Paint a multilayered surreal portrait


The stunning work that forms the basis for this tutorial was created by Rob Shields for a new exhibition called Episodes, put together by Designers Against Child Slavery. It features works that each capture one of three phases, titled Coercion, Enslavement and Restoration, in the life of a sex-trafficking victim.

Here Rob takes us through how he composited The Rose, his contribution to the Restoration phase, using a mixture of photographic and painted elements. He also explains how you can achieve more organic portraiture when you’re working digitally.

The tutorial covers digital painting techniques and gives some advice on colour and composition, as well as different effects that will help to integrate your physical work into the digital world. To work through it you will need a graphics tablet as well as pencil and paper – but don’t worry if drawing isn’t one of your stronger skills. The drawing needed in this kind of project is pretty simple and achieving realism is not a priority.

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