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Suzanne-Helmigh's avatar

Painting a portrait (explanation included.)



Here is the Borus portrait explained in steps. (Press download for bigger image.)

:bulletblue:1. Linesketch, try to find the essence of the character in this phase.

:bulletblue:2. Add a layer underneath the lineart and start to bash in some starter colors.

:bulletblue:3. Add a layer on top of the lineart and refine the features, paint away all the line art or erase the lineart.
When that is done, merge the layers of the character (not with the background!)

:bulletblue:4. Mirror the image. This way you can spot mistakes easier.

:bulletblue:5. Fill in the background and possible foreground. I also changed the colors here with color balance while having the character layer selected.

:bulletblue:6. Work on the lighting and keep in mind that there is also bounce light. You can see the blue hues on the face.

:bulletblue:7. Use your personal favorite paint technique to make colors blend, this can be done by a smooth or textured softbrush or with a etching pattern.
In this step I also added something called a Rembrandt triangle. It's the triangle highlight underneath the eye to show a more accurate depth.

:bulletblue:8. I wasn't satisfied with the face angle. It's never to late to alter your painting for a better image, don't be afraid to start all over.
I used a photo of myself to reference the new angle of the face that was more interesting to me.

:bulletblue:9. Refine the new look and work on some contrast.

:bulletblue:10. This guy's skin isn't smooth, but aged, tired and damaged, working on those details really adds up to the realism.
I also enhanced the highlights to create more contrast.

:bulletorange: 11: Extra edited step. The featured didn't line up with one another, making his face asymmetrical. The facial expression wasn't so interesting as intended so they had to be be made more pronounced. Another edit was done to the colours as well applying the old rule of yellow, Red Blue. (fine out what that is here:…

:bulletblue:Done. Go through every detail and make the areas of less interest less detailed. You can use the blur tool and sharpen tool to enhance those areas. Moving the channels in your image can give it a slight 3D effect.

Borus. (edited.) by Suzanne-Helmigh

Good luck!! Let me know if have any troubles or questions :)

This entire progress can be found on my livestream channel.…

You can send in your work to: helmighs (at)
for reviews and paintovers on 'What's up! Wednesdays.' livestreams
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Find out what time that is for you on :…

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4657x1955px 4.3 MB
© 2012 - 2022 Suzanne-Helmigh
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DarinHuddy's avatar
:D (Big Grin) Great! Thanks for sharing!