Now I'm ready to lay down the paint. I position the reference image and the working canvas windows next to each other in my Corel Painter work area. I will be pulling color from the reference image. Sometimes I will have to zoom in very close to the reference image to get the color I need.
The main brushes I use for the initial laying down of paint are the Round Pastel and Oil Pastel brushes. Now at this stage I will bump the opacity up quite a bit like 70-80%. I'm trying to cover the canvas as quickly as possible with large base colors for the skin, shirt and background. A couple of times my brush will wander a little outside of the lines of the sketch layer. Not a big deal, I use the Smear Blender Brush to bring the color back in line.
Once the main layer of color is laid down then I start laying the dark areas and areas of high specular highlight. Now some artists would be flipping over to their reference image for these dark and light colors, I take a different approach. I pull up the HSV Palette in Painter's Color Palette. I make sure to pick the color I want to change the value of (in this case, the flesh color), then I slide the V (value) slider lower for darker color and higher for the lighter areas. Keep playing around with light and dark areas until you get the basic shapes that look solid and with the correct lighting. Don't worry about the details like the beard at this point. Treat the beard as a mass that rises above the face a bit. You'll notice I don't even have the glasses in the image at this point because these are the details I will add later. I use the Grainy Water Blending Brush to smooth out areas between the transitions from light to dark. But be sure to turn the opacity of this brush down to 10% or lower because it can muddy your image very quickly. You will be left with an image that looks similar to with solid forms beginning to form with basically 3-4 colors created by just shifting the value of the base color.
The steps above go pretty quickly. But the final steps of painting in the details take much longer. Actually, you probably should set a timeframe for this part right now. I told myself that I would give myself about 3-4 2 hour sessions and call the image done.
Ok, so where do I start. With this image, I started on the outside of the face and worked my way inward. I wanted the primary viewer's focus to be on the eyes, so I deliberately use a larger brush and light pressure on the outside edges of the head's form. This will make the features further from the viewer appear a little blurry or indistinct. Then as I start moving inward towards the focus I wanted, the eyes, I reduce the size of my brush. I keep a close eye on the reference image when getting to the details of the eyes. This image is a caricature but the eyes I wanted to be as realistic as possible.
This guy is a very serious character with a very calculating mind, the reference image shows that and I wanted to make sure I captured it.