One of the keys to great painting in Photoshop is knowing how to combine very loose, freehand techniques with more precise attention to detail. Central to this is understanding how Photoshop’s Brush tools work, and learning to adjust them to our needs for different stages of the piece. Brushes offer a great deal of flexibility, but the trick is knowing when to apply something dramatic, and when to be more subtle.
In general, it’s about making a few simple choices in terms of texture, colour and detail – this can turn an average-looking portrait into something mesmerising.
We won’t be aiming for photorealism, but it’s important to understand how the skin both reflects and absorbs light. This means that the application of light and shadow is absolutely crucial when it comes to painting faces.