Portrait Illustrations - Behind the scenes

I recently did two new portrait illustrations for my portfolio as I realised everything was beginning to look a little feminine… I’m a huge fan of these two and their wonderful series (Weird Weekends and Sherlock - OMG!!!) so it was great fun drawing them. I also thought it would be a good idea to show a bit of a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how I illustrate portraits (and most things for that matter!)…

Everything starts out as a sketch, which then gets inked up on my favourite paper (Strathmore Bristol Board Smooth) using a black Tombow brush pen and a worn out grey Promarker (to give that smudgy effect!). As a side note, for materials I highly recommend using Jackson’s Art Supplies, they are competitively priced and haven’t failed me yet!

After I’m happy with the drawing, I scan it in and open up Adobe Photoshop where I start adding more tones and colour. This is done using lots of layers and translucent brush strokes, I treat it sort of like a digital painting… Then, I move it over to my iPad and using Procreate I clean up the edges and add further highlights and shadows. Finally, the illustration gets opened up back in Photoshop for any final touches, which usually consists of dodging and burning the shadows/highlights to really make things stand out…