Here is the process by which I created “Woman in Blue Shirt”. I made it in Photoshop, but I believe that the same principles will work in other graphics programs.
First, I created a new layer and blocked out the image using shapes.
Next, I created another layer over the shapes. I used the brush tool with a 5 pixel tip and painted in the outline of the image. I created another layer behind these first two layers and filled it with a green background. Then I deleted the shapes layers.
I created another layer and named it “Eye” (Rename a layer by double-clicking it and typing in the name). Then I zoomed in and painted one eye, then copied the eye layer and flipped it with the Transform function (Edit>Transform>Vertical Flip) and adjusted the placement.
Next, I created separate layers for the lips and nose. I painted half the nose and then duplicated that layer and merged the two sides of the nose. By doing this I got a symetrical nose. I painted the lips on the Lips layer. Note: in all of the detail work for the eyes, nose, and lips, I selected different size brush tips and various colors. I used the Smudge tool with an Airbrush tip to blend the colors.
I merged the eyes, lips, and nose layers with the face layer, then picked a larger brush tip and applied various colors. I used the Airbrush smudge tool to blend the colors.
I made separate layers for the shirt and the hair and applied the appropriate colors and blendings.
Finally, I zoomed out, made some final adjustments to the hair, face, clothing and background, added a texturizing filter to the blue shirt to make the “weave”, merged all the layers, and then cropped the image. Here is the finished product:
Image and tutorial by Lori Gloyd (c) 2007