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Process - The Better Man by alicexz Process - The Better Man by alicexz
Here's some process shots of my latest painting - not really a tutorial (which I keep getting asked for but I am really bad at writing those), so maybe this will be helpful/interesting to some people.

I always do my digital paintings and drawings in Adobe Photoshop, with a Wacom tablet. For this piece I used a modified hexagonal brush with opacity/size jitter turned on, and a chisel brush with opacity/tilt jitter. The photo reference (of Michael Fassbender) is here: [link] Total painting time 2-3 hours.

Some random tips and thoughts:
- Try painting on a colored background instead of a white one.
- Always "block out" big shapes and colors first, using big brushes and bold strokes, never work on details before blocking out your piece.
- If you're doing a portrait, choose a good clean reference photo. If you're doing a commission and your client gives you shit references, ask for new ones. Working from shitty, blurry, overexposed reference photos will only hurt your piece, you'll waste time trying to emulate detail that isn't there and you might as well not reference at all.
- Experiment with color; keep in mind complimentary/contrasting colors can be really interesting. For example, I added blue throughout the piece to compliment the blue of the character's eyes and to balance out the intense reds. This of course is a matter of personal taste but I find it's always more interesting to paint what's not there than what is (in terms of color.)
- If you're just looking to practice, drawing characters that you like makes it more fun. ;P

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For more thoughts and process.

Finished piece here:
Add a Comment:
Sandy-reaper Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
question how did you manage for the proportions with that chaos first? Sorry I am curious coz usually people start by a sketch or something to get an idea of the proportions... But the result is very good even if I prefer traditional now
RachelMcCoy Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
I always wondered what your paintings looked like at the beginning. This is an awesome and inspiring glimpse of your process. Thanks for sharing! :D
DaisyNova Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
C.. can you one day do a brush tutorial, or share your brushes? Its just so beautiful >_< I always paint super smoothly and it looks sort of silly sometimes. It would be very appreciated. Your colours and portraits are just so... ahh <3
XJasmin3x Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks so much! :)

may i ask how long have you been drawing digitally?
and how many layers do you use?

yasermohavi Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
deboratsuki Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for share!!! I love your arts!!!
vishalrokad Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
love ur works
share some more process and brushes
SUPREMEOVERL0RD Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Solemne Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student
HeroLoverFoolVillain Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's both a great piece and gives a great insight to your creative methods. Thank you so much ^^

I really love your style.

Sayael Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
gah... your art is so... colorful! It literally takes my breath away. This is really helpful!
The-Leeward-Voyage Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful I love the style and roughness of the piece! <3
Elkiz Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012
Your tips are very helpful and interesting! Also, very cool painting, I love the colours.
prechoco Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Student General Artist
Wow. And to think he's made up of simple little hexagons! This is amazing! His face would be the envy of many, many bees! :D
BlueMoonScorpio Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
He's handsome
oscar-ojisan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012   Artist
oh~god~ this is soo cool *__*
ARow6 Featured By Owner May 4, 2012
Your gallery has really inspired me. I'm not certain when the last time was that I have viewed a collection that had so much life flowing through it. And this guy is delish. Thank you so much for sharing your gift!
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this blocky style it is a prism of color.
inkrush Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
you are a great inspiration alice! thanks.
Dracilla112 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012
I'd love further info on the brushes you use ;) they're mega effective!
chibi-orihime Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
Woah :D
i LOVE your colors and the strength you give to your pieces.
inkofphoenix Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012
Wonderful... fantastic!
Your work is very inspirational :D
ohmy-x Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you, your tips are very helpful!
And, of course, amazing job.
rennitsuga Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
this is very helpful
herculanonovaes Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011
FedericaCatta Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your style is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!
I tryed to follow some of your suggestions. The result is not so "glorious" [link] ¨__¨ More prctice!!!!!

What's more difficult, for me, is to feel "free to play".
I've not a great basis of colour theory and I don't have much intuition on choosing colours, so...
but, man! Brushes!! LOL! Trying to paint with a big, geometrical brush that moves on the screen without control..... ahah!
At the beginning there were big spots and the big squares of my brush were visible... after I concentrated into particular and began making my picture look similar to my reference photo, I began shading everything... so, little by little, I lose all the dinamism and you can't distinguish ONE square in all the picture, although I used a square brush all the time!!! š___š

anyway.... I will try again!!!! meanwhile... congratulation for your amazing gallery, for your original style and THANK YOU for sharing!!!!
patamfreti Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011  Student General Artist
Amazing technique :')
Lunelu Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Wow ; o ; This is really interesting.
tylerwetta Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I really admire your coloring style, and the way you seem to have perfected it. Your use of colors is fantastic as well.
However, it seems kinda difficult for anyone to "try" this style without having the same brush set you have used.
If you could kindly post your brushes up, or even show how you make yours, that would be amazing.
Leovagirl Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Ohh wow I love this! :D
Where did you find the hexagonal brush?
mufti89 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011
wow.. cool work
wanna make myself like it, hhmmm... but i cant.. *envy
Atrevilal Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011
DunnyCT Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love your method; it's something you rarely see done on dA and I don't doubt that any of your work is instantly recognisable. Plus everything you draw looks GREAT :+fav:
Dkelabirath Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Professional General Artist
Ah, beautiful! I really wanted to know how you painted.
I don't recognise the brush you use, though. It looks like it has some scatter and translucency..? Can I ask what it is, a custom shape perhaps?
marinabrisa Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
This is really amazing.
Here-Then-There Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Is there anyway I could get a download of this hexagonal brush to paint with?

That'd be fantastic.
Umashin Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
whoops just read the note silly me! but awesome yetr again
Umashin Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
this is awesome! btw is that meant to be michael fassbender?
David-Dennis Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I'm thinking the same thing.
Draconicat Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
mysweetchaos Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Student
i love it!! o alicexz the awesome :heart:
greensphera Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
E X Q U I S I T E !!!!!!!!!!!! :)
aelithe Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
This is awesome in so many ways! Would you mind sharing the brushes that you use?
Animistro2002 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2011
this is awesome!
MatthewPhelan Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Professional Filmographer
original photo?
hemlock92 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011
RobinRose Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011
Im just making a selfportret for my website, and I got stuck (from boredom) and this is just what I needed to get some inspiration :D Thank you!
therevescent Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love how you paint oh so much. :3
shockwave128 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Colours are awesome, wow. Thanks for the process ;D
Ayrosia Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow, seeing the process of how you do these types of drawings is quite interesting. It kind of reminds me layering scraps of tissue paper to create a collage. Thanks for giving us some insight to your process!
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Submitted on
July 11, 2011
Image Size
1.4 MB


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