Here’s my latest soft-airbrushing painting. Referenced from a subscriber (Kay Dawkins) to my Facebook page. I love the look on the photo. The make-up and hair style had a Geisha feel to it, so that’s what I called it.
You can click on the image for the actual resolution that it was painted at. This was painted in Photoshop with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD.
Painting Step by Step
Here is a series of snapshots from my painting video. It’ll show you the basic steps of the soft airbrushing technique for this Geisha painting. I love this simple painting technique because it’s quick to paint, and the portrait seems to get lifted from the paper as it progress.
Steps 1 and 2
Start with a grey background in Photoshop (or any other painting software) and set your brush and flow opacity to 25%. The first step is to lay down the darks. Don’t go too dark, just enough for you to see the form. Then go in with the whites and pull some of the major shape and highlights out. Again, not too light.
Steps 3 and 4
Now we’ll switch back to black and add in more details. Usually, I start in the eye as those are generally the darkest areas. Repeat with white. These steps are similar to the previous steps, we’re just pushing the lights and darks to another notch and using smaller brushes to add details.
Steps 5 and 6
At these later stages, you’ll start to see the forms come alive. It is also here that I’ll start to see where I’ve make mistakes on the values. Most of the correcting happens here. Keep repeating the process until you have what you like. When you want to stop and call it done is your choice. That’s really more of an expression of your own. I tend to like to leave some surrounding areas undone in order to add more focus to the crucial areas in the face.
Just remember, the whole painting process from beginning to the end is similar to seeing an out of focus image through the camera lens and you slowly turning the dial to put the image into sharp focus. Hope this helps.