Tag: portrait

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


Drawing From the Model -Quick Sketches

Weekly Life Figure Drawing Series

Meet Model S

Model S  Pose#06

Model S Pose#06

Quick Sketching – Short Poses

I have chosen Pose #6 for todays drawings. They are all short poses, from 1 to 10 minutes. Quick sketching is the warm up process. Usually done on newsprint paper, the model does a series of one minute poses for a 20 minute session. Then we move on to do 5 to 20 minute sketches.

Art Materials Used

The Paper : I love colored paper. My favorite paper is, Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Papers and Pads.  My favorite color is Moonstone. Most art supply stores carry this paper, and I buy it online at Dick Blick Art Materials.

The Media: 6B Soft Pencil, Sketching Pencil 5, Soft Charcoal Pencil, Blunt Soft Pastel, Pointed Stump. Note: I DO NOT USE AN ERASER in quick sketching. The history of my marks are recorded and stay where I made them. For blending purposes, I sometimes use a kneaded eraser.

 One minute warm-up drawing is from the first 20 minute session.

1 Minute Warm Up

1 Minute Warm Up


 Drawing completed in 15 minutes from a 20 minute session. I stopped before the timer.
10 Minute Drawing

15 Minute Drawing

Reminder: I am using Painter 11 and doing all of this drawing digitally. There is no difference for me between doing this directly on paper, or directly on my Wacom Cintique. It’s my hand that is drawing.

Set a timer and join in. Meet you here same time next week.

I’d love to see your drawings. Email me for critiques and conversation at jackiejart@aol.com



No Model Showed – Self Portrait

Live Model C – Portrait

The Window Series – Models with Hats


Drawing from the Model – Self Portrait

Weekly Live Model Series

Self Portrait (cropped) ©2009 Jacobson.

Self Portrait ©2009 Jacobson.

The model didn’t show today

This is a frequent occurrence at figure drawing sessions. You’re all setup and ready to draw. The model is a no show. What to do. Grab a hand, wall, or any other mirror. Go for it. You always have a model available.

Today I’ll show you the process I used in this situation.

I spent about an hour doing an abstract ground to draw on.

  • Each stage is saved (the advantage of digital painting)
  • Check out the changes as I moved along on the ground

My line drawing self-portrait was done with a medium sized brush and gouache paint.

  • My final step was to lighten the painting.



Image 1 of 6

Click the BACK AND NEXT arrows to see the version changes.


I now have a group of underpaintings ready for workshops and drawing sessions. This is a wonderful exercise in ” drawing from the model.” Any model will do. Grab a pet, a pear or a mirror. Life figure drawing becomes more fun than work.

For your reference Library 

The Art of Portrait Drawing by Joy Thomas. I think that the visuals and how to’s are excellent.

 Get it from Amazon 

Portrait Drawing  Thomas

   Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.   – Edgar Degas.


Live Model C – Portrait

The Window Series – Models with Hats


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Drawing from the Model – Session 1



Drawing CI_#3

Drawing CI_#3


Have you ever attended a Life Drawing Workshop?

Drawing from the model is a weekly ritual for most figure and portrait artist.  I invite you to be part of this journey. Come into my studio, meet the model and look over my shoulder.  A new model or new pose each week, and a look into the process. Enjoy


Meet the model.

Model Reference Photo

Model Reference Photo



Watercolor and charcoal pencil.

Drawing CI _#1

Drawing CI _#1



Working over Drawing 1. Heavy Charcoal

Drawing CI _#2

Drawing CI _#2



Working over Drawing 2. watercolor, acryllic, markers, charcoal pencil

Drawing CI_#3

Drawing CI_#3

Questions Answered

OK, I hear your questions. How did she do these?

  • They were drawn digitally.
  • I work from photos I have taken from live sessions with models.
  • The model’s photo was on a monitor to my left.
  • I drew and painted on the Cintique monitor in front of me, using Corel Painter 11. (See studio tour to view this arrangement)
  • Drawing 1 – was a 20 minute drawing.
  • Drawing 2 – was a 15 minute drawing.
  • Drawing 3 – was a 30 minutes drawing.

The real advantage in drawing digitally, is being able to work on a prior version, without ruining what you did previously. As this series progresses you will see many different mediums used, different drawing surfaces, and many different models.

You can draw along with me, grab a sketchpad, some materials and join me in this virtual studio. If you need a little drawing help, try this book Drawing on the Right side of the Brain.

Thanks for coming. See more next week…


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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.