I was recently asked by a few of my friends to show the process I follow for my portraits. I handle my portraits all the same way and that all starts with a line drawing. This is one of the most crucial parts.
In this step, I measure all of the features (ie. six of Morgan's left eye make up the width of the head etc.) drop lines to make sure things line up the way that they should. I also take this time to try to add in any other information that I might need for the painting process. ie cranial structure, the muscles in the face and the most important wrinkles. Keep in mind, I keep this step of the process very analytical, making sure the proportions and features are right. I am not focusing on getting a highly rendered drawing at this point, just a road map for the painting.
The next step, I block in the base colours. I keep the line work on multiply at a very low opacity.
Next, I try to get the proper skin tones and lighting. This usually takes a little time. I follow my "Road map" and start to shape out the wrinkles and muscles in the face as well as the wrinkles and folds in the clothes. I usually try to work the whole painting at once as to not get caught up in one little area. I also kill the line work around now. There is enough information in the painting for me to work with at this point.
This is when I start to add the final details. Getting most of my darkest darks and highlights. I also add a quick block in of the background elements. This is usually done earlier but since this is a pretty simple background, I held off a little longer on this one.
At this point I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's usually little things to do, like blurring out the background and giving Morgan a much more realistic hair line. Touching up on those fine little details.
Finally I add a texture to give the clothes on Morgan's back a little life. And that is it! The process that I follow for my recent portraits. It may not be perfect but I am happy with the results.