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10 Best Tutorials To Learn Digital Portrait Painting As A Beginner In 2022

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

In the world full of technology and social media, everyone is trying their hand in learning skills from different field of Designing, Coding, Web Development, Video Editing and Digital Marketing. Sooner or later, all these fields are going to become more and more competitive as these types of work field is providing comfortable environment in the current 'Work From Home' scenario. People are earning a handsome amount of money from a stable job as well as by simply freelancing.

There was a time when traditional art was a big thing, it still is but the modern approach where people are inclining more is going to overshadow traditional way of painting in some way, if not completely. Now there are a tons of Digital Artists who make professional Digital arts and Digital Paintings. Digital Artworks are also been selling as a NFT online and have a potential to surpass every other designing field out there.

Digital Art is not a new thing in the market and people even started creating artworks digitally in early 80's. If a question arises about What Digital art actually is, then there shouldn't even be a confusion as the answer lies in the question itself. Digital Art is an artwork which is made digitally using virtual tools. These tools could be the software, tablet device or mouse, virtual pen and brush tool or a even an applied filter.

There are a lots of Digital Painting and Digital art tutorials available on YouTube where you can get in depth explanation of the design process. First you select your preferred digital art program or software then you can either choose a digital art tablet for drawing purpose or mouse depending on what suits best for you.


Digital Paintings aren't easy to make and may require some traditional painting skills. If you are a beginner and really want to enter into this field, then it might take around 5-6 months to make above average artworks and around 3-4 years to master it in your own way. The best way to learn digital painting is to pick a course whether it's online or a designing school.

We aren't offering any courses this time around but can provide some tutorials we pick from YouTube that could help you in learning digital painting's basics. There is no particular software that we are focusing on as that part comes later. This article will cover 10 aspects from line art to skin shading to overall painting process.

Note: Some tutorials may show tablet used as a device to draw but it works as same as a mouse. Digital tablets mainly provides accuracy and pressure sensitivity


1. Line Art

Line art is the foundation of your artwork which defines and separates different parts of the artwork. Line art stays on the top of layers. There are two main types of Line art i.e. Rough sketch and Line art (Actual line art).

Even if you don't want line art to be use in your artwork, it's essential to make a rough sketch to define the edges as it will later help you while coloring and shading. Line art requires practice and precision and one should definitely practice working on their line work both on paper and software.


2. Color Selection and Blending

Color selection is another aspect of digital painting in creating shades out of a base color. These shades are one or more than one value of highlights and shadows depending on how detailed you want your artwork to be. Color Palette is the best way to contain these shades.

Simple method is to apply base color on a layer and adjust values using LEVELS tool from Image Adjustments (In Photoshop) and copy those values in your palette using eyedropper tool.

Another method is by simply using color picker and adjusting the saturation & lightness values of your base color layer to create a proper shade. This method is easy and quite reliable.

Color palette has to be done manually depending on your project. You can also find pre made palettes for skin shading and different schemes online which you can use if they match your work flow and found them helpful.

This Tutorial teach some methods of blending two shades into one and also some basic shading tips of digital painting.


3. Light Direction

When it comes to coloring an artwork, the biggest mistake we all do as a beginner is to not figuring out the light source and direction to work at. A pre defined light source could help you in map out the ambient light scattered in different directions. This will help in defining light and dark tones, intensity of highlight projected at skin or overall character.

This Tutorial is a lengthy breakthrough and covers the topics on theory of light source and direction, color picking & blending and skin/face shading.


4. Brush Selection

Selecting a brush type is essential but shouldn't be complicated. Professional Digital artists use different brush type for different painting layer. There are brushes available for hair, skin, clothing, strokes and texture to download.

What kind of brush and how many brushes should a beginner use to start working on a digital painting artwork? Well there is no simple explanation for this and it depends on experience of a user, but the default hard edge brush with a few adjustments can do the work.


5. Skin/Face Shading

Skin painting is fun to do with base colors and single tones of shadow & highlight. But when it comes to achieve some level of depth and detailing using light source and all, it gets a bit tricky. Face shading part not only covers majority of your artwork area, it also gives different signs to the artwork of being cartoony, semi realistic or an amazing piece of art.

This shading must be done right because taking a slightly different approach while coloring could result in a flat looking face.

This Tutorial from LIGHT DIRECTION section is a must watch. It provides the complete breakthrough and explanation of facial shading.

This Tutorial doesn't show an actual painting process, but just a demonstration on importance of layering of different shading type.


6. Eyes

Eyes contributes just a small portion in an artwork which beginners may take lightly to work on. But even with their small size, they can make a whole artwork stand out with a good selection of vivid color and shiny highlights.

Eye shape could vary depending on the approach and end result. So it's better to start practicing and working on eye portion roughly and digitally.

This Tutorial covers topics on lighting direction, eye color, eyelashes, eyebrow and the facial area surrounded by the eyes.


7. Lips

Lips shading have the same key points that were applied to eyes painting. Both are small in size compared to the rest of the artwork, but both lip shading and designing is a sensitive thing to do. The use of light tone and glittery highlights must be done accordingly.

This Tutorial shows design process and shading of lips using simple brush techniques including specular highlights and color picking.


8. Hair

Hair Shading can be done by many methods and you can find hundreds of different shading tutorials Shading a hair is be done by defining the direction of hair flow and adding some hard edged hair strands. A good shading of hair adds another layer of charm into the artwork.

This Tutorial teaches the depth of both hair direction and shading of hair strand. You may find some useful tips on hair designing.


9. Complete Painting Process

This section is not for any particular painting area but an overall process of painting from scratch. A well explained walkthrough of drawing and coloring that focused on complete painting process.

This Tutorial shows a character painting process using Procreate but these same techniques can be applied in painting on any other application.


10. Final Retouching & Effects

Final retouching is important in enhancing the finalized final output by adding some bits of overlays, effects and elements. This process is fun to do where highlights part can be adjusted and an added layer of color dodge could give an astonishing result.

You can find overlays and elements online to experiment them on your artwork. But always remember, Less is more. So try to keep everything minimal and relevant.

This Tutorial is from Ross Tran, which points out 5 simple tips to enhance your artwork. Finalizing your artwork ain't easy, but a lot of fun.


Digital Art is becoming so popular in designing community that many are starting to try their hands on defining their own style. It's never been too late to learn something new and even if you don't want to make a career out of digital art, then simply learning it can be a lot of fun.

All the tutorial links provided above are not promotional, but a relevant pick of tutorial for each and every aspect in the process of digital painting. Hope you find this helpful in any way possible.


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