Portrait Painting Demo



Using Photos for Reference


Today I am working in my ultimate digital art studio. 

This is an oil painting demo using the Wacom® Cintique touch/pressure sensitive monitor and Corel® Painter 11.

I will be demonstrating a portrait using photos supplied by the client.  

I start each portrait in a similar way, but I honestly think that I never use the same process twice.

For me, this is an event, a challenge and an exploration.

Join me in the journey.



Original Photo

Original Photo




Step 1



The original photo was taken from a very high perspective.

I chose to come in much closer in order to capture the personality of

the two adorable sisters.

I spent quite a bit of time exploring different compositions.



Cropped Image

Cropped Image




Step 2

This is the cropped image that I will use for the painting.

I love their little feet in the original photo, but that just won’t work.

And it’s their hair and eyes that become the focus.


The block-in

The block-in



Step 3

I decided to do a square composition, so I cropped again.

This is the block-in stage.

I play around with paint and color in the background,

and then roughly block-in the two little ones.



The block-in

The block-in


 Step 4



About 14 hours after the block-in stage, my final decision… It’s done!

And now we have, what I think is the perfect portrait of the sisters.

The painting is printed on a 20″ x 20″ canvas.

So…what do you think? 


















The above painting demonstration shows how I paint traditional portraits. It is how I was trained and what I know best.

But then…there is always time to learn something new. I have a wonderful client who wanted me to do a portrait of her grandson “Oliver.”

Of course, she wanted Oliver painted in the Andy Warhol style. I told her I can’t do Andy Warhol, but she insisted I could and so I give you…



Original Photo

Original Photo



 painted in the Andy Warhol style
 by Jackie Jacobson,
who said she couldn’t do it!
The print is on a 40″ x 40″ canvas and looks incredible in the grandmother’s home.



Oliver 4-Panel Primary
Oliver 4-Panel Primary



Well there it is. How I paint portraits.

It’s really a brief summary of a long process, but I hope you get the idea.

I love doing portraits. And I’d love doing a portrait for you. 

 You can find some of the details in the portrait painting section,

on the right hand side of this page.

 But you can find out much more by giving me a call,

and discussing your needs.

 I just finished a wedding portrait for a couple

that were married 40 years ago in a backyard wedding.

 They are thrilled to finally have a memory

from that special day, so very long ago.


Summer is my time off from the street fair and the perfect time for me to spend painting portraits.

I hope I can do a special piece just for you. 

Thanks for taking your time to watch this demo with me.


I’d love to hear your comments. 

Please leave one.




©2009 Jacobson. All rights reserved.

All artwork & material on this site is copyrighted by the artist.

No image, either in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of the artist.




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