How to: Facial Shading

Often I’m asked about some tips for coloring or painting faces, especially when working with digital stamps. Often, people see finished products of the digital stamps & then when they attempt to create with them, they fall a little flat. Well, not to worry! I’m sharing the basics with you about shading portraits & how you can create depth in any digital stamp.

For this example, I’m using this digital stamp from Oddball Art Shop. I printed out a few large copies (one of the great benefits of digital stamps) of the girl so I could play and experiment. Hop over & grab it & practice along with me below. (Use DTALEXA10 for 10% off!)

First, I gathered colored pencils & art markers & did some color swatching so I could figure out the best combination of colors.

Once you’ve gotten a sense of your colors, you want to choose 3 colors, a light, a medium & a darker shade that work together. For this tutorial I’ll be using the 3 markers for my main shading. Next, decide on where your light source is…

Using this as your guide for where shadows would fall & where highlights will be, you can start to map out your work. Some good rules of thumb are, 1. The bridge & tip of the nose will have your lightest highlights with a typical light source (obviously, there are some exceptions to this, but those are much more specific cases) & 2. Your darkest areas will be the opposite of your light source. This includes the side of the face opposite the light source, the side of the nose opposite the light source, etc.

Here is a rough visual for shading areas:

So here’s a step by step of shading this piece:

First I did a light base in colored pencil just to get a start of some color

Next I colored all of her face except for tip & bridge of her nose with Blush (my lightest tone)

Next, I came in with my mid tone (Dusky Pink) & shaded the side of her face opposite the light source & under her hair line & nose.

And back through with blush to help blend the edges of color

Then, coming back in with my darkest shade, I added along the hairline, under the nose, under the eye, cheek/jawline, under the lip on opposite side, & neck.

And again, bringing the blush color back in to blend the edges of color & add a bit to the nose.

Add a little rosy color to her cheeks & lips & voila!

Here she is finished with some color:

Now, with that principle, let’s look at what happens if we use a different color tone…

So. No matter the look you’re going for, you can definitely add some great depth & dimension to your digital stamp faces!

Any questions?? Ask below! I’d love to help!

Also, of course I had to make a fun piece with the full stamp & of course, all I could think of was the rainbow girl herself, Rainbow Brite!

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