Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Christmas Holiday Portrait

This tutorial explains step-by-step how to paint a holiday-themed portrait.

The reference photo comes from stock photography website

Go in-depth into painting eyes, nose, lips, clothes, and more, all with a holiday theme! Use only one brush, and the Smudge, Line, Burn, and Dodge tools.

Happy Holidays!

End result:
Create a Christmas Holiday Portrait Final Image

no avatar

Views: 58530
Score: 8 / 10
Author earned: $30
Practice tutorial


Step 1

Begin by picking a reference photo. In this case I chose a photo from

Open a new project, 1200 x 1800 pixels at 150 pixels/inch.

Step 2

On a new layer and using the basic round brush (15 pixels, 100% opacity) outline the basic features with color #3C1B06.

Step 3

Create six layers, Skin, Eyes, Nose, Lips, Hair, and Etc.

Step 4

Select Skin layer.

We are going to do some basic blocking in.

There are three sections, highlight (Yellow), middle (Green), and shadow (Red).

Step 5

Block in the basic sections (100 pixel, 100% opacity).

Shadow: Color #E7A172

Middle: Color #FCC498

Highlight: Color #FFD6B1

Step 6

Do the same for the shoulders and hands.

Step 7

Blend with the Smudge tool (100 pixel, 50% strength, soft-edged brush).

Step 8

On a new temporary layer apply blush on the sides of her cheeks with color #F09461.

Step 9

Use the Smudge tool again to blend it out. Merge the layer down.

Step 10

Take this time to fix any issues you have with the Skin layer. I reworked the left hand a little.

Step 11

Darken the shadows using the Burn tool (65 pixels, 12% exposure, Midtones mode).

Step 12

Move on to the Eyes layer.

Fill the whites of the eyes with color #E0E0E4.

Step 13

Brighten the center of the whites using the Dodge tool (100 pixels, 90% strength, Midtones mode).

Step 14

Add dimension to the whites by darkening the outer corners with the Burn tool (35 pixels, 40% strength, Midtones mode).

Step 15

Add a little color to the outer corners with color #CA9E93 (20% opacity), blend out with the Smudge tool.

Step 16

Block in the tear ducts and very outer corner of the eyes with color #A84D43.

Step 17

Add the waterline with color #FECBA1. Use the same color to highlight the tear duct. Blend out with the Smudge tool.

Step 18

Draw on the eyeliner with color #4C2D21. Blend out.

Step 19

Outline the eye fold and block in the outer corner of the eyelid using the same color. Blend.

Step 20

Highlight the center of the lid and the inner corner of the eyes with color #E0B9AA. Blend.

Step 21

Finish highlighting around the eyes with color #F4D8C4.

Step 22

Block in the Iris with color #330B02.

Step 23

Ring the middle of the iris with color #631A00.

Step 24

Highlight the iris using the Dodge tool and deepen the shadows using the Burn tool on their previous settings.

Step 25

Draw the little lines in the iris using the Dodge tool (Midtones mode, 40% strength).

Step 26

Paint a little color #B17927 on the lightest parts of the iris. Blend using the Smudge tool.

Step 27

Add the pupil with black (#000000).

Step 28

Finish the iris by adding the shines using color #FFFFFF (12 pixels, 30% opacity).

Step 29

Add the eyelashes with color #210B03 (10 pixel, 60% opacity). Taper them so that the base (the part attached to the eyelid) is thicker and they are thinner at the end.

Step 30

The last step on the Eyes layer is the eyebrows.

Start by blocking in the shape with the same color (35 pixels, 50%opacity).

Step 31

Use the same color (5 pixel brush this time) to draw in the individual hairs.

On a temporary layer, brush color #B77A5E over the top of the eyebrows. Smudge.

Step 32

Finish up the nose on layer Nose with color #B5734B by sharpening up the tip of the nose and deepening the shadow on the left side of her nose.

Step 33

On layer Lips block in the top lip with color #BA685F and the bottom lip with color #D16E63.

Step 34

Add shadows to the outer corner of the mouth and between the lips with color #813F38. Blend out.

Step 35

Fill the middle of the bottom lip with color #ED9C93 and the middle of the top lip with color #D16D62.

Highlight each using the Dodge tool in highlights mode.

Step 36

Move on to the Hair layer. Block in the hair with color #230906.

Step 37

Begin separating the locks of hair with the Dodge tool on midtones mode.

Step 38

Finish the hair by drawing individual strands of hair with colors #853D25 and #230906 (5 pixels, 40% opacity) .

Step 39

On the top layer, Etc, block in the white feathers from her hat on her forehead with white (#FFFFFF).

Step 40

Add detail to the fringe with white (5 pixels).

Step 41

On a temporary layer underneath the Etc layer, block in the hat and shirt using the same techniques used steps 5-7.

Shadow Color: #DB1F14

Middle Color: #E52C21

Highlight Color: #EC362C

Add a shadow on the neck and arms where the fabric meets her skin using the Burn tool on highlights mode.

Step 42

On layer Etc block in the feathers with white.

Step 43

Block in the light shadows on the white part of the hat with colors #F5EBE9 (shadow) and #FBF4F2.

Step 44

Blend using the Smudgetool.

Step 45

Use white to create a feather pattern in the white part of the hat.

Step 46

Block in the left side of the box with color #E2DAD8 and the top of the box with color #F5F5F5. Use the Line tool to create straight edges (20 pixels).

Step 47

Use the Line tool and color #D7D1CD to create the lines on the left side of the box.

Step 48

Use the Dodge tool to highlight the box.

Step 49

On a new layer above Etc, create long stringy "ribbons" of cold with color #AA773B (50% opacity).

Step 50

Block in the ribbons with color #AE0808 (shadows), #E20404 (middle) , #FE512D (highlights).

Step 51

Do the same for her fingernails.

(Color #AE0808 (shadows), #E20404 (middle), #FE512D (highlights).)

Step 52

Brighten the highlights using the Dodge tool on highlights mode.

Step 53

And you are done!

Howdie Guest!

We have 20+ awesome contests running every single week, with great prizes!
Photoshop Contests, Photography Contests, Drawing Contests and 3D Contests!

Feel free to join our free community and show of your talents to others, it's big fun!

LOGIN HERE / REGISTER FOR FREE or stay in touch pxleyes RSS feed


no avatar
[banned] says:

Very nice Creativity.

(5 years and 1663 days ago)
no avatar
PRADEEP [banned] says:

nice tutorials...thanks

(5 years and 1661 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

thanks for nice tutorial

(5 years and 1634 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

Very Nice Work ,..............Thank alto

(5 years and 1450 days ago)

Leave a Comment