Step one above is the rough sketch. This is made in a layer that will be turned off later. It can be very rough but I like to establish the key elements – for this small piece that would be the eyes.
In step 2, I trace over and correct the drawing in a new layer. I pay more attention to the thickness of the different lines as this will give the drawing character and make it have the feeling of something created by hand… I am drawing it after all, even though the computer is the medium! The program can be set so that the harder I press on the screen with the pen, the thicker the line will be – just like using a pencil.
Step 3 – I fill in the areas with whatever colours I feel like that day. I discover as I go that some areas were not completely enclosed when suddenly the whole background becomes the colour of skin – luckily it is easy to undo errors!
Step 4 – I apply a Gimp filter which smooths out the lines and blends the colours a bit. It’s like magic!
Step 5 – I do touch ups with a “paint brush” blending, creating shadows and highlights. The sparkle in the eye always seems to bring a portrait to life! Finally the signature.
Here’s a slide show of the steps.
images (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer