Tag: digital painting

Paint a Portrait You Can Be Proud Of

Portrait - Painting from Photos

Closeup of Portrait - ©2009 Jacobson

Painting from Photos

Today you are painting a portrait from photos.

The project is to use the photos supplied and create an exciting portrait from photos. You’ll be using today’s electronic and digital tools. The Wacom® Cintique touch/pressure sensitive monitor. Paint with digital paints using Corel Painter 11

You are doing a portrait painting in the ultimate digital art studio.

Start each portrait in a similar way, but you’ll never use the same process twice.

Portrait painting or any painting from photos is always an event, a challenge and an exploration. It is very different than having the person or subject right there with you. The challenge is for you to feel like the person(s) is right there!

When you begin to talk to the photos, you know they are there.

Step 1 – Composition & Color Correction


Painting from Photos

Original Photo

The original photo was taken from a very high perspective. Here comes the challenge.

Using Adobe Photoshop…

Create a better composition.

You can chose to crop in much closer in order to capture the personality of the two adorable sisters.

Spend your time exploring different compositions.

Do color correcting and use colors that will inspire you to paint.

As the artist you must be inspired. You’ll get there if you keep exploring.

Step 2 – The Cropped Image

Painting from Photos - original photo
Cropped Image

How do you decide where to crop?

You love their little feet in the photo, but that just won’t work.Why won’t it work? …Because it’s their hair and eyes that should be the focus.

Sometimes you have to give up what you love, to be able to create a focus. After all…this is a portrait painting.

At this stage you have a color corrected and cropped image.

Save the composition.

You are now ready to paint using Corel Painter11.

Step 3 – The Block-in

Portrait Painting - Beginning
The block-in

The composition is cropped one more time. It is now Square.

You’re at the block-in stage.

Using Corel Paintier 11 play around with oil paint, acrylic paint and pastels.

Begin painting background colors that inspire you.

Now that you’ve changed that white canvas to a color-filled piece, roughly block-in the two little figures.

4 – Details

The block-in
The block-in

From the block in stage, you work a little at a time, and refine shapes.

No details yet, just keep refining shapes and values of tone (light, dark, midtone)

  • Keep painting
  • Move around the canvas
  • Refine the edges
  • When every shape (eyes are a shape, mouth is a shape, nose is a shape) is there (painted in)…
  • refine the details.

Just as you did with the shapes, keep moving around. You are painting details, all around the canvas.

Step 5- Portrait Painting from Photos – Completed

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

And now you have, the perfect portrait painting.

Live with your painting for a few days, then look again. Refine any small details that  appear.

When you know you are proud of it, you are ready to print.

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

If you don’t want to paint your own portrait, check-out having one painted for you.

Portrait Painting

J&J Portrait 20"x20" ©2008 Jackie Jacobson


How to Paint an Oil Painting and Not Get Dirty


White Rose with Bud ©2009 Jacobson.
White Rose with Bud ©2009 Jacobson.

9 Steps to Your Finished Painting – The Rose

Today you are in the ultimate digital art studio of artist Jackie Jacobson.

You are watching a demonstration by Jackie Jacobson on how to paint an oil painting using Corel® Painter 11, and a Wacom Cintique Monitor.

Corel® Painter 11 digital painting software is the most advanced painting and natural media tool available today.

I use no formula when painting, and I honestly think that I never use the same process twice. Painting is an event, a challenge and an exploration.

Learn how to paint digitally. You can paint and not get dirty. Join me in the adventure.

Step 1 – The Reference and Inspiration

The rose photograph is the inspiration piece for an oil painting in a square format.This rose will be the reference piece for our “how to paint” tutorial.

Inspiration Reference Photo
Inspiration Reference Photo

Step 2 – The Under-painting

Using Corel ® Painter 11 digital brushes and digital oil paints on a Wacom Cintique Monitor, the canvas is painted a solid green color.

Plain white is way too scary because you never want to get it dirty.” (OK that’s a joke)

Solid Green Background
Solid Green Background

Step 3 – The Drawing

Using a digital pencil or chalk, draw the shape and movement of the rose with a gestural drawing.

This is how to become familiar with your model.

You are not duplicating the reference piece. Do this warm-up step with every new piece. The canvas is marked and no longer intimidating.

“It can only get better after this stage.”

Block in drawing
Block in drawing

Step 4 – Mess Up Stage – The Block-in

This is the mess around with paint stage.

  • Begin with oil paints
  • Apply them very thinly.
  • Move around the piece very fast
  • Never stay in the same spot for long.
  • Use a variety of brush sizes, strokes, and colors.

This is not a planned process. Your moves and choices are strictly by intuition.

The block-in part of the process is about freedom.

Here you see the start, closeup and finish of the block-in stage. You have not painted any details.

Beginning oil paint block in
Beginning oil paint block in

Block-in detail
Block-in detail
Block-in complete
Block-in complete

Step 5 – Add some Details

Now you have a mess on your hands and it’s just where you want it.

Begin to use heavier paint (heavier in digital paint is paint that is more opaque)

Add some details to the shapes within the flower. Use your inspiration photo for reference of those shapes.

This closeup shows the lack of details at this stage.

Beginning of details
Beginning of details

Step 6 – The Edges

It’s time to use opaque paints and to really describe the edge of each element in the piece.

The flower starts to take form. It’s the edge details that describe the forms and make the flower come alive.

Closeup shows the smooth and defined shape of each petal.

Edge details - thick paint
Edge details – thick paint

Step 7 – Background color – texture – details

Work into the background with color, textures and details.

Once again refine edges in order to make your flower come forward.

Details and textures in background
Details and textures in background
Detail Background & Edges
Detail Background & Edges

Step 8 – Sign Your Painting

Your painting and the “how to paint” a Rose tutorial are both complete.

Last step in the process.

You must sign the painting.

You have just completed the painting in 8 Steps. On to step 9…

Step 9 – Evaluation

At this stage I actually compare the finished piece with my original inspiration piece. If I’m satisfied, it lives.

If I’m not satisfied, it’s destined for the dumpster one day.

Lesson Learned…The joy is in the doing, so if it’s what I want, I’m happy.

If it’s not… then I’ve definitely learned something for the next painting.

Move on. Just Keep Painting.

Completed Painting - White Rose with Bud
Completed Painting – White Rose with Bud
Comparison - Painting to Inspiration
Comparison – Painting to Inspiration

I’d love to hear from you. Please write.

Tell me what you think about today’s demo, and what questions you’d like answered.

Let’s do this together. Thanks for taking your time to watch me have fun.

Join Me in the Studio


Are You Visiting Palm Springs Soon?

What should you do on the weekend in the Palm Springs area?

  • Shop and have fun at the largest Street Fair in the area?
  • 340 Vendors
  • Arts – Crafts – and much more
  • Free Parking
  • Free Admission

Meet me at the College of the Desert Street Fair. Jackie Jacobson Art Gallery- booth #75, every Saturday and Sunday, October – May.

Personal Studio Tour

Call ahead for an appointment to have your tour of Jackie Jacobson studio and gallery in Palm Springs. 760.831.1190. I love spending time with people who are interested in art, painting and meeting the artist. Recent visitors from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Vancouver BC have all enjoyed their art studio visits.

If your vacation brings you to Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Indio, Desert Hot Springs, Banning, Yucca Valley, East Hemet, Coachella, San Jacinto, Hemet, Beaumont, Yucaipa, Twentynine Palms, or any other close by city, then definitely drop by when you are in the area.