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How I Paint A Face ... Again by dr-runcible How I Paint A Face ... Again by dr-runcible

This is how I do it. You may do it better. This is why it is my tutorial. :D

I did this differently ... I didn't number the steps, just babbled while I drew. So roughly each paragraph goes with a picture?


Start with an embarrassingly crappy sketch. I do. Your sketches are probably better. Remember not to make it lopsided like I do. Try very hard. A lopsided sketch will misguide you. Try to get the anatomy as perfect as you can, remember your basic lessons.

Set up a brush around 16-28 pixels to these settings and click the little airbrush next to the flow. Don't mess with the flow, homie. Just lower the opacity to around 40%

Now the shading. Think of where the shadows are. Pretend there is an imaginary lamp somewhere and position it on your drawing. We start with the shadows from there.

I use a method I called "organic coloring" meaning that everything grows from everything else. Every brushstroke and color affects the rest and blends together. I used to make a color palette to the side of my drawing before painting but I find that hinders me and I stay within the limits too much.

Start with a color slightly lighter and begin forming tiny shadows that blend with your darker shadows.

Take what most would call "your base color" and begin to bridge the gaps between the shadows roughly.

Think now about the light source and how it affects the anatomy of the picture. If your light source is coming from the top as mine is now, random shadows won't appear on the cheeks and roughly none will appear anywhere but under the nose. Highlights will appear on the jutting points, like the nose, cheeks and chin.

First we shape teh nose. Pick a color darker than your first initial shadows. Form the beginnings of the nostrils. Lower the opacity from 40 to 16 or so and lightly fade it out into the first shadows. The last color you add is the darkest point that is the inside of the nostrils.

I begin to slightly hapharzadly add shadows, the only guide being my light source. This is with a 40% opacity and brush about 15-17 pixels

I start the cheeks by filling with a darker color than my "base", then pick a lighter color and give it a light swipe. Then a light color and a lighter smaller stroke and keep going until you've built up a cheek.

I add tiny light highlights with a size 30-25 brush on about 30% opacity. While I'm highlighting, I add some shine to the nose to add definition. Remember the nose is pointed so building up your highlights is pretty much the same way as you did the cheeks, peaking with a light white shine.

I start to blend the highlights and shadows and "base" together with a large brush on the same settings as previous, with gradual light strokes.

Eye times! Okay, the anatomy, roughly of the eye is like this: Dark, light, dark, light. Remember to add shadows underneath the eye, starting dark in both corners and coming together in a highlight to show where your lower lid is. Remember there is an eyeball there ... it's the same as your top eyelid. Also, on the subject of the top of the eyelid? Skin sits between your lid and your brow. Look at your own eye, the lid is not perfectly round unless the eye in widened in surprise.

With a much much smaller (9-11 pixels) I add the vague shapes of lashes. Use a high opacity on this, like 70. Also I add more shadows to the rest of the eye for definition. Remember, every stroke should affect the next so that it blends together. I also, since I have a nice complimentary color, add some shadow to the cheeks.

I draw the suggestion of eyebrows, blend the undereye lids more and add shine to the brow bone. Remember how your eyebrow sits -- right at the top of the browbone.

OMG EYE TIME. Since I am wont to screw up, I just make a new layer for this. I fill it the white space of the eyeball with a medium tan. Then, using the method on the cheeks, light, lighter, until your have the formed eyeball. I also shape the eyes and make them smaller. I ALWAYS draw my eyes too big.

Lips! The principles for lips are pretty much the same ... they protrude less, but still should be shaded as dark light dark, with the light forming in the middle. While I have the color and opacity the same, I go back and blend my nose a bit more to make it less narrow. Just blend out into the cheeks. I also form the chin, using the same dark to light to dark method.

You're probably sick of hearing this, but the forehead is the same way as the chin! Remember in art class or very beginner drawing tutorials, they teach you how to shade a ball or a sphere? Kinda the same thing.

I add eyelashes to the eye with tiny small strokes with a small 25% opacity brush. I stress this: light and small. I make the iris with small steps building up to a near black dot for the pupil. With your brush as light as possible with it still visible (perhaps 10-15 opacity) swipe a dark color underneath the eyelashes, going over the iris and ending in the corners. This is a shadow cast by the eyelids. With a near-white, add a few dots for highlights to the iris.

Now merge all your layers besides the sketch and BG. And then duplicate it. This will fill in the opacity of the entire thing, trust me. Esp. if you work light. You may need to do it a few times.

I take a hard, small brush (for better control) and erase the excess. You might want to make a duplicate of your picture in case you mess up.

My faces can get a bit too long sometimes. To fix this, I just get a lasso, feather it to 7, and lower the top half of her face, duplicate the layer to erase the hole, merge it, then blend a small bit to further erase the hole. Ahhh, don't you love the magic of Photoshop?

Here is an optional trick to make the colors pop: make a new layer, set to Overlay and brush on red around the nose, blue around the eyes and a light yellow everywhere else. :D I learned this from a friend.

Hair! I didn't add ears since this isn't an ear tutorial and I'm only including hair in the step so it can blend for the final step. Add ears! Or don't. Make your hair whatever you want. I gave her a Monica Lewinsky haircut. How unfortunate. I also play with the highlights on her face cause I can't get no satisfaction D:

Now above all these layers I make a color burn layer and flood fill it with am veeeeery light tan. It will bring together the colors of your face. I would say this is optional, but it works so nicely!

You can keep going, whatever, add a body/neck/background, but I am done with the face!

Hope this didn't confuse you too much! Any questions? I can answer them. :D
Add a Comment:
tubekoma Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Student General Artist
the face is amazing!!! but the hair :stare: give it a lil more voliume :D
AHussein Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2010  Professional General Artist
very useful!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D thanks for sharing!
MoonFairyLuna Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2008
This is great <3
:adds fav:
Thank you soo much for sharing this with us <3
rAwRzA Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2007
did you use a tablet for this ?:)
ryuuta Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2007
Useful :D
Arista Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2007
whoot I think this is pretty helpful, now I need to learn how to draw better nose >.<;

Great first tut ^^
Snowlyn Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cool tutorial =)
jhubert Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Added to the Art Tutorials Wiki.
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Submitted on
October 24, 2007
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