Ada

Another portrait (you know I love them) and besides that - lots of Ada's red hair ;) I finished this one ages ago but somehow I didn't show it to the world. It was supposed to be a start of an art-book but oh well... Motivation and time are both long gone, for now let's forget about the art-book. Well, anyway, I have many steps for drawing hair here, maybe they'll help someone out.

All critique and questions are more than welcome so speak up! :D

This time some additional steps for the sketch itself, just to show how I start out with a portrait. This time I wanted to draw her exactly as I imagined so I tried extra hard, sketch was very important here. And I am very lame when it comes to sketches so everything is messy anyway but it is still helping :) I guess shape of her face changed completely... That determined/mean look is still here :D

Ada Ada Ada

I add first colors with a hard brush, trying to make skin look realistic (I mean its color). White background was obviously giving me a hard time with that but back then I wasn't very careful with that... I guess her red hair was the only thing that saved skin color in this portrait. Everything seems to be in contrast with them. In the same time I try to arrange Ada's hair painting heavy, thick locks.

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Then I move on to what is best in portraits - eyes :) I really didn't spend a lot of time here. With hard brush I add all important features like edge of the bottom eyelid, iris, pupil and highlights and when it looks good when zoomed out I immediately start working on the skin, leaving the eye as it is. For the polished look I use soft brush with low opacity and slowly blend colors together. I don't want to loose what is already painted with a hard brush. It takes some time!

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In th meantime I add some more color to the whole picture, because she seems to be too pale after adding background (a ha!). I just add new layer with blending mode switched to "overlay" and with a soft brush I add a little bit of color on the shadowed areas of her face. After that I continue with skin reparation program... She gets her second eye too.

Ada Ada Ada

While painting the nose I use both soft and hard brush. Hard one is better for defining shapes, soft one lets me blend colors more easily. Finally her nose starts to stick out (lighter areas stick out, add more shadow and add more light!) :) It's easier to paint it if you add darker color first and then build light on top of it. Last step is painting special elements like nose holes, highlight on the top and refining edges.

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Then comes her chin and line of the jaw, refining remaining skin and lips, which I start painting (I still can't paint them in the way that I am happy with the result, this is some kind of nightmare...). I add some more light to the skin below her eyes and on cheekbones. It will be buried under the skin texture anyway but... ;) Her face gains some more color from all those tiny dots I put on the separate layer. I pick many different tones, adding some more light to some areas and shadowing (with dots!) another ones. I also add some freckles-like spots, just to make her face more interesting.

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Ah, miracles that skin texture can do :D Then I add some details, fixing her make up, adding eyebrows and eyelashes. Then time comes for the hair. On the separate layer I paint her fringe, which vanished a while ago, buried under the skin. I try to use many colors. Natural hair is really colorful in the sun.

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I divided her hair into chunks on the very beginning so what I need to do now is to add some detail. So I pick a very small and hard brush and slowly add thin strands along my thick locks. Sometimes I add some line to the side, because hair never just falls down obediently, there is always some diversion ;) And some info for all those people who show me their works and ask what to do to make hair look better: people, patience. Drawing hair took more than half of the time I've spend on this picture. Those are just stupid lines, it's not hard, really. But it takes time. A lot of it.

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On the sides I add some sun burned hair, white strands, completely covered in light, reflecting it intensely. I also add some more shadow to some part of the head, to give it more volume. This is also a good trick for those who paint hair and get helmet instead. Hair is not just handing there, flat on the head and along shoulders. Nope. Some if it should be on the front, some of it on the back and you have to show it. You can do it with light (lighter comes to front, darker goes back), you can do it with depth and detail (sharp and detailed comes to front, blurry goes to back), with color (warm and bright goes to front, cold and dark goes back) or in many different ways. Look in the mirror or photo, then at your work and you will see what is wrong.

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While finishing the hair I paint Ada's neck too. I paint over that white part inside her hair, near the neck. It only bugged me, nothing good came out of it. Obviously I add some skin texture to the neck, using dots and small lines (on the neck there are more lines that dots, check it out). After adding few more bright strands my painting is finished.

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And some details ;D

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Some finishing touches, a bit of contrast and it's really done :)