Week 3 Part 2 – Sophie Lager

Week 3 Part 2 – Sophie Lager

Here’s the original selfie:

When I took the photo I was thinking of hilarious and austere paintings people get with their pets.

I worked in a lot of layers for this project. I wanted to avoid being destructive to my layers as much as possible, just in case I made a terrible mistake. I started by creating a layer and sampling colors for my palette, then I created a transparent layer and a fine pointed brush to sketch out the areas I wanted to paint. Like so:

Then I started to paint! I struggled a little bit with my blending. Initially, I blended the colors on my face directly on my initial layer (destructive!) but then I realized that I got a better blending result if I added a new layer, then painted in a lighter transparency, then smudged and blended to my heart’s content.

I don’t feel finished with my painting, so I’ll probably keep working on it. The shading in the arm still needs some work (I think it needs to be darker), the necklace needs detail, and I haven’t started blending out the cat’s (Newt!) fur yet. I ended up also liking the graphic art style of this painting when it was slightly less blended and I saved some earlier versions so I can revisit them.

One thing I really liked (that I discovered relatively early) was painting different sections of the painting on different layers, especially if I wanted to ensure that my lines stayed sharp. For example, my eyes are on a layer below the skin, so I could paint and shade them the way I wanted, then move to the skin layer and refine the interior edges of my eyes until they were just the shape I wanted. This left them looking nice, sharp, and a little uncanny. 🙂

Here’s my final(ish) result:


  1. rhwillcox

    I think you did a really great job! The left side of the hair looks like the outline there was probably smooth but you didn’t go back over and smooth it out so that could be easily fixed. It looks to me like you’re kind of in between wanting this painting to be more realistic or be stylized. I think that you clearly have the ability to successfully go either way with it. I hope you continue working on it!

    Also regarding the flat background color (which I also did, no judgment), I saw a really great video this past week that explained how painting a background (even just a gradient) can really bring up the quality of your work. Here’s a link if you’re interested
    (at about the 4 minute)

  2. kiten

    Love love love this! You did an amazing job and your description is really detailed. What I like the most about it is it dosen’t take away from the original selfie, it adds to it! Normally it seems like paintings have less character than photos to me, but thats not the case here.

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