Realistic Girl Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

A realistic girl drawing can be seen as a cornerstone of any artist. Whether sexy, clever, cute, beautiful, or strong, girls are one of the most drawn subjects out there that attract people. This guide will walk you through the thought process I used to create an amazing drawing of a girl.

Girls are associated with a high degree of beauty in most media. When done right, a female character can draw in a lot of fans based on her personality, looks, and abilities. Of course, all of these will differ from culture to culture as each artist will have its own interpretation of an 'ideal' girl.

In Western cultures, for example, girls in comics are seen as independent and toned. On the other hand, girls in Eastern cultures are portrayed as slightly more dependent, cute, and with a body that does not show off signs of muscularity. Even then, I can only speak for my own tastes on this topic.

It boils down to personal preferences. For the purpose of learning how to draw a girl, I will be focused on emphasizing the curvature of the body as well as smoothing out the skin. Therefore, clothing that shows off or emphasize these curves will be used in this guide.

Sketching a realistic girl drawing

At the start, I would draw many different thumbnail sketches to figure out what type of pose I would like for my realistic girl drawing. What would be a good pose that would capture the curves of the girl that I am looking for? Once I have decided on the sketch, I would then redo the sketch in a much larger size.

With just a few brush strokes, I carefully construct the entire body using an artistic mannequin so that proportions are kept intact. The hair that I am aiming for should also add to the curvature of the figure as well as accentuate the roundness of the face.

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Muscles aren't too important for this particular drawing. As I want to give a more feminine appeal, slender arms and a small waist line that confines to the 'S' curve would emphasize the hourglass figure a lot more. Meanwhile, the hips itself tapering down is enough to suggest the slender legs.

Once I am good with the sketch, the next goal is to turn it into a solid object. By drawing a neutral tone underneath, I am able to close in any holes in the drawing. Then, I would lock the layer down and slowly dab in shading as I imagine a possible position for a light source.

Smudging the realistic girl drawing

In order to get rid of the sketch lines, I switched over to the smudge tool. With a chalk brush tip, I gently smudge in the entire composition. Doing so will create more tonal variety on top of making darker lines appear much more lighter.

Due to the face being the most important feature, I would spend most of my time in this area. To help with that, I switch between a small smudge brush at higher pressure and a smaller chalk brush to form eyes, nose, and parts of the mouth. I would continue to dab in the upper lips, create nostril openings, and eyeliners to give it a more sexier appeal.

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I would say the biggest challenge here would be detailing the hair. I use a combination of three different methods: continue to hard smudge each individual strand out near the ends, the use of a larger sponge brush tip to detail larger areas of hair, and a general chalk brush for the shading bits.

The rest of the body can be still smudged out and blocked in with the chalk brush tip. At this point, I am also very careful of clothing while I finalize the shape of clothing that will best suit this composition as I will be carrying this generalized shape into the refining phase.

Detailing the realistic girl drawing

Depending on how I want this drawing of a girl to look, I can spend hours or even days carefully going over every detail. I would say the major key theme here is knowing when to lock (detailing work on the fingers for example) and unlock (smudging out hair ends) the object.

This step is accompanied by the eraser tool. In essence, I am using the eraser tool to define the outline, and then locking down the layer to draw in the details. If I ever erase too much, I can still use the smudge tool and hard smudge out the erased sections.

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For everything else, the same tools are used: hard smudging to continue refining the hair, swapping to smaller brushes to detail the face, using the chalk brush to suggest some muscle tone, and drawing in outlines of the clothing so it is separated from the rest of the body.

When I am happy about a particular section of the realistic girl drawing, but do not want to destroy it by accident should I decide on drawing on top of it, I would create a new layer and draw the new stuff on it instead. For instance, hair hanging over her shoulders or any other fashion accessories is a good chance to experiment with ideas without destroying all that hard work done on the skin tones.

Shading the realistic girl drawing

Before I work on the final details, I finished off the accessories like the bracelets and belt. For smooth skin, instead of a chalk brush, I used a round brush to gently spread and merge all the muscle tones together. The round brush is excellent for working on the face in that regard.

The final step would be to look at ways to make the chiseled base look even better. As I spent most of my time detailing, very little attention was given to a proper light source except for very basic areas to add weight.

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Throughout the entire process of this realistic girl drawing, I used Photoshop as my drawing software of choice because it has very strong post editing features such as clipping masks, layer masks, smart layers, and gradient blend modes.

With all those tools, I created a tattoo and other various markings on the shirt. Even if you don't have Photoshop, you can still draw in things manually on a different layer and then adjust the opacity accordingly to show the textures underneath.

Back to the subject of a light source, it is imperative that I add reflections in the hair as well as a rim light and fade light on the rest of the body. Again, this can be done directly on the drawing or on a separate layer. I opted out for doing it on a separate layer so I can play around with the lighting till I feel it is right.

There are just other tiny stuff that is barely noticeable but is still worth doing like the reflections in the eyes and lips. This will give it a more glossy and alive look. While the background is also simple enough, I still use simple gradients to suggest the light source. After this, I just tweaked it a bit more, in terms of overall balance, until I feel it is done.