I place the different colors.

Step 8: Molding the Features


The sketch was deleted. Once I had a considerable amount of paint, I blended the colors on the face and neck for the first time, molding the subject’s features. To blend, I used a stump.

Step 10: Blending while Preserving the Impasto Look


Here, I blended the colors again softly as to preserve the impasto stokes.

Step 11: Skin Tones


I then added dark skin tones to the areas in shadow and added complimentary colors.

Step 12: Adding Saturated Colors


I added stronger colors.  In this picture, it gives the impression that I covered the green on the neck with the red-orange, but it is actually not covered.  It is hard to appreciate it from this small picture.

Step 13: The Garment and Lip Definition


I blended the colors just a little and added the garment on the neck and further defined the shirt. I also paid attention to her lips defining its shape and color.

Step 14: Refining Her Complexion


Further developed her complexion adding darker variations of skin color and compliments for the area of light. In this stage, I am not blending with the stump at all, just adding paint. The custom brush I was using at this stage blends the different colors applied when I apply just a little pressure on my stylus. I further defined the lips, and the areas around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Step 15: Detailing


In this final stage, I detailed the eyes and added some assumed reflected colors (light). I also detailed the earrings and the hair, and called the portrait DONE!… and signed it.

Face Detail:

Eye Detail:

Background Detail: