A dear friend of mine reached out to me recently, in light of some hardships that she was dealing with in regards to her health.  She asked me if I would be able to draw her the concept of “healing”.  With her humble permission, she allowed me to post a step-by-step process of this painting.

I hope that this picture brings you joy and lifts your spirits, Tori.  I hope that you ask for help when you need it, that you will allow others to love you, and that you will also take the time to love and take care of yourself as much as you love and take care of others.  Trust in God. May he lift you up and comfort you; may he free you from worry and give you peace.  I hope that you get well, very soon.  

                                                                                  Love Your Friend,  Erika

The following is a Photoshop tutorial, using a twist on a new layering technique that I stumbled upon at the end of last year.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thank you for visiting, everyone.  And thank you again, Tori, for your permission to post.

tori01rbg
Sketching the rough outline.  I always start with a light blue brush and sketch out a few layouts and concepts.  This is a very organic process, but once I figure out the general layout, I need to get the lines as proportionate as possible.  This is probably the most important step, because if your drawing is “off” in the beginning, it will be very tough to fix, later on.
tori02rbg
I add a light wash to her skin and change the color of the outlines to match the wash.
tori03rbg
This is a rough hair placement.
tori04rbg
Her beautiful hair needed to be trimmed back, so that it didn’t distract from the balance of the whole portrait.  There will be a sense of “energy” coming from the palms of her hands, so I wanted her hair to react to that source instead of being scattered about the whole frame.
tori05rbg
I add in a background base and shadows.  I chose purple, with highlights of red and blue, to bring out the yellow and orange tones of her hair.  I want the background to be very dark and I want this piece to have a lot of contrast because…
tori06rbg
…I am going to add a focal point of blue-ish light in her hands to represent healing, calm, strength, and peace.  I am testing the color combinations to see if they balance, before proceeding with the drawing.  I also see if this is the exact concept that I want to move forward with.  I need to make sure the elements sit well, together, and sometimes testing is a good thing.
tori07rbg
I take away the blue highlights, so that I can fill in her hair to test its truer color against the background.
tori08rbg
I start to add skin tones and shading.
tori09rbg
Deeper shades and highlights are layered on each other, and facial details are added.
tori10rbg
The pastel strokes are smoothed out.  But, her skin is a little too pink…I need to fix it.  Her hair also needs to be brightened.
tori11rbg
An eraser is used to trim around her hair and body.  Skin and hair colors are balanced out and a lot of pink is taken away.
tori12rbg
The orange vibrancy of her hair is bumped up just a little to give more contrast against the purple/blue background.
tori13rbg
Hair strands are drawn and scattered about.  Texture is added to her hair to give a little more depth.
tori14rbg
A drastic last minute change put most of this piece in the shadows.  Because a lot of “light” is going to be added, at the end, having the darkness will create an intense dramatic effect.  I love that a sense of mystery is brought out in this step, also.  This will also bring the attention to her face and the light, first, as opposed to her figure.
tori15rbg
The light is added to her palms and engulfs her body and hair.
tori16rbg
More shadows, details, and depth are added before the final magical touches.  I love the rainbow of colors that appeared within her hair.  It was unexpected, but so beautiful!  Happy accidents, right, Bob Ross?
tori17rbg
I start with the darkest shade of color that was used in the focal light, which was light blue, and scatter magical dots all around her.  I make sure that the flow is balanced and feels right to me before adding the next layer of magic and healing.
tori18rbg
An off-white is used to highlight the magical pathways even more.  The off-white is still very bright next to the dark colors, but can be brought out just a little more…
tori19rbg
The foreground “magic” is highlighted with an opaque pure white brush, to add extra depth and pop against the purple background.  “Healing” – digital painting – Photoshop.  By Erika Robertson – 2017 – For Tori