How to paint traditionally in Photoshop

Far Cry 3 artist Bianca Draghici creates an underwater figure using simple brush strokes in Photoshop.

14 steps to paint traditionally in Photoshop

Follow the 14 steps or watch Bianca create the image in the video below

Depending on the style I want, or need, for a project, different approaches to creating an image can be taken. It can be very stylised, a watercolour, an etching, a photo collage, a photorealistic piece, and so on.

For my personal projects I like to create a series of works that have a specific look, so I want to experiment further in that area. Lately I've been working on these painted-like images – the look comes mostly from combining digital painting with several Photoshop techniques.

The techniques centre on building volumes while thinking about how light describes them in real life. I focus on the big shapes, trying not to get into details.

This is an image that looks loose and sketchy, yet has charm and a sort of openness. It conveys the feeling that I can always return to the image and work on it more, while the viewer can imagine more than what's on the canvas.

An illustration comes both from the style of the painting language and the idea behind the image. So I think about a little story or situation that can make the viewer think about the image a bit more.

I've dived a couple of times and the underwater world is amazing. It's like an alien planet: breathing through tubes, floating, the diffuse light, the moving sun rays and the calm inhabitants.

With this idea in mind I'm considering starting a series of works to describe it. For now, follow the steps on the following page, and see how I created this image in the video (above).

Next page: step-by-step guide to painting in Photoshop