Digital Portrait Painting

An 8-week course on creating fantasy portrait illustration through the usage of composition and strong dramatic lighting

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Portraiture for digital mediums

This course goes over different color and texture rendering techniques for creating believable human portraits. Special attention is given to facial features drawing on surface structure, skin rendering (i.e. translucency, hue/saturation/value and color temperature, etc.), layered studies, and background/foreground manipulation. It also explores sci-fi portrait subjects as part of the options given to paint through the course. By the end of the course, students should have created one to two fully rendered portraits. Learn how to start a portrait from start to finish beginning with a pencil sketch, then lighting, color scheme, create realistic facial features, and emotion into our compositions for a successful digital portrait painting.

Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop (or equivalent)
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   Head Drawing and Construction

Digital Portrait Painting WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Research/finding the concept, idea/photo references | Harmonious color scheme: color temperature, color theory, contrast, symbolism in colors | Preparatory sketch/ thumb sketching/ the good brush/apply the first colors | First lighting
Dynamic composition | Working the background: the importance of it, empty space | Character placement, front, ¾ and profile | Light: dynamism, contrast, first steps
Facial proportions: architecture, defining facial features, color blocking | Skin colors, skin brushes, texture | Eye shape, color, and details | Eye contact: captivating the viewer, emotions
Mouth: lips, shape, expression, & texture | Nose & ears | Main light, sculpting the face with shadows & light, volume | Perfect blending (how to)
Designing the hair style | Photoshop brushes for painting hair; hair colors and textures | Define silhouette, body attitude | Second light source
Realistic details, fantasy touch (like scars, veins, etc.) | Costume: fabric, pattern | Adding useful items/elements and play with symbols to create a strong background story | Good integration, interaction between elements
Improving the light and mood | Soft vs. strong light | Contrast, brush, layer mode | Ambient light, bounce light, special effects | Mood
Final adjustments | Light & color correction | Final touches | Add more mood and intensity to your portrait and just have fun!

Bringing out the best in talent

Mélanie Delon is freelance digital illustrator with much experience with clients and publications, they include Spectrum, Ballistic Publishing, Ubisoft, TOR Book, Random House, Orbit Books, Penguin, Harper Collins, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Imagine Fx magazine, and Elixir 1, Norma Editorial, D’artiste Digital painting 2, Elixir 2 2007, Opale 1 2014.


April 24th!

spring TERM Registration

Feb 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2019




April 24th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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