|Dear paint friends,
I am not a good teacher but worse than that I am a horrible typist. I am sorry in advance
for typos. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me about anything. I will help if I can. As you
read through, you can click on any image to see the giant version. Please remember I
never do anything the "right" way. This is MY goofy process but that sure doesn't mean
you can't improve on it. The system works for me and hopefully it will help you or at least
give you ideas. By the way, I use almost exactly the same process with pastels and oils. I
blend with my hands in pastel and a fuzzy brush in oil paints.
|I started with
photo. I am
I brought the photo into
Photoshop and altered the color
in addition to touching up the
shirt and changing the
background for easier reference.
Now I open Painter. My new image is going to be 8 X 10 and
400dpi. Yep, big.
I forgot to save the early stage ( actually I saved over it), but
basically it was less of what you see here. Using an oil pastel
brush and making sure "pick up underlying layer" is checked
which helps to blend colors, I put in large strokes of the basic
shape and placement of features (like the ear, the hair and the
shirt look here). The first thing I put down was the left side as it
is well defined against the background and a good measure for
placement of the other features. I usually start with a good
mid-tone and build lighter and darker colors from there. I just
continue to slap on the color in large strokes. Sometimes I think
I should stop at the end of this step. This is a fast step. I do
worry about proportion, but not as much as in the next few steps.
Basic color variations for this step.
I continue with layering the color. I add more
highlights, attempting to get the proper relationship
between the darks and lights. It's still rough at this
stage, except for the beginning of the one eye. I can't
stand not having eyes in portraits. It creeps me out.
Plus, I get impatient.
Still used pretty broad strokes. The broader the better
because later I do blending and if my strokes aren't
broad enough I get a splotchy look and have to
retouch some areas.
Bet you're bored by now. This is much more of the same. I continue to
work up the highlights, layering the paint. If you want, you can paint on
a new layer so as not to mess up what you have already done.
Color and more color. I threw in some purples for the shirt shadow
and the right side of the hair so I know where the head ends. I did put
in some background colors on an underneath layer toward the end of
this step to get a little more depth here.
Remember to look deeply for subtle color changes. Don't think
"fleshtone" only. You will see greens, blues, and other colors. Look
Finally, I put in some details by reducing the size of the brush which is
my reward for the pain in my hand by now. Carpel tunnel taking roots I
bet. I bet I am into this about 4 plus hours at this point.
The fun part! Now that I have all my colors in, I get a blender
brush. Experiment with them to see which one you like. Some
smear, some blend. Come up with your own style.
I just blend away the chunky paint look. It gives almost an
airbrushed look without having to paint in airbrush. It is similar to
the blur tool in Photoshop. In fact, you can even use Photoshop
for this part.
As I blend, I see sections that are too splotchy and in my case I
wanted a smooth transition of skin tones. At these points I go
back with the oil pastel brush again and then back to blending.
This is the longest step if you want to achieve a smooth look.
Toward the end of blending, I put in some more details.
Assuming I have pretty smooth areas, I can add eyelashes and
Wake up! I am almost finished! Details, details. I zoom in on
my source photo to try to pick up little fuzzies, hair highlights,
iris color, mouth details. Whew! For me, this is the best part. I
love painting the details...probably because it means I am
getting close to the end. Use a new layer here. There are only
so many "un-do's" and this is a time you can really mess up
what you have done. Trust me.
For hair, you have got to zoom in and use a tiny brush. Tiny, I
tell you. Don't be afraid to go fairly bright on the highlights.
Look hard at the color changes. Be patient. This takes
FOREVER and a day.
By now my hand is killing me, it's about 5 AM, and I have to go potty but
I can't because I am almost finished!
I look the thing over. The neck is too darn splotchy for a kid. I need
more color in the background. Back to that oil pastel brush again but
on a new layer in case I am too tired to realize I am messing this up.
Back to blending again. Keep on smoothing that face out too. Check
the fuzzies on the cheek, forehead, and lip. Yep, they are there.
Finally, I can stop for now. I'm off to bed to dream of a day when you
talk to a computer and it paints for you...
|THE END! Thanks for reading. Please give me feedback and let
me know if I was any help. You can e-mail me at the link below.