Painting a face tips

This is a redo of the tips from the old fm4 forums,hope maybe it will help someone out there

Painting a face tips

Below you will see a set of photo’s which im hoping may help some of you when it comes to painting a face,This time I’ve chosen a black and white portrait with fairly simple eyes and hair,If your wanting to start painting realistic type faces I would suggest doing a black and white image first as its a little easier to get it realistic.


Slightly different method, this time im making a simple line drawing to get the features and face shape,As I progress with the image I will remove the lines when I dont need them,72 layers at this stage

av1 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Filled in where the hair is using the thicker gradient circle,Decided to do this before face because It would effect how dark light face is.

102 layers at this stage

av2 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Filled in base colour for the face,used stronger gradient circle to keep edges soft,122 layers at this stage

av3 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Added some basic shading to highlight areas of face,used lighter gradient circle,135 layers at this stage

av4 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Added shading to make nose,used lighter gradient circle,163 layers at this stage

av5 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Added eyebrows used lighter gradient circle,189 layers at this stage

av6 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Used lighter gradient circle to darken areas around eyes,202 layers at this stage

av7 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Filled in the eyes with the basic shapes,Because my image has black around the eyes I can go over the edges as you will see later,214 layers at the stage.

av8 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


More work on the eye,the blue bits of the eye are two strong gradient circles on top of each other instead of a solid circle because I wanted the edges to be a little soft,238 layers at this stage.

av9 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Working around the eye with the strong gradient circle as you can see tidied up the white bits of the eyes which I did earlier,279 layers at this stage

av10 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


just small amount of layers around eye using light gradient circles and removed marker lines hence 249 layers at this stage.

av11 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


put in eye lash details around eyes,again lightgradient circles,322 layers at this stage

av12 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Added some small details around eyes,low transpanecy look close ot see,336 layers at this stage

av13 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Added shading around mouth area before doing mouth,light gradient circle used, 381 layers at this stage

av14 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Painted mouth used strong gradient circle for edges and light gradient circle for highlights,436 layers at this stage

av15 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Finished up the nose using light gradient circle,layers same as last stage because i’ve removed marker lines again.

av16 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Painting the hair,This image is a nice one to practice hair as its fairly simple,Hair is one of those things thats imposible to paint exact,you’d run out of layers fast,So instead of creating the exact hair try to create the basic look and feel of the hair in your image.

This method I use alot,Instead of painting the highlighted hair strands individually, highlight underneath with gradient circles then paint dark hair over the top.So i’ve painted my highlights using light gradient circle,474 layers at this stage

av17 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Now paint over the highlights with the straight hair shape using the same colour as your background hair,In this case black,476 layers at this stage.

av18 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

Added some detail to the hair edges and some light whispy strands to give realistic look,520 layers at this stage

av19 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Look close and you will see i’ve added some light texture to the face using the grafitti shape with very light transpanency,543 layers at this stage

av20 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Did a little work on the eyebrows using hair shape very low transparency,also tiny white hightlights around eyes,569 layers at this stage

av21 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


Added the neck area using light gradient circle,628 layers at this stage

av22 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr


One last thing I do with all paints is to stick them on a side of a vehicle and see what they look like as paints often look darker when they are on side of a car compared to the create vinyl group section.Also made a fairly simple logo to make design

az24 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

and with black and white eyes

av23 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

simple face construction

I’ve chosen this particular image because I think its the type of image which is a real good starter if you want to start painting faces,It has lots of contrast between dark and light and fairly simple features.

The process here really was to show someone the sort of layers used and how a grid can be used to set your proportions,Getting the positions of your features,eyes,mouth nose etc is vital if your trying to create a realistic image of someone,Using a grid is a simple and easy way to help you.

First thing I did was find my source image then apply a square grid over the top,No need for fancy programs, I managed to place a grid just using the simple paint program that comes with most PC,Now I have my image with grid on it I made myself a grid in the forza editor,By making your own grid and not using the grid in game you can group everything and move it around,zoom in to your liking.

What most people tend to do is paint a lined drawing of the image using the grid then remove the grid to paint the image,Here instead I’ve just painted the image using the grid without drawing in the feature first.

step 1

Basic outline of face,Depending on how harsh you want your outline I would either use solid shapes or in this case I used the stronger of the two gradient circles because I wanted a slightly blurry edge.

1fsfvrevref by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 2

Filled in where the eyes and eyebrows are also put some high lights on nose and cheeks using gradiend circles

1fgfhhdbfg by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 3

Some more highlighting around the eyes and nose using the two gradient circles,Not using black for dark areas but a dark brown instead.

1fhghrnrf by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 4

positioned the mouth,Most of the time lips aren’t straight red in colour,they should have colour removed and sometimes more towards orange,play with the bars to match colour.

1fmkrmrk by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 5

Filled in mouth,Added some highlighting,Most of the time important to not use straight white for highlighting,on the lips for example the highlights most of the time will be a light pink.

1fnjnjec by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr
step 6

added the neck and a few highlights

1fkdnfkedfwe by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 7

added the ears,Using the same colours as in rest of image and gradient shapes

1fjsndjef by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 8

added the eyelash shadows around the eyes,mostly using the gradient circle

1f9 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

step 9

added more highlighting on face using gradient circles important again not to use white to make it lighter,the gradient circle should have colour

At this point I have removed my grid because it has little use,If you wanted to keep it at this stage but get it out the way just stick it in the background in case you want it again.

1f11 by me monkey 8 me, on Flickr

At this point i am unable to tell which photo should be next in the sequence (sorry)

Finished product, 597 layers and took around 2 and a half hours

Hope this has maybe helped someone,If it has I will do my best to come up with something more.


Awesome tutorial monkey ,never to old to learn i guess.Avril looks beautifull ,photo quality!!!Thanx for sharing this.

Damn this is a great tutorial bro!

Most excellent tutorial, looked at it several times before but always great for a refresher course.

Looks awesome

I have to say thank you for this thread! It is extremely helpful and detailed! Thanks!xxx