Portraits and figure studies can be fun to paint on the computer. For the beginner it may seem like a daunting experience, but if you start by first painting many smaller sketches you will gradually gain the confidence to tackle larger, more complex works. It would also be advantageous, as I have stressed before, to do some painting and sketching with traditional mediums as well. It's also important to spend some time studying other artist's paintings in books, museums and galleries, there's a goldmine of information and inspiration out there.
A painting of my granddaughter, Liz, at the piano. A loose rendition using Photoshop 5.0
Another granddaughter, Ryan, rendered over a scanned drawing. By having her shirt and background the same color and drawing in dark lines to define her body, I made the painting much more interesting. It was done in Photoshop 5.0. I prefer more of a painterly quality in my realistic renditions rather than hyper realism, which seems so hard and cold, without feeling.
The violinist was painted directly over a photograph using the Painter Classic program. I deliberately kept the rendering very loose and sketchy.
Liz with Charlie. This was painted over a photo using the Photoshop program and has a nice painterly quality.
A client of mine commissioned me to do a portrait of his grandson. On this painting I first did a pencil drawing and painted over the scanned image with Photoshop 5.0 and Painter Classic, using a photo as reference. With Painter Classic you can create nice juicy brushstrokes that have the look of an oil painting. The finished image was printed on 13 x 19" archival paper using pigmented inks which resist fading. Dye based inks will eventually fade, manufacturers claim that pigmented inks will not show signs of fading for over two hundred years. We'll never know if they are correct, but if the prints are framed properly and not hung in direct sunlight, they should not fade.
On my next post I will show you a few variations on painting portraits.