Portrait Illustration Creation: Basic Tips For Beginners

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illustration creation

Portrait Illustration Creation: Basic Tips For Beginners

The notion of illustration creation is to convey an idea visually but it needs to have the potential to carry a message, idea or even a story. There are certain things that every artist needs to know and take care of. However, the process of designing a portrait illustration is far more intricate than any other illustration style or form out there. From the attire of your character to what the eyes are supposed to convey, you have to look into every little detail before you even begin to draw.

While the availability of tutorial and learning material is not sparse but before you even take the step of creating an illustration, you should submerge into the details and analyze how you can make your illustration stick out. It is certainly true that with constant digitalization, the demand for professional fantasy illustrators for hire is also increasing. Fantasy illustration tends to focus more on the character design and portrait more than what is present on the background.

Therefore, here are the tips that every illustrator or artist should know:

illustration creation

Prepare a rough sketch

Having the right idea for your illustration is essential before you start to draw one. It helps you in putting forward various ideas that are relevant to what you want to convey. This notion assists you in being more expressive about your illustration and gives you a brief idea about the guidelines you intend to follow. You can resort to hand-drawn sketches as it will not be time-consuming and you will get an overview of the design, style and the complete structure of your portrait in one go. You can then change that rough sketch into a digital illustration using either Photoshop or any other design software of your choice.

Placement and alignment               

The right placement of objects or characters on to the canvas makes a huge impact on the structure of an illustration. Each of the design elements in your illustration needs to be perfectly aligned or else it would ruin the overall appeal of the drawing. Bring a flair of vitality into the aesthetics of a drawing. That, in turn, removes any form of boring or boring aspects that could be present in the portrait. That is the main reason why correct composition matters.

Work on proportions  

Since a portrait illustration focuses more on the facial features, you have to be well versed in knowing how to design accurate proportions. While the shape of a human face certainly varies, you can acquire templates with basic guidelines and practice the designing of facial features using those templates. Guidelines and references are essential as not following them could bring disproportionate features into the portrait design. Draw the guidelines first and then proceed to design the features of a human face.

Keep your focus on facial features

Not every detail in your portrait is essential and paying heed to every single of them can lead to complexity in design. You should start with keeping your emphasis on the facial features the most as this is not a time-consuming designing practice. It could be eyes of the character or the expression they are showing but all you need to do it find a key feature that would be convey the right expression and representation of the message to the viewer.

Background details

The entire concept for illustration creation is to capture the viewer’s utmost attention but it does not depend solely on the main portrait or character instead the right use of the background makes an impact as well. The focus of your illustration is the character design but if you leave the background empty then the canvas will not be as expressive without a background design. Either you can add different patterns or textures to enhance the visibility of the portrait or you could simply add objects or elements that add detail to the drawing.

Do not forget to add contrast

Once you have aligned the structure of your illustration, the next design phase is to make the visual composition stand out. For that reason, you can add contrast to the portrait to bring more visibility to the drawing. You can experiment with different color combination and lighting effects until you find the style that you deem fit for your portrait. The hues of color could have either a warm or a cold tone so it entirely depends on your preferences and the entire visual mood of your drawing. The step of adding contrast should never be skipped as it makes it easy for the viewer to distinguish between the portrait and the background elements.

Tell a story

Since the essence of portrait illustration is the character itself so it is not much about the need for conveying a story but it is better if you do. The character in your illustration could have a background story just like any of us and if you manage to portray it then it will make the viewer emotionally associate with the drawing. From the expressions to the attire, all of these small details play a huge role in storytelling. You are given a complete canvas but you have to use it wisely. Be concise yet accurate and you can easily form your visual story.

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