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Top 5 Tips for Painting Portraits

Top 5 Tips for Painting Portraits


Hey guys, welcome to another episode of
RossDraws and today I’ll be teaching you guys my top essential tips for
painting portraits! This is NIMAVERSE month on my Patreon,
so I revealed my brand new character Lyris from my upcoming book NIMA, we made
a landscape for her, and today we’ll make a dedicated portrait. Let’s get into it! This is the portrait that we have today, I did
a quick portrait sketch of Lyris. Some of these tips may seem subjective at times,
but these tips are my personal favorites from over the years that I use to make my
portraits look awesome. So tip number one is: Grouping your shapes makes the painting process so much easier when
painting portraits and I’m gonna show you what I mean. So the way I sketched
this, I thought about grouping my shapes and I kept that in mind. So that’s shape number one that’s shape number two That’s shape number three That’s shape number four. You see here, by simplifying and grouping my shapes I’ve simplified
the painting process. Let me show you some real-life examples of portraits
being broken down. For this one right here we have the sweater, we have her
face, and then we have the hair. And if you want to paint this you can easily
dissect each area. For this one, we have this long shape here, we have the head,
and then the components. For this one it’s a little more complex but the
shapes are still there: we have her head, her super curly hair, this jacket, and this
blouse. We have the head, we have the earring, we have the sliver of texture,
and the coat. So I’m gonna show you what I just did for NIMA. Yay! My OC NIMA- We have her skin, we have her coat, we have her hair, and then we have this shape. And then when you have your basic shapes, you go deeper into the shadow
shapes. But before we get to that, I’m going to tell you tip number two, which
is: I’m gonna do a classic portrait lighting, like a top 3/4 and that will dictate my shadow shapes. I’ve identified my light source, and this
is just like a math problem. I’m trying to figure out where the shadows lay on
the form. It’s looking pretty good! Something to think
about is to imagine your character and think about what type of lighting
sources can bring out the life of your character, ’cause different lighting
scenarios will have a different impact on this. I’m gonna give her a more
mysterious look and do like a back rim lighting. So I’m gonna color dodge a
little bit Ooohoohoo- We have a really good foundation here, and so I’m going to
refine it a bit and I’ll check back in with the next tip. Hey guys, welcome back and here’s the
progress of our piece so far. And this is the perfect time to bring out the third
essential tip: Yeah, this is a personal favorite tip of mine that I
love using and I learned this from observing fashion makeup. I noticed when
I add a nice blush to my character it brings out a really natural beautiful
glow and so we rinse right here- Ooohoohoo! Look at that! Some blush here, and then some blush
tones under the eyes- Nice! Look at that I just use the blush tone and blended some of
these edges. It’s a perfect segue into the fourth tip: This is something I learned at the beginning of my art journey, and by exaggerating
edges you make it more interesting and it stimulates the brain. Yeah, so I’m gonna lasso this right here- Ooo~ I’m gonna try this one up here, on this nose bit- So this
is before, and after. It’s basically making the shadow and light sharper and
softer. I picked this up from some of the best digital portrait painters, they
really love exaggerating that sharpness and the softness. And the fifth and final
tip for painting portrait is: Yes! This will
instantly make your portrait pop. Right here- Oooohoohoo~ nice blue right here- yeah, placing this where the highlights
are; trying to get that nice little shine- Before and after. You can tell that it
brings it to life, it’s instantly gratifying, and then we’re gonna do the
reverse which are with deep shadows. Nice! I’m just kind of punching it out
with the instant gratification shadows and highlights to bring out the nice
feature of the portrait. To recap our five essential tips on painting
portraits: You know what, I’m gonna add one more nice
highlight. Ooohohooho~ I think the piece is looking really cool, I’m gonna finish it and I’ll
check back in with the final. Hey guys! Welcome back and I hope you enjoyed the
episode. I personally love painting portraits and those are my personal
favorites that I’ve picked up from over the years. This video parallels my big
Patreon revamp, I’m redoing my entire patreon to focus more on world building
and all my Patrons this month will receive one of these four mystery
character pins! If you want to win a book or a print this video’s question is: What is the tip that really stuck with you and helped
your art? For me I really loved warm light and cool shadows. I feel like that
solves a lot of my art problems, so let me know your favorite tip in the
comments below and we’ll choose a lucky subscriber. Next week is the final week
of NIMAVERSE month! I’m bringing on a very good friend of mine and we’re gonna
draw some character expressions. My book NIMA is coming out really really soon, I
can’t wait. So hang tight, don’t forget to subscribe, and remember: every day is a
color dodge day!

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100 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips for Painting Portraits

  1. Hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy! Let’s keep doing art and being creative. Next week is the finale of Nimaverse month! I’m bringing in a special guest and we’ll be drawing character expressions! Hang tight 🥰

    🌸 My big Patreon update is live! Come build worlds with us and receive a free mystery pin
    https://www.patreon.com/Rossdraws

  2. The tip that speed ed up my art improvement drastically is " Learn step by Step " .. and take your time in every step till you be good at it … Don't rush it to the end …

  3. Hey! Thank you for the tips. They are indeed really helpful.
    My art tip(also to myself) is Contrast. I try really hard to persuade my self do you use darker shadows and more light. I was always scared not to overdo it with the black and white on my paintings until the point I figured out that this is exactly what I must do to make it look cooler and not just plain and boring.
    Love your videos! Keep up the good work!

  4. My Tip: Consistency, when it comes to rendering, stylizing, or taking approaches, always be sure of be consistent

  5. thank you for those tips! they really helped me personally. could you also do a video of tips for coloring skins?

  6. The tips that hung on me until now is the colour wheel theory to find the best shadow and highlight colour to bring up the mood 🍻

  7. That tip will be to get references! I mean, our minds can be very imaginative but is good to have a mood board, and I'll have to thank you for that tip Ross! Stay safe 🙂

  8. I like that you add the time next to the finished portrait, it gives me a more realistic expectation on how long fully rendered out paintings can take. I'm slowly realizing I need to put in more time to really bring out my artwork.

  9. My favorite art tip Ive ever gotten: Art is not meant to be perfect, its a personal expression. There is no 'cookie cutter' formula.

  10. hey ross! for your sketching, like the more clean sketch that you have of lyris in the beginning here is what im referring to, do you use any of the brushes out of your brush pack for this? like is it the marker brush? Also thanks for all great content you've uploaded over the years super helpful and also just love to see all the things you create!

  11. The tip that like the most and i use lately a lot is inverting my sketches. It helps catching mistakes when i'm working on faces, especially eyes in 3/4 positions

  12. my favourite tip and mind opening tip was when i was taught about ambient light and ambient occlusion, basically, it explains the phenomenon of warm light and cool shadows.
    Ambient light is usually defined as sky light and since the sky is usually blue, it causes the base of the object to have a blue tint (cool shadows). Ambient occlusion is the darkest part of the object where even the ambient light does not hit (eg. between two objects contacting each other).
    After that, when i add light to my paintings, it makes them look way more realistic and also becomes warm light and cool shadows :))

  13. Favorite tip: remember your focal point. Don’t made a muggy piece. Add some pop somewhere that catches the viewers attention.

  14. for me, my favorite tip is to not be afraid to use reference photos. that has helped my work turn out so much better, and it helps me get proportions right.

  15. Hmmm, I have a lot of tips that have got me by really. I think one that has impacted me more recently is practicing clarity and decisiveness in the sketch/first draft phase. It's always ok to have a sketchy unrefined lineart or first layer, but it still needs to have clarity. You want to know what you're looking at, what the line you put down represents etc. It really helps to eliminate anxieties and doubts you have in your head, which was something I struggled with a lot.

  16. I think my favorite tip is understanding relationships in art. Something really important as an artist is knowing the composition and where things lay in relevance to each other, it really helps tie your pieces together!

  17. My favourite art tip: ,,Practice makes progress, not perfect.’’ This single sentence can breath lot of confident and courage into me. 🙂 As a relatively fresh illustrator wannabe this ,,tip,, was the reason I kept on drawing even if I couln’t see any progress in that moment. Don’t forget guys, cherry doesn’t blossom overnight, and practice makes your journey even more colourful ><
    Oh, and Ross, I wanted to say thank you, because you’re a huge inspiration for me, and I dare to say to others as well^^ Thanks again!

  18. A great tip for me was not to give up if you mess up.
    You can always make an art piece into something wonderful even if it has many errors.

  19. One of my favorite tips: exaggerate the pose/expression. It really helped loosen up my drawings and forms, and helped them be less stiff and more expressive. I was a very "literal" drawer, so pushing myself to make more fun and expressive drawings helped me think outside the box and make poses i was proud of! And also: draw everyday!

  20. the tip that helped me the most was to have the shadows more saturated than the base color they're shading

  21. My favorite tip that I recently learned in an oil painting class was the "cool/warm" game, where you can define values just by playing between cools and warms. You can have a cool color next to a warm color that are the same value, but by putting them together you can define a highlight or shadow.

  22. My favorite tip was satisfying highlighs and shadows. Im a sucker for highlights and shadows so when you said "satisfying", i was overjoyed. I was always taught to put highlights in last…but when i can put them in where i knoelw they will good, then I'll throw them in mid drawing.

  23. My favourite tip is shadow family stays shadow family, light family stays light family. So there's a distinctive difference in value which makes your artwork pops. This tips was by Marco bucci a few months ago. It really helps me to get my artwork upgraded to another level! Thanks a lot Marco bucci! You are a life savior!

  24. For me I learned that the looser you sketch the more it allows you create and enhance the drawing. Loose sketch lines actually help create some of the most intricate pieces of artwork.

  25. my fav tip that has helped me? Don't be afraid to experiment. Play with different brushes, use colors you never would. You would be surprised at what you can do with something different.

  26. My favorite art tip definitely is to really exaggerate something with your portrait. I always tended to draw portraits that were quite plain, and while they may have shown technical skill, they never really popped. But just choosing to exaggerate something, like pose, lighting, expression, or viewing angle, my pieces be came so much more dynamic.

  27. An art tip that's helped me as far as digital art goes is using the Selective Color tool to help harmonize the colors you use. It's tough for me to pick colors for a setting without having them clash. So I use the Selective Color tool to help balance them out.

  28. My favorite art tip was about how to pose your character. When I first started out I tried to make them do a lot of stance passes but it didn't feel good. Then I received tips on how to position the body and exaggerate the passing a little too bring out a train of the character. I think it's helped to bring them more to life.

    Thanks for the video! I've always wanted to try portraits but I didn't really know what to do and got frustrated work the process. But now I know where to start with! Can't wait for the next one and hope you're safe!

  29. Too bad I'm using a visual diary lol also my favourite tip is erasing and redrawing the mistake until it's perfect XD

  30. The tip that really helped me the most is that you don't paint every detail. You should use the brushes and strokes to allude to detail and the brain will fill in the rest of the information; focus on shape, values, color, and texture!

  31. My favorite art tip is rule of thirds. I sometimes can be systematic especially since my day job is digital marketing which deals with spreadsheets, numbers, and data points mostly. But when I do videography rule of thirds was one of my biggest tips I got and it translates to drawing very easily in my head even though they are different in a way

  32. My favorite tip would have to be using reference images to really refreshing a drawing that is blocking your art process. It really helped freshen up pieces and made some out of the box ideas too! Especially with landscapes and making things in the landscape seem other worldly. I think that is the tip that helped my art process the best.

  33. What's the standard aspect ratio for portraits? And at what resolution are your working into??? I'm very interested to know more about this

  34. My favorite tip has been to remember where the light source is and how it casts different shadows on different parts of the body.

  35. Blush!! I really need to have your book lol, just wanted to learn more from you! thank you Ross. I hope you would be able to uplift other artist out there like me! I've given up painting so now I am back because of you! Thank you so much!

  36. Best tip for me was: Switch your image to black and white to check if your values are working. Really helpful when your eye is not completely on point yet or when you tunnel vision into your piece because you didnt take a break :p

  37. Love your work. I have been trying to to implement your tips to my drawings.
    A tip that has stayed with me and my digital art during my year (one year of drawing) is the smudge/blend tool. They make transitions look really smooth and you can add details that help the work reach 3D effects

  38. Best tip I know:

    If something is wrong with your Painting – It's 90% of the time good Drawing (shapes). I don't remember where I heard it – either Craig Mullins or Alla Prima, but it helped me a lot. 🙂

  39. I loved when I learned about Color Dodge and the colors contrast! It sure made my drawings more alive and more readable. =)

  40. I've just started digital art and been exploring different art types n styles but I think portraits are the things I love to draw the most.

    🔹To me the favorite tip was to add shadow edges n highlights.

  41. Thanks so much ross im new to digital painting and I love watching you paint and appreciate all your helpful tips. Give Milo tons upon tons of hugs and kisses for me.

  42. the best art advice I have ever heard: you can always erase. this applies to lineart especially, where it's easier to over-draw a line and erase the excess, than to have to continue a line you made too short

  43. My mom saw this paining while I was on Instagram and she could not believe that this was a painting! She loves your work!

  44. My favorite art tip is probably painting in complementary colors – If I paint something in blue tones, I certainly like adding orange lights and bits to refresh the overall look of the painting – this goes for both base coloring, shadows and lights. Over the years, I came to understand it is something that can make your painting look lively and interesting!

  45. Art tip for me: use the suject as an excuse to lay down an attractive swath of watercolor. Not to watercolor the EXACT subject.

  46. (Me in self quarantine) Yeah, imma watch and study Ross.

    I'd say favourite tip would be to understand planes on the face and how it can make lighting and shadows easier. Keep it up dude 💯

  47. My favorite tip is high lights + deep shadows, it helped me tons and I feel really proud of my art because of all your tips! ❤️❤️

  48. ART TIP: when you draw or paint "BE LOOS WITH YOU STROKES" !!!
    i use to be stiff when i drew any drawing and painting and being heavy handed didn't make it any better

  49. You probably won’t see this, but when ur book comes out ( which I’m super excited for btw!!!) can you make a series or even just one video ab ur process. It’s my dream to go into the animation industry and maybe even create and direct some of my own stories so seeing how you went through this process would be SUPER cool! Anyhoo love ur art and I can’t wait for the nima book!!!

  50. Hi Ross. Its so great to know that Nima´s Book is coming out. You really inspire me to draw more. If I have to pick one tip It has to be this one: Gesture. There is gesture in everything. Find the lines of action in the subject you are drawing and it will make it a lot easier XD.

  51. Having a gallery of art reference helped me soooo much. I thought the only way was to draw out of your head

  52. They can Say Whatever Of Ross But He's The Only Artist I Have watched That Actually Breaks Things Down In A Simple Understandable Way ,Plus I Feel That He Is Still Humble!.
    I Have Watched Milllions Of Videos And Some Professional Artists Have Forgotten They Were Beginners Too,Thanks For This Video I Needed It!.🤧👏🏿🖌

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