Photoshop Paint Vibrant Portrait Art

ImagineFX|December 2019

Photoshop Paint Vibrant Portrait Art
Daniel bolling Walsh reveals how he makes use of custom brushes and a range of Photoshop layer modes to create a painterly portrait piece
Daniel Bolling Walsh

In this workshop I’ll take you through my process of painting a portrait of a woman in her mid-20s. I’m going for an overall painterly and expressive style that makes use of a vibrant warm colour palette.

I’ll start with a line drawing with some basic greyscale values blocked in. I’ll then use Photoshop layer modes as well as adjustment layers over the top of the drawing to experiment with colours, and begin establishing the colour palette. After I’ve made a few different colour mockups, I’ll choose my favourite to push further to a finished painting.

During this stage I’ll focus on some of the facial features and start to define the forms of the face with more opaque and detailed brushstrokes. At this point hopefully I’ll feel confident that the focal point is working and I can then play around with the shapes as well as the contrast of sharp and soft edges using my favourite Photoshop tool, the Mixer brush. I’ll experiment throughout the process, and will make some late adjustments to the composition to try and add to the overall warm feel of the subject and her expression.

1 Sketching some ideas

During this stage I make a few different sketches to see what kind of pose will work for the piece. For the subject I’m thinking about the gesture and her eye contact with the viewer. She should feel friendly! I keep these really loose and I also focus on my line work and the overall composition.

2 Time to draw!

My time at the Swedish Academy of Realist Art was fun. We did a lot of kroki (life drawing) as well as studying the master works of Charles Bargue. His works begin quite structured with very straight lines, and so this stops me from attempting to get the curves right in the first place. It’s much like simplifying your sketch to make sure you’re getting your proportions correct.

3 Bring in blocks of flat value


You can read upto 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log-in, if you are already a subscriber


Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines


December 2019