How to paint an atmospheric portrait in Photoshop

Painting a portrait can be a difficult task. Even if you've mastered how to draw a face, you can easily end up lost in details and jewellery. So before starting anything, have a basic rough idea of the final image. 

Here, I want to depict a portrait inspired by the Venetian carnivals, but without the mask, because we want direct eye contact. We'll be using Photoshop.

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Mélanie is a freelance illustrator who specialises in fantasy. She is a digital painting instructor at CGMA.