In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a beautiful colored pencil drawing from a photo, using artistic lines, gradients, noise effects to simulate airbrush techniques, as well as using standard tools to create simple design drawings. Get your tablet, open the program Adobe Photoshop, and let’s get started.
1. Create a new document.
Create a new document in Adobe Photoshop (I am using version 2014 of the CC), set approximately the following dimensions 8 inches x 10 inches at a resolution of 300 peak / inch. The dimensions of this document are arbitrary, therefore, you can use your working paper sizes that are suitable for your original photo or for your design.
Open your original image. In this lesson, I use a photo that is shown in the screenshot below, you can buy it on the PhotoDune website. Select the entire image (Ctrl + A), Copy (Ctrl + C), and then Paste (Ctrl + V) the copied image onto our working document. Decrease Opacity (Opacity) layer with the original photo up to 60%, and then click the icon Saves everything (Lock All) to lock the layer.
The brush that we use to create artistic lines is a modified standard brush. Go to bookmark Brushes (Brush), in the settings, select a hard round brush, set the angle and shape of the brush, giving a pointy ellipse and an angle of 39 ° or about the same. With this brush, we’ll give our lines a sharp calligraphic look. In settings Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics), select Control (Control): Pen pressure (Pen Pressure) from the drop down menu below the option Size fluctuation (Size Jitter).
2. Draw a stroke of facial features.
Create a new layer and with the brush you just created, start to outline the model’s eyes. Use a dark shade, but not black. I chose a deep purple hue (# 362641). I decided to start with a stroke of the eyelid, including a stroke of the outer corners of the eyelashes. I carefully circled the line, making it thinner towards the center of the face.
Once again, go over the drawn lines a couple of times to align them, make them more thickened and more uniform. Do not worry about the many details. We will carefully outline the facial features, therefore, the details of the face will not overload the entire design of the drawing.
Continue to trace the model’s facial features. Draw a thin line representing the nose bridge, the nostrils (wings of the nose and nostrils), and the tip of the nose. For lip liners, I used a thin line on the upper lip and a more thickened line at the tips of the lips, as well as in the center of the lips. To imitate a shadow, use a more thickened line under the lower lip.
Use the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool (E) for processing the lines so that the lines are clear and uniform. That’s why I work with a document with a resolution of 300 ppi: I can zoom in and work on the artistic line to the smallest detail.
To draw eyebrows, I increased the diameter of the brush in the brush settings Other dynamics (Shape Dynamics) tab Brushes (Brush) and set Control (Control): Pen pressure (Pen Pressure) from the drop down menu below the option Size fluctuation (Size Jitter). Start drawing eyebrows from the center of the face to the side due to two passes with a brush. Use the eraser, reducing the diameter of the same brush that we used.
Do not forget what the eyebrows look like on the original photo. Perhaps you could carefully circle them, but, in my opinion, it is better to paint the eyebrows with a brush, which will make your lines dynamic and interesting.
3. Draw earrings
The earrings, which are presented in this lesson, are drawn with the help of simple figures and without an original photo of hand-made earrings. Let’s take a brush and draw them now:
1. Draw a simple circle. You can also use the tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool (U), because I know how non-ideal a circle can be.
2. Copy the drawn circle, and then paste on a new layer. Next, flip the duplicate layer horizontally, go Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal). Using tool Move (Move Tool (V), move the duplicate of the circle with the circle to the right. Merge both layers with circles (Ctrl + E). Next, draw a straight line between the circles, hold down the (Shift) key so that the line is straight.
3. Draw short straight lines on each side of the circle, and then use a brush to draw a curve from the left side point of the circle to the center line.
4. Draw the same curve on the right side.
Continue to draw the catkins in the shape of a heart, use the color # ce3681 as the final color to stroke the lines:
1. Copy / paste the shape you drew in the previous step, reduce the scale of the duplicate layer by 50% or about. Place a duplicate shape in the center of a large heart shape. Combine both layers. Using tool Pen (Pen Tool), circle the contour of the heart from the top center point to the bottom center point.
2. Create a new layer. Select a brush, make sure the brush is the same, with the pointed end that we set up earlier in this lesson. Set the brush size to 4 px. Further, Stroke the outline. (Stroke Path) by selecting a brush as the stroke tool (Translator’s Note: further, the author from a half of a contour, will create an integral heart).
3. Copy, Paste, Flip Horizontally duplicate halves of the contour of the heart. Turn off the visibility of the layer with a basic sketch of earrings. Next, combine both layers with the halves of the heart contour to get the whole heart on a separate layer. Adjust the contour of the heart with the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool) or Brush (Brush Tool).
4. Copy, Paste the contour of the heart to a new layer. Reduce the duplicate layer size to get the inner core of the heart. Use the original layer with the base figure of the heart drawn to align the central part of the heart. Create a new layer and with a brush, draw a straight line from the bottom of the inner shape of the heart. Draw another line perpendicular to the first line, pointing it in the right direction, as shown in the screenshot below.
5. Finish the shape by drawing the third line.
Create a new layer in the layers palette. Next, with the tool Pen (Pen Tool), draw a simple plus sign shape using the rectangle you drew in the previous step. Remove the layers with the earring sketches / baselines, modify the final design of the earrings. Merge all the layers with the painted earring fragments into one merged layer.
4. Complete the outline of the model portrait.
Continue to stroke the original portrait of the model. In this case, I decided from the very beginning to use the same hairstyle as on the original photo of the model. At this stage of the lesson, you can decide which details of the original photo you will use in your final design. Do not forget to draw fragments of the model image, for example, hair, hands, etc. on separate layers so that these fragments can be easily edited, in case you decide to change the design.
Move the image of the earrings to our working paper, placing the earring, as shown in the screenshot below. Using tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool), draw small circles above the earring. Next, run Stroke contour (Stroke Path).
If you decide to change the hairstyle of the model, which would differ from the original image, then the following steps would be useful for you. Create a new layer and use a small-diameter brush (the same brush with a pointed end that we used in the previous steps), start painting hair locks. I started from the top of my head, drawing hair curls up to the model’s eyebrows. If you wish, you can use another photo to draw a hair style.
To make it easier for you to draw hair, turn off the visibility of the original layer with the model. Next, create a new layer, and then draw the lines defining the shape of the model’s head, taking into account the facial features of the model. This allowed me to get the correct angle of the hair style. Next, I deleted the auxiliary layer with sketches of contour lines, since I don’t need him anymore.
I have completely completed the outline of the image of the model. Notice how the lines thicken closer to the outer contour of the image and become more arbitrary than the lines that are drawn within the contour of the image (in particular, it concerns the hairline). Once you have completed the outline of the contour lines, then merge all the layers, remove any auxiliary layers with outline contour lines, and be ready for the next step, to create an airbrush effect.
5. Color the portrait of the model.
My main color for this design is pale pink # ecd4f6. Create a new layer. Using tool Pen (Pen Tool), circle the outline of the model image. As soon as you close the contour, fill the selected shape with the specified color.
Create a new layer on top of all other layers, and then use the tool Gradient (Gradient Tool (G), gradient type Linear (Linear), pull the gradient diagonally. The gradient colors I chose are yellow, pink, purple.
Change the blending mode for the gradient layer to Soft light (Soft Light). I turned off the visibility of the pink fill layer so you can see the effect of the gradient layer in the screenshot below. This effect will be more apparent in the next step.
I highly recommend using gradient colors to complement the basic fill color you chose for your model’s skin color. In this case, we are talking about pastel colors. Using tool Move (Move Tool), move the rose-filled layer down and then slightly to the right to create a shift from the contour line.
Create a new layer below the layers with colored coloring. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool), in the brush settings, select the standard brush a piece of chalk (Chalk), also reduce Opacity (Opacity) brush up to 60%, and also reduce Pressure (Flow) brush up to 75%.
Using a light shade, such as yellow (#fffdda), paint over the image of the model with strokes around the outline. I use this step to add a new color cast to the outline by adding texture to the picture.
6. Add soft colors
Create a new layer above the layer with a pink fill in the contour of the model image and below the layer with contour lines. Using a brush, select a chalk brush, paint over the earrings, and also carefully paint the eye contour of the model. Next, go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Apply the settings for this filter to your liking.
In the filter settings, I set the amount of noise to 10%, chose the type of noise distribution Uniform (Uniform), and also put a tick in the box Monochrome (Monochromatic).
Create a new layer on top of the layer you created in the previous step. Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient Tool), install Radial gradient (Radial Gradient), the colors of the gradient from foreground color to transparent, where the foreground color is white.
Add a small radial gradient to the model’s lips. Do the same on the model’s eyes, lightening the shadows on the eyes. Using the eraser, hide the white gradient effect behind the contour of the eyes and lips.
Let’s use soft gradients to simulate the spray paint on the model’s body.
1. Create another new layer. Using tool Gradient (Gradient Tool), add small soft radial gradients of purple (# 9e57d7) on the model’s shoulder and arms.
2. Reduce the opacity of the tool or layer if you think the color of the gradient is too saturated.
3. Loosen the gradient on the chest where the hand is touching.
4. With a tool Move (Move Tool), move the purple gradient down and slightly to the right, just as we did in Step 5, Step 3.
Just as you added a white gradient to the model’s face, we will also add the same effect to the hair. Create a new layer on top of the other layers with gradients. Using a radial gradient, a gradient color from white to transparent, draw soft gradients on the model’s hair. Hide sections of gradients whose color has fallen on the face.
7. Draw butterflies
Create a new layer, then using a radial gradient, the color of the gradient from the foreground color to transparent. I used different shades of purple, blue, turquoise and pink, adding a spray effect around the model’s head.
Next, we use the tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool), select the Butterfly shape from the set of shapes with nature.
1. With a tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool), draw a butterfly. Next, go to the bookmark Contours (Paths) and in the bottom panel, click Load outline as selection (Load Path as Selection). Copy / paste the copied butterfly shape along with the color gradient.
2. While on the gradient-filled color layer, draw more butterflies. Load the active selection of the drawn butterflies, copy / paste onto a new layer. Vary the size of the butterflies, as well as their location, as you see fit.
3. Use the tool Move (Move Tool) to move butterflies throughout the scene. Turn the butterflies, for this we go Editing – Transformation – Rotate (Edit> Transform> Rotate). Once you are satisfied with the arrangement of the butterflies, merge all the layers with the butterflies, and then disable the visibility of the color layer that we created in the previous step.
8. Add paint spray effect.
Once again create a new layer. Add colored radial gradients around the model shape. Also add a white radial gradient in the center of the image to diffuse the gradients themselves. At the moment, the picture looks as if it has been sprayed with paint over several times.
Add noise to a new layer of spray paint. Set the amount of noise 10–15%, and also select the type of distribution according to Gauss (Gaussian). Do not forget to put a tick in the box Monochrome (Monochromatic). Click OK to apply the changes.
Place this layer below the pink-filled layer of the model’s outline. Notice that after adding noise, the picture began to look as if it was painted by spraying, and not just put airbrush paint on the surface of the picture.
9. Add additional patterns.
Create a new layer on top of the layer you created in Item 8. Using the tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool), draw another shape selected from a standard set of shapes. I chose a figure Flower Pattern 2 (Floral Ornament 2) in patterns.
Draw a flower pattern in the upper right corner of your painting with an overlap on the edges of your working paper.
Next, go to the bookmark Contours (Paths) and in the bottom panel, click Load outline as selection (Load Path as Selection).
Select tool again Gradient (Gradient Tool), gradient color from white to transparent, gradient type Radial (Radial). Gently pull the gradient across the entire selected area. The pattern is barely visible, therefore, it is not so bright, and also not completely white.
Repeat steps 1–2 of this Item. Add more floral patterns to the corner of your picture. If there is a desire, then you can add floral patterns to the opposite corner of the picture, for this, copy, paste, rotate floral patterns.
Congratulations! We have completed the lesson!
Author: Mary Winkler