Painted caricature in CLIP STUDIO PAINT




How to create a caricature with a "painting" approach


A. Presentation

This document aims to present the tools and my process in CLIP STUDIO PAINT to make a caricature painted from A to Z.

I quickly liked to draw the faces of my models during live model sessions and for me the caricature came naturally. I noticed that often a little emphasis, on features, makes the portrait "more like". It is also an excellent exercise in stylization and simplification. My caricatures are painted with CLIP STUDIO PAINT, but I use an approach with few layers and close to traditional techniques. However, digital tools offer the advantage of "facilitating" the workflow by simplifying the problems of drawing, drying, etc. and to facilitate the corrections in progress of the image.


B. Presentation of the tools:

1. The brushes:


In my opinion, there is no recipe for using brushes from CLIP STUDIO PAINT.

I like to vary my tools regularly during the realization of my paintings. This allows either to create graphic accidents and movement, or to obtain textures that I want to make and for which I choose a particular tool.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT also makes it possible to vary the parameters of the tools according to the needs, the visualization makes it possible to anticipate on the behavior that one wishes to obtain.

To draw, everyone's preferences, but here is a selection of tools

CLIP STUDIO PAINT that were used for the realization of this image.


The tools [Pencil] and [Pastel] will be used, including the secondary tools [Pastel], [Chalk Grasse] and [Rough Pencil].

They were used for drawing during the sketching phase but also for the treatment of details during the painting phase.


To erase, which will be done only during the sketching phase, two methods are used:

  • Use of the [Eraser] tool, with its variants: [Hard Eraser] and [Bread Eraser].

  • Preservation of the drawing tool in use and use of the transparent color. This makes it possible to preserve the texture of the pencil used for drawing by "erasing".


The [Oil Painting] tool is used, especially with the secondary tools [Flat Brush for Oil Painting] and [Fine Gouache], mainly during the painting phase.


The [Airbrush] tool with its variant [Stronger Airbrush], whose modes of combination can be modified, according to the desires and the needs during the phase of painting.


The [Diagonal Line] tool is a tool that is used here to paint. The brush size is set small to create texture or is large enough to create more graphic elements.


The [Shape Gradient] tool is used as a blur through the use of [Fiber Scrambled] secondary tools and the [Finger] tool. It is used during the painting phase.


2. The tools that save time:


These tools simplify the process of creating an image by creating shortcuts or simplifying the mandatory but less creative steps of traditional drawing:


  • To keep a fresh eye on the drawing and see its weaknesses, we can reverse the painting. This can be done through the [Edit] menu> [Rotate / Flip Canvas]> [Rotate on Horizontal Mirror Axis].


  • Similarly, to have an overview of his work, the [Zoom] tool can quickly zoom out to take a step back.


  • To insulate and enlarge the sketch that has been chosen: tool [Selection] then menu [Edit]> [Transformation]> [Enlargement / reduction / rotation].


  • You can adjust the colors, push the contrast, etc., with the [Edit]> [Color Correction] menu.


  • To review or reinforce the composition, you can select the area you want to keep and go to the [Edit]> [Trim] menu.


The goal is not to use it at all costs, because they do not do the job instead of the user. The eye remains judge of work, but these techniques can be of great help to catch up with a situation that has escaped us and save a lot of time.

C. Steps in the process:

1. Pencils:


The sketch allows to explore several options and to make sure that we have found the resemblance.

This is the first time I caricature and it was an interesting exercise. I chose the sketch at the bottom right which highlights the feeling of worry that I played on the photo and that makes me feel this exercise, moreover it seems to me that this image will allow me to better show the volumes of the face, the close eyes and the wide cheekbones as well as the small volume of the cranial box.

As it is the one that interests me, it is more advanced than the other two.

We can see in the screenshot below, the sketches and the organization of the workspace.

2. Cropping and enlargement:


Thanks to the [Selection] tool> [Polygonal Lasso], the chosen sketch is isolated from the others.

It is copied and then pasted. CLIP STUDIO PAINT automatically places it in a new layer, then with the [Transformation] tool, you can enlarge it and place it in full page.

Finally, the new layer is placed in [Product] mode and its opacity is reduced. We can hide the layer of sketches because we will not need it anymore. It can nevertheless be kept in the file.

At this stage, it is sometimes necessary to use a complementary tool of the tool [Warp]. This tool is called [Mesh Deformation]. If necessary, it allows to rework / adjust his drawing or part of it by deforming only part of it.


3. First layer of colors:


Below the pencil layer, in a new layer in [Normal] combination mode, you can place the first color keys by varying the [Brushes] tools.

The goal is to quickly install the colorful atmosphere of the image. You do not need to zoom in on this step. In order for this colorful atmosphere to be personal, I do not use the [Eyedropper] tool on my reference images.

I prefer to choose my colors in the color picker, even if the colors chosen are close to the colors of the reference photograph as in this case.

In place of the original background that is not very interesting, even disturbing, I establish a painted background, a color that can counterbalance the tint of my T-shirt and the color of my skin. I choose a purple close to complementary to the color of the T-shirt.


At this stage the tools used are mainly the various tools [Oil Painting] and [Diagonal Line], the [Chalk Grasse] and a little tool [Gradient Shapes]. The size of the brushes is set large, but it still varies. A few smaller brush strokes allow to specify the smallest areas and to create a little diversity in the key.


We can observe below the content of this layer of color, with and without the sketch displayed, to realize the lack of precision sought at this stage.

4. Crop the image:


Before starting to detail and deepen the painting, since the work takes place in the same file, I reframe my drawing. To do this select the area of the document that you want to keep and go to the menu [Edit]> [Cut].

5. Paint over the pencil:


At this stage it is necessary to specify the volumes then to detail the image, to define the textures, but beware, this part takes time and it is not necessary to rush there.

Indeed, if the previous steps have been neglected and that we enter this step too early, we may spend a lot of time building a rendering. But on a poorly constructed image or not resembling the result will be unconvincing.

To do this, a new layer is placed over the old layers. It is in [Normal] mode.

(For those who have a low computer configuration and to find fluidity it is possible to overwrite the previous layers before drawing over.)


From this step, it is possible to zoom in to work the details and decrease the size of the brushes accordingly.

Be careful not to exaggerate, otherwise you will take a very long working time and risk losing the coherence of the areas between them.


For this image, the tools used are:

  • Tools [Oil Painting], tools [Gradient shapes] to specify volumes;

  • The [Pastel]> [Greasy Chalk] tools and the [Oil Painting Flat Brush] tool, all set small for the details and as large as possible to work the volumes;

  • The [Diagonal Line] tool allows you to integrate graphic elements and texture.


In order to keep an overall coherence, I prefer to work successively on all areas of the painting rather than finalizing one area and moving on to the next.


Screen capture at the beginning of the process: start of work on the eyes.



It is good to keep the brushes as big as possible. When the entire image is processed to a sufficient state of progress, it is time to reduce the brushes again and zoom in a little more if necessary.

Example of zoom pushed to its maximum during the process:

As mentioned before during this phase, it is important to zoom in / out to be sure of not losing the balance of the image, as in painting when we take the time to watch his work from afar . Ri does not serve to get lost in the details if the bases of the image do not work.

To keep a more alive aspect, it is interesting to vary regularly the tool used (different brushes, stencils, diagonal lines, different sizes, different opacities etc.)


Image at the end of this step of the process:

6. Strengthen the focal point:


To make a picture more impactful, it is advisable to create a point of attraction in it. For this we can treat more finely the details of a chosen area.

In my opinion, the further away from this area, the less the painting needs to be worked, for example the logo on the cap is suggested whereas the area of ​​the eyes and glasses is treated with more than Warning.

On the other hand, this area of ​​detail is also that which must be placed in a strong point of the page, so that the composition and the treatment "work" together.

By zooming in and out, it seemed to me that the composition was not optimal. So I made a new crop.

7. Corrections of values ​​and colors: use of two layers of corrections.


The work of painting the details can be time consuming and can create a certain weariness. It becomes difficult without changing anything to realize the weaknesses of the image. You can break this weariness by using the [Mirror] tool via the [Edit] menu> [Rotate / Invert Canvas]> [Rotate on Horizontal Mirror Axis].


The image seems a little flat, there is a lack of strength of the lights and an imbalance between the light parts of the shadows and the dark parts of the lights.

To solve this problem there are several approaches. In traditional painting, we would have repainted the dim lights, readjusted the colors where they are too pale and repaint the shadows too soft by making them deeper.

With CLIP STUDIO PAINT, you can use the tools in the [Edit] menu> [Hue corrections].


Finally, here I opt for a two-layer solution, one in combination mode [Brightness Density] to raise the lights and enhance the colors, and one in combination mode [Product] to correct the shadows and colors. deepen.


I use on the layer in [Product] mode airbrush shots with a cold color close to the shade color already established. I paint on the layer in [Shine Density] mode brush strokes made with the tool

[Flat brush paint for oil] o [Airbrush], with a bright, warm color, close to the color of the light already installed in the image.


In both cases to get the result that suits me, I mitigate my first interventions with the tool [Gradient de forme] (tool [Finger] or [Scramble by fiber]) and I adjust the importance of layers by playing on the opacity of the latter until I get a result that I like.

8. The finishes:


After making the brightness settings, to find a little bit of

freshness, the file is saved in jpeg. A last paint pass, leaving the image on a single layer, allows you to add the final touches.


In this phase are put in place the last details like the hairs, the reflections of the glasses and the small points of highlights on the branches of the glasses or on the skin.


At this stage, I sometimes "break" certain elements. It happens, by working too much model, that the result obtained seems a little soft for my taste. Thanks to the work done so far, it is possible to place brush strokes with less precision and with more material. They can restore energy to the image. This is the case here in the nose area, thanks to the [Diagonal Line] tool.


And finally I sign my work.


Screenshot before / after this last step.

Here you will find the finalized image in large size, thank you for reading this tutorial, do not hesitate to let me know your comments.


If you want to know my work of illustration youth, design or caricature, you can discover it on my site:

or on artstation:

and of course on social networks:



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