2D Portrait Tutorial TAKE TWO

Skill Level: Regular / Views: 2527

Tutorial on how to create portraits using Adobe Photoshop or other similar software

tevoboy on 6:54PM Thu, 29 March 2007



I’ve re-written my existing tutorial and added more details, and a lot more images!
…so if you already read it, read it again! It’s free.
I’ve been making ‘conventional’ drawings as long as I can remember, but I’ve always found it difficult to colour them in uniformly using pencils or markers, especially for large areas like skies. 
In the mid ‘80’s, I started oil painting, but I got tired of having to clean up when I was finished. Besides, it was too difficult to add fine detail while wet, and I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to dry (acrylics dried too quickly).
I then started creating images using 3D rendering software (like 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, etc…), but it was problematic creating people, so I created mostly robots, vehicles, buildings, etc… (but nothing organic).
Next I purchased Poser 2, then 3, 4, 5, 6, (and recently 7). This made it easy to create people, but it was difficult to make them resemble a specific individual, say a celebrity, friend or family member for example.
I purchased Photoshop and began drawing freehand using a mouse. After creating 8 portraits: Michelle Pfeiffer, Claudia Schiffer Paulina Porizkova, Jennifer Connelly, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Kristen Kreuk and Elizabeth Hurley with the mouse, a friend of mine gave me his Wacom tablet (thanks Dr. Wump).
At first it was awkward at best. I couldn’t control the direction of the brush, I had difficulty aiming at the icons to select different tools, but with practice, it began to feel very natural. The first image I created with the tablet was Morticia Addams from the original Addams Family (Carolyn Jones). I chose this because it was black and white, so I could concentrate on controlling the tablet without having to worry about harmonizing colours.
I’ve never had an art lesson, but I learned a lot through trial and error, and many of my techniques are rather unorthodox, but I hope some of my methods will show you an easier (or at least different) way to approach 2D computer art.
Note: This tutorial uses terms that may be unique to Photoshop, but the principles should work in many other similar programs. A Definition page is located at end of the tutorial.

Tutorial Comments

virginiese  3:14PM Tue, 22 March 2011

excellent tutorial ! thanks for sharing : I will try to improve my skills thanks to you :-)

TheDane  2:41AM Fri, 23 January 2009

Thank you for a very good tut, which shows many ways and outcomes, but still don't just leave you in the dark. You have given me faith in trying to paint a face once. Well since I've read through the entire thing, you probably now that it is something I've wanted for years. (but been too lazy to try and practise). I totally agree with you about the books that says basic shapes. I never really have gotten anything decent out of that. Once again, thank you.

Miracula  1:24AM Wed, 10 September 2008

So very impressive! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I would love to watch you work in real time. Simply wonderful. This is just wonderful and I will be back to view it several times over.

Artlike  10:24AM Thu, 13 December 2007

I'm just starting out (and i'm an old guy) this will save so much time off the learning curve. You make it look so easy but I do understand the steps....I expect a sharp advance in my learning curve. Thanks so much. Artlike

navarrete  10:02AM Sun, 07 October 2007

this is an great work! I couldnĀ“t belive it. I thougth you changed several properties of a picture but you are a machine, thank for your existance.

cobusp  3:14AM Thu, 05 July 2007

brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing this useful knowledge.

President_apa  5:03AM Fri, 22 June 2007


alKhall  8:38PM Wed, 06 June 2007

Amazing tutorial thnx for sharing. :0)

bkhook  5:24PM Wed, 09 May 2007

WOW.. awesome tutorial.. very very well done!

maggiemai  2:00PM Sun, 06 May 2007

Amazing tutorial!!!! Thank you SO much for sharing all of this knowledge with us..and Free of charge!! There is a huge amount of work that you put into this and it was so very kind of you to share it with us!! Thank you again!! :-)

juca  6:18PM Wed, 18 April 2007

Excelent tutorial, hardily work!!Its will happing many people. Congratulations.

RBlue  12:24PM Fri, 06 April 2007


Jops_the_2nd  5:31AM Fri, 06 April 2007

Fantastic Tutorial! This will help me alot! Yesterday I colored my first picture with Photoshop. And the face and hair were driving me mad.... :) If I had seen this page befor this picture would have get much better!

fran_joel  8:43AM Thu, 05 April 2007

Wow. this is one of the best and easy to follow tutorials I have ever read. Wonderful ! I was always intimidated by the idea of painting in Photoshop. However, now that I've read your tutorial, I feel I can give it try ! Thank you very much for taking the time to share your knowledge with others.

Claywoman  8:10PM Wed, 04 April 2007

I didnt think it could get any better..and if Im not totally crazy you did an earlier tut lol..thanks for the huge helps!!

chaylastorm  6:31PM Wed, 04 April 2007

Fantastic!! This has come just at the right time as I'm thinking of trying to 'paint' a face.

iluvjono4eva  3:29AM Sat, 31 March 2007

OMG Great this helps alot....thanx for making a tut with more images.....thanking u so much:) This is awesome! aaa+++

bobbystahr  8:41AM Fri, 30 March 2007

Very good tute mate...coherent and good looking...easy to follow, should I be brash enough to actually attempt to do a portrait...LOL, an inability to draw humanoid stuff is what first 'drew', heh heh heh, me to 3D programs.. ...