Make use of a sphere when painting
1 Because I’m painting a portrait where the base shape of the head is similar to a ball, I’m going to use the ball as a base to the head of the character. You can’t always do this, of course, but if the painting subject is appropriate then it can be a good way to start. I just copy the ball and deform it using the Transform tool. 2 Next, I apply different elements to the base. The light and shadow indicate the volume of elements, so it’s important to get this right first time. I start to add additional volumes to the base following a simple logic: elements facing upwards will reflect the upper light source, while those facing downwards won’t. 3 I introduce more detail, colour variations, and additional volumes and information, while checking the ball to see if everything has the correct luminosity. It’s easy to forget the base illumination when you’re caught up in the painting process. An image can have lots of cool detail, but if the lighting’s wrong, everything fails.