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Imagination is the greatest form of flattery and for a designer; it doubles up as a way to pay homage to legends, icons and inspirations. Illustrator Shesh Kiran created the caricature portrait of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. He explains how.


Step 1

Started the rough sketching with new file of 300 dpi resolution. I used the tablet pen for this sketch with the various brush sizes from 25 to 30.

Step 2

Create a new layer below the sketch layers and filled it with black colour. Kept the fill opacity to 62% which makes the rough sketch partially visual.

Step 3

Added a new layer and started filling the flat skin colour in this layer. Also added another layer for colouring the clothes.

Step 4

Used new traditional texture brushes to detail the hair, eyes and skin tone. Airbrushes were used to bring shades and highlights of skin.


Step 5

Further worked on the skin using ‘transform’ from the brush presets to lighten the skin and to create the softer tones using airbrush.


Step 6

From the reference image collected the cloth colour palette to bring the real life feel. With the airbrush started detailing the clothes with the selected colour palette.


Step 7

Gave a final touch to artwork using various opacity and ‘flow’ on hands, fluet and background as per the requirment to bring the depth and lighting. Hence arrive at the final portrait artwork.

Tools Used:

• Adobe Photoshop

• Wacom Bamboo tablet

• Airbrushes & round brushes for painting.

Published in Issue 21

Branding With Packaging Special! They say not to judge a book by its cover. But they also say that exceptions are always there. There’s no doubt, branding and packaging are the faces of any business and product. They decide the way people will receive the brand; whether they will accept it or reject it. To understand and gain more perspective on this much-unsolved mystery, we invited many branding and packaging experts who throw light on the topic.


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Gone are the days of drawing a portrait using pencils and brushes. Digital is the new canvas and Photoshop is the new tool. Digital Illustrator, Vivek Nag is fascinated by ‘Sadhus’ and here he takes us through the making of a portrait using Photoshop.


Step 01

The first step is to make a rough patchy sketch of the character. It’s best to do this using a chalk brush or special Photoshop brushes which are meant to replicate a traditional look on the digital canvas. The lines mostly trace the shadows and/or contours of the face as seen in the image.


Step 02

Taking the rough sketch as the base, the next step is to start making line art. This is made using the pressure sensitive round hard brush to create thin and to the point lines. Detailing is important in this step. Building upon the rough chalky sketch is beneficial. When satisfied, hide the sketch layer to proceed.


Step 03

The next step is to start with the colours. Irrespective of the colours being used in the portrait, it’s best to dim down the background. This offers contrast and a better understanding of how bright the colours that are being used in the painting actually are. The next step is to make a palette of colours using the original image. Depending on the intricacy of colors in a photograph, it’s advisable to make a palette of 5 to 8 colors. In this case, a palette of six colours was used. It’s best to select colours in such a way that for any other shade or tint you require, one’s ability to create that using a combination of the set colours in the palette. As seen above, start filling the composition with patchwork. Using flats helps launch into the fray of the painting.


Step 04

Taking the previous step forward, it’s now all about concentrating on detailing. Smaller brush strokes are employed as well as the colours being used are more varied. Notice how the freedoms of the strokes have become a little more restricted here. The line art acts as guiding points and this is the stage where it is put to most use.


Step 05

Minute details start from here. The eyes are the most important part of a portrait. A lot can be conveyed from the eyes. For the most natural look, one needs to make the eyes detailed and relatable. The blending of the strokes also starts from this step. As is evident in the image, a certain level of ‘rawness’ is maintained with every stroke rather than applying a smooth blend. Keeping hints of patches provides a natural feel, especially on the skin. Also, one needs to keep the sheen of the eye in mind that is executed with a simple brush stroke, keeping minimal blending. The more striking the sheen, the better the eye tends to look.

Depending on the intricacy of colours in a photograph, it’s advisable to make a palette of 5 to 8 colours while performing a digital sketch.


Step 06

The next step is replicating the previous steps with the lips and beard. Here, treat lips the same way skin near the eyes was treated. The beard however forms a rather tricky part of the portrait. The beard is mainly just brushed strokes with hardly any blending at all. The direction and the thickness of each stroke matters. For example, the brushes below the lip and at the origin of the beard are thick, whereas the strokes in the beard are rather fine.


Step 07

The prior two steps are repeated on the remaining parts of face. The sides of the face are left undone because it will add on to the next steps. There are still many strokes on the face which are strongly patchy and look undone. However, this adds to the composition. The parts of any illustration with the most amount of detail and/or contrast attracts attention first; in this case, the eyes.


Step 08

Once the face is done, this is where one needs to start working on the background. Against the already set dull gray background, start putting horizontal strokes with fine art brushes. The colours used are part of the portrait itself – reds, yellows and whites. This enables the background to compliment the main subject of the painting and establishes a flow to the composition. But also remember not to steal the focus from the subject by using colors that are too vibrant.


Step 09

This step is called ‘The Haze’. This is where the focal points and edges are merged into the background. For example, the yellow ochre on the forehead is transformed into a form of smoke (haze) which drifts away from the head. This is still done using fine art brushes. Along with that, more horizontal strokes have been pulled around the beard and hair. These strokes are pulled in about 30% opacity and serve to blend the edges till the background looks like a part of the subject itself.


Step 10

The last and final step is to add a layer mask. This is where curves are applied to the artwork. This is where contrast is also added to the painting. This helps the shades to pop out and there is a lot more depth than there was before.

Published in Issue 22

This issue is dedicated to the talented design graduates who are not just looking to work but seeking experience in order to realise the greater goal of life. The issue features various designers from India and abroad. Kevin Roodhorst from The Netherlands realised his goal so early in life that propelled him to start his career as a designer as young as 13. To name a few talents we have Vivek Nag from Fine Arts from Rachna Sansad Mumbai, Simran Nanda from Pearl Academy New Delhi, Anisha Raj from MAEER MIT Institute of Design Pune, Giby Joseph from Animation and Art School Goa and many more. This issue gives a fresh perspective of talented graduates and their unique approach to design.

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With the art of self-learning by watching videos or reading articles being the new trend, everyone is trying their hand at it. The will to learn the new and the passion to grasp the contemporary can help an individual grow tremendously.

Here are some of the best tutorials teaching the scratch to end process of portrait creation. Scan through the list and acquire the knowledge for the latest in this field of creation.

Digging in the Details 

A visual artist in the form of a cartoonist and animator, Manoj Sinha shares his process and details of his work one bit at a time, in order to achieve the right balance across aspects such as the tone of colours, the shades of lighting.

Step by step tutorial here


Creating Portrait With The Perfection

Illustrator, Mohan Sonawane, takes us through the process it took him to find and create a portrait with just the right amount of depth and perspective, one that would go on to bring a character to life on the canvas.


Step by step tutorial  here 


Learn to Draw a Realistic Portrait with Pencil 

Even with the conquest of digital technology in every realm of life, something is best enjoyed the traditional way. A portrait, for instance. Pencil artist Aakash Ramesh sticks to the old style and sketches out the realistic portrait of a popular personality. He shares the steps of the process.

Realistic Portrait with Pencil

Step by step tutorial here


Portrait Tribute to Indian Legends 

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. For a designer, it doubles up as a way to pay homage to an icon and inspiration. Digital artist Pankaj Bhambri re-creates a portrait of the duo from a reference picture, adulation and following. He explains how.

Step by step tutorial here


Digital Painting of Bollywood legend 

Faces are an interesting subject, and often we come across one that has an expression telling a story.  Vivek Arvind Mandrekar saw one such story in  facial expression of Amitabh Bachchan and captured it by means of a digital painting. Below, he takes us through the various steps in order to tell and capture such tales.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan

​​​​​​​Step by step tutorial here


Making a Digital Portrait of Scarlett Johansson

It’s a digital age, one doesn’t need a subject to pose before them for hours, simply a photograph is enough. Graphic design student, Sri Harsha Andukuri takes us through a step by step guide on making a digital portrait of any famous celebrity, in this case, Hollywood’s own Scarlett Johansson.

​​​​​​​Step by step tutorial here


For tutorials on Animation, Digital Art, Illustration, Caricature, Character Design, Concept Art, Logo Design click here


Illustrator, Mohan Sonawane, takes us through the process it took him to find and create a portrait with just the right amount of depth and perspective, one that would go on to bring a character to life on the canvas.

Drawing a face, by itself, is not an easy task; let alone a portrait that is synonymous of not just the way a person looks, but, in fact, is a representation of the characteristics and traits of the individual’s personality. Now, that’s no easy mission to engage; yet, Mohan Sonawane did take that it was worth a shot, and came-up with this evocative portrait of actor Nawazuddin Siddique. He takes us through the moves it took him to reach the achieved execution.


Step 1: Primary Concept

To start off with, the background was put into effect by the use of the given base colour – one similar to skin colour. Further, basic line anatomy was put into application, also keeping in mind the face structure and proportion, at the same time. This was all done in the Rapid style of sketching, quickly just going step after step, not paying much attention to detail at that stage or phase of the illustration.


Step 2: Final Sketch

Following Rapid Drawing, final details were added into the sketch-work. For example, face expressions were introduced, which gave the subject the intense character and effective style. Something it is not only fundamentally essential to distinguish personality, but also necessary when one is trying to create distinct portraits. That is where an accurate face structure comes into shape.


Step 3: Choosing Brush

After studying many brushes, one particular brush with a strong stroke, and the apt depth to it, was finalised and chosen. The conclusion was reached only after having tried out a variety of options; they all, however, lacked the primary quality and effect that was desired to create the intended production. Nonetheless, the right one was eventually found to execute the needed depth.


Step 4: Primary Base Colour

At first, the basic middle tone colour was selected, followed by applying it to the whole drawing. Post that, the colours that were further used were selected as per natural colours. The whole intention was to be able to create an imagery that represented not just the face, but the very character itself that is synonymous of the person, so as to represent more than simply the face.


Step 5: Occlusion Light and Primary Colour

With the help of basic colours, a dark tone was given to the portrait. Thereafter, the initial shades and tones were converted to dark-to-light shades. This was done with the primary goal of providing a realistic texture to the subject, one that would make it synonymous of real life.


Step 6: Skin Texture and Details

After observing the skin texture, the Brush tool was brought into play, so as to give the much-needed set of details to the subject and his crucial character. In Photoshop, it is very easy to provide skin texture, as one can create whatever brushes one wants to apply in order to be able to achieve an accurate skin texture. That is what finally materialised or manifested into the evolution of the piece.


Step 7: Details

After completing the basic colour sketch, it became very easy to add on a lot more of the face details – one could thus highlight them, as they were very much in the designer’s control, even though it also depends on the subject’s characteristics and expressions. The best way to overcome that challenge is to actually be observant, and take time to grasp them in all their depth.


Step 8: Reflection Light

When we see an image that has surrounding lights reflection on it, the drawing looks natural due to the reflecting light. It adds a very natural feel to an image. The same very basic thing was also applied over here, allowing there to be a natural light on the face, which looks very attractive.


Step 9: Final Compose

After completing the entire work, colour creation and background were further explored. Both aspects worked to create just the right amount of depth. And, finally, the ultimate picture starts taking solid root and shape. Due to this reflection of light, the desired output could be well achieved at the end.

Published in Issue 39

As the festivity is all around, every brand or business is trying to impress the Indian audience. But what really works for us Indians? What is an Indian design? And how we can make designs for India? To understand it, we interviewed some Indian creatives who are successfully creating designs for the Indian audience. 

This issue of Creative Gaga is a light read for someone looking for inspirations or insights on Indian design and how the Indian audience can be enticed. So go ahead and order your copy or subscribe if you want to keep receiving a regular dose of inspirations!


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