Hopefully you’ve already read my tutorial ‘Introduction to Painting Hair’, if you haven’t, there’s a link in the description below.
We’re going to look at my painting of Christina Ricci and even though a photo is used as reference, you don’t have to match it exactly. Facial features are often way more important to get right in a portrait (although caricatures are a mystery to me ;). The same person can have many hair-styles, as long as you don’t go too crazy, you can be a bit more relaxed.
There’s many techniques to painting hair, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to go about it. Have a look at other artists techniques and adopt one or adapt to suit yourself, it all comes with practice. There are some great tutorials and examples on deviantART for painting hair.
I mostly use a single brush in Photoshop, just the soft round brush, but vary the size and pressure using a Wacom Intuos3. I don’t use bristle brushes, they seem to be too uniform, but maybe I just need practice. Oh, and get a drawing tablet! Mice suck for painting! :p
Blurry? I say ‘Depth of Field’ and fast to paint, Boom!
Depth of Field (DOF) is basically what is in focus. You can show depth with perspective, lighting/shading and focus. Although you can have the entire image in focus, having sections in high detail, but others blurry, can give realistic DOF effect. However, a ‘lens’ can precisely focus at only one distance at a time. You can’t randomly blur stuff in a painting and expect it to look realistic. Google DOF ;)