Digital Portrait + No linework tip

Hello everybody! Didn’t post last Saturday because it was the 24th and I’m from France, where we celebrate Christmas on the 24th instead of the 25th. Although I just discovered this year that not everyone celebrates on the 24th and I’m still surprised. But, no more blabbing and let’s jump into the main issue for today’s post.

I recently went a bit savage and decided to paint without lineart and for that I choose some old sketch I had. The sketch belongs to a four male faces sketches which you can find right here –> Draw every day challenge STOPPED + Secret Project. So, since I’m quite poor at painting without lines – it’s quite hard, you know? – I thought about some ways I could make it easier for a beginner like me.

That’s when I came up with idea of using color block. Opacity  block, transparency block or something like that is when you paint with one or more colors over the digital canvas and then block the transparency of the layer you just painted. When you block the transparency of a layer you can then paint over it again and the color will not go outside of what was already painted.

Things are better understood with images or examples so here you are.


Ok, no apparent difference.


Now yes. Ain’t that cool? My pleasure to serve you on this.

The bad thing about this it that you can’t have more layers but you can use another trick which is blocking layers that are above of one layer. Is like blocking the opacity but with other layers instead of the “base” one. What you are really doing is making a series of layers dependent of one “base” and independent layer. I can’t really show you how this works because it would look the same as the example above. The only real difference is that when blocking the opacity of a layer you are blocking the layer you are going to paint on and when making layers at the top dependent of one “base” layer you aren’t going to paint on the independent one but on the dependent ones.

Hopefully that makes sense for you. Coming back to my little portrait, I used both of this tricks. I blocked the opacity to put the base color of the skin – did a separate layer for the hair and eyes and also blocked the opacity – and then did the shading on that same layer. Having done that, I created new layers – now blocking the layers to make them “dependent” of the first one I did – and added lights and general shades to give some more volume to each part of the portrait.

Even though I did put more shading I still think the coloring looks very plain. The shading colors really needed to be darker. Well, maybe not thaaaat much darker but still darker. I love contrast so much sometimes is hard not to overdo it and this time was the complete opposite. Actually, I tried to change it but because most of the shades were on the base layer I couldn’t darken them without darkening the base color of the skin as well. I could have done darker shading over the ones that were already there but I didn’t really felt like it would look natural so I left it.

By the way, if you watch my timelapse video about this painting you will notice how much I struggled with the ears. Let me tell you this now, ears are a hassle, sometimes. Okay, so that’s the end of this post. Hopefully, I will get to do the other three portraits I sketched and include them all in the “Men’s Portraits” project.


Thanks for keeping me company today and please don’t forget to check the speedpaint here –> SpeedPaint – Portrait Three. Hope you liked the painting, as for me, I feel very proud of myself even though it doesn’t look too much like the original sketch. Nevertheless, it’s still good, right?



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