Sunday, July 19, 2009

Self Portrait quick tutorial

(Click on the image to zoom in)
Here's a quickie self-portrait I did in PhotoShop this afternoon.....well, yes, it began with a photo of me, and yes, I took some liberties. I've told online friends that I'll never grow old to them as long as I can still manage PhotoShop. No, you may not see the original photo......It would spoil the illusion. I like this technique, and I'll try some more, maybe not so stern looking portraits. Actually, it looks more like my Aunt Lee, but my mom has always gotten us mixed up, so I guess it's okay.

Open a photo in PhotoShop, desaturate it, and you may need to raise the contrast a bit in order to bring out the shadow areas. If you also own Corel Painter, you may not use the brushes in PhotoShop very often, but there are some pretty nifty ones in there. Create you first transparent layer above the canvas and begin tracing in gestural strokes. Just try for the essence of the image; leave something to the imagination. Most of the outlining I did with a small Retouch brush, working in a total of 18 layers. I like to work like that because it allows a lot of freedom for changing Opacity and Blending Modes. The painterly looking strokes in shading and in the hair were done using various David Nagel brushes, which are some of my absolute favorites. Google Nagel brushes to find them for free download.

When it's looking like you want it, add a layer of painted texture, maybe a painting you've done earlier, or one you downloaded from a stock photo site. Then begin to play with Blending Modes. I used Softlight. You may also need to move the painted texture layer around to position the colours where they look best. Finally, I added Sandstone texture twice at 50% and 65% consecutively, fading both to 49%. It just looks better that way. That's a really abbreviated tutorial. If you have questions, just ask. You know I love to talk. See ya later!


  1. I like the format you are into here. It is rather like reading a book of short stories that take you away in different directions.
    I am interested in what you write. So far I can be a great cook, diviner, have the most beautiful skin in the world, appreciate my family most of all, do a little digital art and take more photos all the while listening to great music. What could be better than that from a friend.

  2. Hello, dear heart. I answered your comment once, and gremlins ate it I guess. Anyway, your views on my chatter are and always have been appreciated.

  3. I love her, Cat. I used to collect dolls but now they just collect dust stored away. I enjoy your blog very much.

  4. Thanks, Ann! I made a few dolls, way back when, just one of my gazillion hobbies.

  5. So Cat wit the big eyes,
    I have following you art a lot of jears,also on Retouchpro
    and i still love it, i thin ,jou are one of the best.Ilike the verry diferent styl from jou, olways news.
    Hope you understand my miserable englishs.
    I treay to folowing your tuts, but its steay a treay, never i kan make something like jour faboulous work.
    But verry thanks for helping people to do something with digital art.
    Roy, Ostend belgium