Contrasting Elements for Portraiture

In this series of lessons, we will learn how to create a finished illustration while focusing on the topic of contrasting elements.
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Dec 17, 2009
Duration
6h 53m
Table of contents
Introduction and Project Overview
Contrasting Elements for Portraiture
Description
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Dec 17, 2009
Duration
6h 53m
Description

In this series of lessons, we will learn how to create a finished illustration while focusing on the topic of contrasting elements. We will learn a variety of useful digital illustration techniques. We will go through every step of this illustration, from the rough sketch to the refinement phase, all the way to the finishing touches that bring this image to life. Software required: Photoshop.

About the author
About the author

With a rich history of traditional drawing and art, Danielle Iyer is an extremely skilled creator and teacher.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hello and welcome to Digital Painting: contrasting elements for portraiture, presented by Digital-Tutors. My name is Danielle and I'll be your instructor as we explore the various uses of contrast and how artists can use it in a multitude of ways to establish a deeper connection between our audience and our subjects. The phrase contrasting elements can actually refer to a number of things. It can be contrasting color or lighting and it can even be in characters with contrasting personalities. In this training, we will explore the many ways to express this contrast in personalities through clothing, hair styles, facial expression, and body language as well. With our focus on one woman and her inner conflict, we'll start with an underpainting and work our way through to a fully rendered portrait. With each step carefully documented. this training will be beneficial for any artist looking to add depth in their artwork. We will be using Photoshop as our tool however, any painting application will be suitable to get beautiful results. The first thing that came to mind for this project of contrasting elements is how we all face our own inner demons. And the first image that popped up was of a woman on her wedding day facing her own inner conflicts, wondering if she's really ready for marriage or not. So with that thought, let's get started with creating the scene. I'll go to File, New, I like to keep my studies pretty small to begin with so we'll start with an eight by eight. That will be a good size. We can always expand this later and we can always crop it down if we need to. Resolution, want to keep that pretty high. Okay, now first thing we want to do is sort of establish the mood of the piece by selecting a color that'll help define the image and all the objects in that scene will then be affected by that background color so we want to start that in the first step. Now since the focus is on the woman and her inner conflict, I imagine a quiet setting for her to be alone with her thoughts so we don't want a loud color. Something a little bit more recessive would fit better, like a blue so let's go ahead and select a nice blue tone. Something a little bit bright but not too saturated. Something right about in here, say Okay, see what that does. We'll just go ahead and fill this in really quickly. So that's a good color to start with. Now, when we feel we need a moment alone, we tend to isolate ourselves with our thoughts and we can suggest this isolation by having the woman kind of face a wall with her back turned towards the ilght so what I see is I see a light source kind of coming out from the outside of the scene on the right side of this image and I like to kind of build in my shadows rather than build in the light. So let's go ahead and select the Burn tool. I like to make it pretty large. So we can just have a nice controlled gradient and we'll start with the opposite corner of where the light's coming from. So we'll go ahead and just kind of start building in that color in a nice little arch so it's a more of a natural fall. There we go, add a little bit more darkness in this side, kind of play with that a little bit more. So it's looking pretty good. Now with our light source defined and our color palette pretty much defined by the background, let's go ahead and start blocking in the woman, starting with the midtone. I'll select my Brush and go with somewhat of a midtone in here. We'll turn that saturation down not not be so saturated. We can always build the skin tones on top of this. I like to start with a hard edge round brush in here. Now, we want to start with a new layer and we'll name that Woman. Now what we want to do is sort of feed off the emotions expressed on this woman's face and in her body language so we'll want to keep this image pretty tight and close to her face to start off with. Now I imagine her face turned away from the light quite a bit and sort of leaning her head against the wall for support. But we still want to manipulate the scene with the mood expressed on her face so we'll need to see enough of her face for this. Let's start by kind of expanding our Brush a little bit more so we can just block in the overall form. We'll start with the head. I imagine it right in the center since she's the main object or subject. Let's go ahead and just kind of block in that main tone, we'll acutally change this a little bit more so it's not so nasty looking. There we go, that fits a little bit better. We'll block in that main shape for her head ad kind of the main midtone for the scene. Kind of has a bigger head and we'll go ahead and establish that the front of her face is up against the wall. We can actually change that angle just a little bit more so it's more of her forehead against the wall. Alright, and for this this, we want to actually kind of build in just a little bit of her face so let's go ahead and shrink this down. We can see her forehead kind of coming in. I want to hav a little bit of her nose kind of coming out, about in here, it's a little bit smaller, and kind of give just a little bit of lips. A chin. So just blocking in the main part of her face so we can see just a little bit of expression on her face so it's actually going to work out pretty well, with her forehead being the closest thing to the wall. Alright and with that kind of blocked in, we can go ahead and go on to the body. Let's go ahead and just kind of build in her neck. I want to have her leaning so her head's going to be out a little farther than her body. Alright, now with her body, we don't want to have it a full-on silhouette, we want to kind of have it adjust a little more for added drama. So I want to keep it visually interesting. So I'll kind of tilt her a little bit, kind of put her shoulder right about in here and the other shoulder a little bit higher up so it's kind of tilted and angled a little bit. So there's her other shoulder over here. You're going to have her back to the light again. That will be her back side and as for the rest of her torso, kind of come up right about in here, kind of have her slouch just a little bit. I'll just fill this whole region in. So we're seeing more of her back than anything else so her shoulder's right about here. We'll have her arm kind of come down and to reinforce that leaning feeling where she's kind of feeling hopeless and wants to lean on something, we can kind of add her arm kind of coming in and her hand resting against the wall for support. That'll help reinforce through the pose. Let's go ahead and just kind of help that hand out a little bit. There you go. I'll kind of straighten this up a little bit more. Just build just little bit more in the forearm. I'll make this a little bit smaller so we can add just a little bit of grace, and a thumb. So we can clearly see she's leaning up against a wall. Her arm pretty much over here and from this angle, we'll see just a little bit of her chest kind of sticking out, kind of fix that just a little bit more. And she might be a little too thick in the backside. Let's go ahead and fix that up. So notice how we're building in just the form. We're just focusing on the silhouette and how it might be clear to read, even from the simple blocked in figure. Alright, now as for the other arm, I kind of see her leaning up against the wall for support so we might actually be able to reinforce that by putting her arm up against the wall itself. So let's go ahead and kind of establish that the elbow might be coming right about here, on the other side of her head. Just have her arm kind of come up. We can see a little bit more of that shoulder shape, elbow right here, coming out, her wrist will be right about here. So that's how I kind of picture this. And have it gracefully hanging on the side, the thumb kind of showing just a little bit, so it looks like she's leaning up against the wall. Might actually change this angle just a little tiny bit, make it a little bit more interesting. Alright, so I have a roughed in silhouette and it's looking pretty interesting and pretty clearly readable. Now again, this woman is reflecting on her inner conflict. Now I imagine that the most powerful way to reinforce this situation is to add objects that demonstrate or represent certain thoughts. So the first thing that comes to mind with reflections is a mirror or a reflective surface so this will be perfect for our scene to kind of add in a mirror. So with that, let's go ahead and add a new layer, just for our mirror, I'll just name that Mirror. And we want it below the woman since the woman is closest to us. We'll move that layer down. Now, as for the shape of the mirror, we want it to work for us, we want to sort of keep that eye movement throughout the piece. We notice that there's this little flow going on in here and if we add that square edge, it'll kind of cut off that flow so we want to keep it rounded, so an oval mirror would do perfectly. Now with that, we can go ahead and go to our Eliptical Selection, there we go, and we'll kind of select out a rounded shape, a little bit more of an oval, but still pretty well rounded. Kind of move it over if we wanted to. So we can actually make that work for us. I can shift it upwards a little bit more, maybe even more roudned than that. Something right about there. This'll actually work pretty well for a mirror. So we can kind of move it around, see if that'll work pretty well right there, we'll see how that does. And we can just go ahead and fill this area in. On our mirror layer, we'll select a different color for our brush and just kind of go with a darker, maybe less saturated, right about here, not a full black. We don't want to keep it black. The mirror will reflect the light off, it won't really absorb any light. And we want the room to look pretty empty so we'll keep it nice and dark. Just fill this in really quickly, really roughly, and notice already, we've got this really powerful eye movement or eye flow going on. And we kept that same flow with the woman. So we'll deselect that and we'll kind of keep that in there. So notice how quickly we've already established our scene and we've maintained that same story elements in this scene. In the next lesson, we'll take a little bit more of a deeper look on this scene.