For many of us, drawing a portrait based on an outline is an impossible task. But in fact it is not as difficult as it may seem at first. In this lesson you will learn how to draw a fantasy portrait based on a sketch without using any references. We’ll start by creating an outline, then we will paint in color, draw the skin, add texture and shadows. Let’s get started!
Step 1. Let’s start by creating a sketch of our portrait. I painted it immediately in Photoshop using a tablet. Maybe it will be more convenient for you to draw it on paper, scan it and transfer it to Photoshop. If it is difficult for you to draw a sketch yourself, you can use mine, download it here.
When you start drawing skin, it is convenient to first create a palette of colors that you will use. Create such a palette on the new layer, in the future you will be able to take color samples from it using the tool EyeDropperTool (Pipette). I chose a few beige tones from light to darker and shades of pink. The more transitional shades you use, the skin will look more natural.
Step 2. The colors you use will vary depending on the type of skin you are painting. To draw skin, you need to decide on the basic tone, midtones, tone for shadows, light areas and warmer shades for drawing cheekbones. Start drawing using a neutral beige color (# dfbaa8) and paint over the entire skin. This will be the basis. You can use the tool PaintBucketTool (Fill) or tough Brush (Brush).
Now choose a darker color from the palette and start adding shadows. Paint the lips area a delicate pink base color for the lips.
Look at which areas you need to add shadows and light.
Step 3. In this step we will draw eyebrows. It is not difficult. The first thing to do is paint over the areas of the eyebrows with the main color for the skin.
Take your main brush. Go to the brush settings and tick the Shape Dynamics checkbox, make the settings as in the screenshot. Set the brush opacity to about 60-70% and paint eyebrow hairs one by one. The diameter of the brush, put 2-4 pixels. It’s really easy to draw; if you have a tablet, pressing the pen will do the work for you. If you do not have a tablet, then use the tool SmudgeTool (Finger) and pull the tips of the eyebrows with it.
Step 4. We start drawing eyes, for this, first fill in the necessary areas using primary colors for the eyes.
Do not forget that the eyeballs are spherical in shape, so the edges of the eyes should be darker and the center should be lighter.
The upper eyelid should have a shadow. At the lower eyelid, too, draw a shadow, but choose a lighter color. Add some light to the iris. The iris consists of a set of thin lines running from the pupil. Draw them with a brush of small diameter (no more than 3 pixels). In the settings of the brush, turn on the option Shape Dynamics. Make some lines darker, and others lighter and a little thicker to achieve the desired result.
Add another shadow under the lower eyelid and a little light around the inner corner of the eye. This will give your eyes depth.
Now let’s draw a pink meat at the eye. First draw a red line, then add small white lines at the corners of the eyes and above the red line. Create a new layer and start drawing lashes. Use a dark color and the same brush settings as we did for the eyebrows. Look at the image below and understand how the lashes should be arranged. For the bottom row of eyelashes, use a brush with 50-60% opacity.
Let’s improve our eyes by adding more details to the drawing. Use tools DodgeTool (Clarifier) and BurnTool (Dimmer) in order to give greater depth to the iris and pupil. Add also more light and color using soft shades.
Draw a small eyeliner for the upper eyelid. If you wish, you can change the color of the eyes using an adjustment layer. Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and creating for it a clipping mask to the layer with the iris (Alt + click between the layers).
Step 5. Now we draw lips. This is not difficult at all, since we will use the same technique as for drawing eyes. The image below shows where to add light tones and shadows.
Add shadows to both corners of the lips. Now set the light pink color and start drawing curved smooth lines like you did for the iris. Make the center of the lips lighter than the edges. Change the tone and keep adding lines to the lips. It is important that the Shape Dynamics option with the default settings be enabled on the brush settings panel (F5).
Create an adjustment layer Levels (Levels) with the settings shown below and add a clipping mask to it with the lips layer (Alt + click between the layers). Now you need to change the brush settings for drawing the texture on the lips. Open the brush settings panel and set the following options: Scattering (Scattering) – both axes 470%, Other Dynamics / Transfer (Other Dynamics / Transfer) – 0% and Smoothing (Smoothing). Choose a light color and paint over the lips in the light areas (in the middle). This will give the impression that the girl is using lip gloss.
Step 6. Add more light around the upper lip.
Step 7. Add adjustment layer Levels (Levels). Set the parameters shown below.
Step 8. Now that we’ve painted the base, let’s add some more detail. Make a combined copy of all visible layers (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E). Select from the menu Filter > Noise > Addnoise (Filter-Noise-Add Noise), set it to 7-9%. Leave the noise only on the skin, wipe it off from other areas using a layer mask.
Step 9. In this step, we will add texture to the skin. First take the tool Brush (Brush) and set the appropriate settings – make sure the Scattering options are turned on – about 350%, Control – Pen Pressure (Count Pen), Count Jitter (Counter Vibration) – 12%. Now select the three colors one by one for painting – light cream, pale pink and beige and start adding freckles to her cheekbones and nose. Set the layer opacity to about 30-40%.
Create a new layer and set slightly different parameters in the brush settings to add texture to the skin. Tick the Texture. Select there a texture similar to this one (see screenshot). Paint on the skin, and then set the opacity of this layer to about 30%.
Step 10. In this step we will draw hair. It’s not so difficult, start by choosing the desired color for the base of the hair and draw the shape of your future hairstyle. I used the color # d28c6a.
Create a new layer. Start drawing with thicker strands of hair, and finish with thinner ones. Make sure that the option Shape Dynamics is enabled in the brush settings. So the ends of the hair will look more natural.
On a new layer, add more strands of hair of different colors. Do not be afraid to choose unusual colors for this, it will look interesting, we draw a fantasy portrait. I chose a delicate yellow color and set the brush opacity to about 70%.
Combine all visible layers with hair into one and add light and shadows to the hair using tools. DodgeTool (Clarifier) and BurnTool (Dimmer).
Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) with the parameters shown below. Leave the effect of this adjustment layer only on the hair (erase the excess on the mask layer or create a clipping mask).
Step 11. Now let’s add a background. You can download the texture you like from here.
Place the texture layer below the portrait layers.
Create an adjustment layer GradientFill (Gradient). Set the settings shown below. Place this layer above the background layer. It should not be visible in the portrait, only in the background. Set the layer opacity to 40%.
Create another adjustment layer. GradientMap (Gradient map). Use the settings and colors shown below. Set the layer opacity to 50%.
Step 12. Now, on top of all layers create an adjustment layer. GradientMap (Gradient map) and set the settings shown. Opacity set to 30%.
Step 13. Create an adjustment layer Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Set the value of Saturation (Saturation) +25.
Step 14. Create an adjustment layer Levels (Levels). The settings are shown below.
Step 15. The last thing we need to do is add hair on the other side of the face. Take the tool PenTool (Pen) and cut out some of the hair, flip them horizontally and place them below the face on the right side. That’s all! We are done!
Additional portrait options
Here are some more examples of what you can add to your fantasy portrait – for example, elf ears, a necklace, or perhaps futuristic glasses (click on image to enlarge).