For a while now all my personal works have been digitally painted portraits. That’s because in my 13 years as a professional graphic artist I’ve designed just about everything, employing just about every tool and technique out there EXCEPT portrait/caricature drawing and painting.
It’s a humbling and liberating experience to drop all the Bezier curves, filters, layer styles etc. and just draw and paint on a blank canvas with my hand. In my opinion, among digital graphic techniques, digital painting is the least dependent on software, the most honest and the closest to its traditional, analogic counterpart.
In my journey to learn how to draw portraits and caricatures and how to paint digitally I’ve come across several impressive artists and resources that I’d like to share here.
Bobby Chiu is a concept artist noted for his creature design, he works for the movie industry from his Toronto based studio Imaginism and he has an online art school called Schoolism which offers several top quality courses (he teaches digital painting).
His YouTube channel is full of art-oriented life coaching, improptu paintings, interviews with top industry artists and tutorials. Check out this video series in which Bobby completes a painting from scratch, in real time, sharing his workflow and technique. Invaluable lesson and inspiration.
Jason Seiler is the hottest caricaturist on the scene right now and he shares a lot of his work, knowledge and passion on his blog. In this tutorial he explains his workflow – he uses basic Photoshop brushes for everything yet see how his paintings look real. Those are some serious skills right there! Also check out these videos where he does a critique of his Schoolism students. It’s great to see how he manages to dramatically improve the likeness with just a few minor tweaks.
More on his YouTube channel.
Greg Newman is an American artist/designer/developer who has recently taken Dribbble by storm with his NFL caricatures. He posted a very useful screencast on his blog, be sure to check it out. I really like the loose style he goes for in these paintings, especially the seemingly crazy tones he uses to render skin. It’s great to see how well they come together in the end to create interesting variation. Greg also works with very basic brushes, proof that you don’t need fancy tools if you know what you’re doing.
Chris Wahl is a superb caricaturist with impressive drawing and shading skills. His blog is full of great art and he has a lot of custom brushes available for download (use them sparingly until you can do convincing paintings with basic brushes).
Michael Kutsche is a German concept artist. His paintings have incredible detail and Tim Burton put them to good use on Alice In Wonderland. His Behance portfolio should serve as inspiration to strive for the impossible.
Alberto Russo is a Swiss artist who has impressive paintings alongside more experimental pieces – check out that Beyoncé portrait. I particularly like the environmental lighting and ambience of his paintings.
Vincent Altamore‘s caricature are always spot on and he has the best cross-hatching skills I’ve seen. I also love his painting style, extremely detailed and never too smooth. He always posts sketches and process shots on his blog so be sure to follow it.
MAD’s own Tom Richmond operates a blog full of his art and his invaluable tutorials on drawing, caricature and digital coloring. He is the author of the recently self-published “The MAD Art of Caricature”, a hot item on my grocery list.
Mark A. Facey
Mark has exploded onto the scene with his Creature Journal blog, full of paintings of weird, haunting creatures. Definitely keep an eye on him.
I like the warmth of Mike’s paintings. Don’t be fooled by the facetiousness of his blog, this guy can draw and paint with the best of ‘em and his images are never banal. He inspired me to execute all my weird ideas just for my own amusement: if anybody else likes them that’s a bonus, not a requirement.
This list could go on and on as there’s a ton of great artists and resources out there. Happy painting everybody!
This is also the best time to announce that prints will be available to purchase from my online store (soon to be opened) by the end of the month.