In this tutorial I’ll show you how to paint a woman portrait from scratch. You’ll learn some basic rules to form your painting, the tips to paint effectively, how to use brush and take care of the details. A graphic tablet is highly recommended for this tutorial.

We’ll start this tutorial by learning something basic of female face anatomy to define the base of our painting. After creating the base of the head we’ll go more for the details of the face, hair, body and dress. Later we’ll use a few adjustment layers to make the color stand out. Finally we’ll refine some details to complete the process. You can use any versions of Photoshop to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the given settings:


The background color should be black.

It’s very important to work on a large canvas so you can pay attention to the details.

Step 2

Create a basic shape of the head using a basic, hard brush with the color #c99e80 on the upper section of the black canvas.


Before detailing it you should know something basic of female anatomy, especially if you don’t use any specific photo references. Every human head is different but here are something in general to remember if you’re going to paint a portrait from a frontal view with a straight look (not smiling):

– The nose length should be about 1/2 of the part counted from the highest point of the nose to the lowest point of the chin.

– The edges of the nostril should reach as far as the inner edges of the eyes.

– The lowest part of the nose should be in-line vertically with the lowest part of the cupid’s bow.

– The edges of the mouth ( the lips corners) should be lined-up horizontally with the jaw and vertically with the edges of the irises.

– The mouth is always larger than the width of the nostril edges except you want to draw a child portrait.

If you want to draw a portrait from different looks and sides, some rules above will change.

Draw some lines to define the basic parts of the head and make sure that everything is as proportional as possible. We don’t paint the ears in this tutorial as they will be covered by the hair. Place this layer above all other layers and we’ll be using them as a guidance .

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26 responses to “How to Paint a Woman Portrait from Scratch”

  1. Maxine Avatar

    I don’t understand step 4 to step 5

  2. Chinedu Hector Avatar
    Chinedu Hector

    I don’t use a tab..can I do it on my laptop

  3. Marcio Siviero Avatar
    Marcio Siviero


    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  4. edi wow Avatar
    edi wow

    how to brush?

  5. Ravi Avatar


  6. annesthea Avatar

    it’s a pity… the download does no longer exist :(

    1. Photoshop Tutorials Staff Avatar
      Photoshop Tutorials Staff

      Link has been fixed. THanks!

  7.  Avatar

    omg so cool .. thanks !!

  8. Jarondj Avatar

    Very simply shykarnaya article helped novices As

  9. Asim Rajput Avatar
    Asim Rajput


  10. art. Avatar

    this is vey useful Thank you. But please upload tutorial to use properly using brushes

  11. Lais Avatar

    I want your help. I like your side. Your words are interesting. I got here by miksate and I started reading. I became interested in the topic and I am thinking it I could use your texts on my paper, only with the quotation. Please answer, thank you.

  12. Abiha Avatar

    I have learned some esseitnal things through your site post. One other subject I would like to express is that there are numerous games on the market designed in particular for toddler age small children. They consist of pattern recognition, colors, pets, and shapes. These generally focus on familiarization as opposed to memorization. This makes little children occupied without feeling like they are studying. Thanks

  13. Grace Avatar

    This is amazingly easy. Even on an iPod. I have done this and even though some of the proportions are wrong( soz I am a perfectionist ease don’t take this offensively) it looks amazingly realistic. The eyes colour is awesome as well. When I. First started reading it I thought, ok the eyes are grey. That’s interesting. Turns out the eyes were going to be sea green!!

  14.  Avatar

    How can I learn this in simple way :/

    1. Anh Avatar

      An interesting dicssusion is worth comment. I believe which you ought to write regarding this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually persons are too couple of to chat on such topics. To one more location. Cheers

  15. Artist Avatar

    According to my point of view It’s wonderful creation.If you can i would like to know some more tutorials about Painting a Woman Portrait . Thanks :)

  16. Anand Ram Avatar
    Anand Ram

    wonderful !!!!!

  17. Oluwadare Toyin Avatar
    Oluwadare Toyin

    that is good job

    1. Lilia Avatar

      Hi Blakred,you can use any Soft Round brush, but make sure its hardness is set to 0%then you can adsjut its size according to the image.and you are done.let me know if you need further assistance.

  18. Fabriano Avatar

    Very good however I recommend dimming the eyes to add realism

  19. David Winarchik Avatar
    David Winarchik

    Some of the proportions layout is wrong, like the corners of the mouth should line up directly with the pupils of the eyes, not the inside edge of the irises, to name one, and the distance between the eyes is equal to the size of one eye. The ears, ( if seen ) would top out at the underside of the arch of the yebrows, and the bottom of the lobes would be lined up with the bottom of the nose. The layout compliments and confirms itself when you follow what I have stated. Find a book on how to draw lifelike for further instruction.

    1. Milana Avatar

      Why don’t you make a tutorial of your own, a genius of life drawing? =) Show everybody how to do it properly, jealous b….. =)

  20. mocca Avatar

    OMG ur one of my best photo-shopper.. keep on the good work!

  21. Jordan Snow Avatar
    Jordan Snow

    Kirby Oliver

  22. Sharon Robertson Avatar
    Sharon Robertson

    do you have tips i can check out for impression brush? i can’t figure out how to use it properly.

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