How to Create a Comic-Style Portrait

Kervin Brisseaux creates his own brand of pop culture with his colorful illustrations. See how he uses a variety of brushes in Adobe Fresco to embellish a comic-style portrait.

Headshot of Kervin Brisseax against a medium blue background

Kervin Brisseaux is a designer, illustrator, and design director based in New York City. His illustration style incorporates influences from fashion, music, and other facets of pop culture.

: Complete comic-style drawing in reds, blues, yellows and white, includes portrait, lettering, birds, leaves, and flames

Take a one-minute look at Brisseaux’s technique; the steps are written out below.

Before You Start

Brisseaux exported part of his illustration as a Photoshop document (PSD) from Adobe Fresco. If you’d like to use it for practice, save his PSD to Creative Cloud Files, or your preferred cloud service that you can access from your tablet. Then, open Adobe Fresco and choose Import and open to open the PSD file.

Step 1: Start with Vector

Brisseaux chose the Basic Taper brush from Fresco’s Vector Brushes to add detail to the hat in the next step.

Adobe Fresco vector drawing of a digital portrait done with a vector taper brush, shows man’s head with a hat

Step 2: Adjust and Brush

Next, Brisseaux set the brush size and smoothing to his liking. He then added a new layer and brushed small strokes to add detail to the top portion of the hat. If you’re using a stylus, experiment with the Pressure Dynamics option in the Brush Settings by turning it off and on to see how it affects your brushstrokes.

Vector drawing brush settings – color is black, brush size is 34, smoothing is 92 – digital portrait zoomed in to show hat

Step 3: Select a Portion

He tapped and held the Selection tool as he chose the brush selection tool, adjusted its size, and brushed over the areas he wanted to color later. The diagonal lines indicate areas outside of the selection. Remember, you can pinch, expand, and drag with two fingers to zoom in and out of the image as you work.

Adobe Fresco brush selection tool selected, man’s face is clear, the rest has diagonal lines to distinguish selection area

Step 4: Fill with Color

Next, he added a new layer, tapped the color circle and moved the color stops to find the right color. Then he chose the Paint Bucket and tapped the selected areas. The color covered the face, so Brisseaux held and dragged the color layer below the portrait later he had previously created. He tapped Deselect from the bottom menu to return to normal viewing mode.

Color palette shows red is selected, the same red fills the man’s face in the digital painting

Step 5: Enhance with Halftones  

Brisseaux used vector brushes to paint areas of orange and yellow to add depth to the face. He then added detail and texture by mixing vector and pixel brushes. For example, he added a new layer and painted the collar with a Halftone brush from the Comics section of the Pixel brushes.

Digital pixel brushes show Halftone 4 Big brush selected, the brushstrokes fill main’s collar with halftone pattern

Step 6: Erase the Excess

Throughout his process, Brisseaux used the Eraser tool to clean up the areas where he overpainted with a brush.

Eraser tool selected, the excess halftone brushstrokes outside of the collar have been cleaned up

Mix Some Media

Experiment with a variety of vector and pixel brushes and their settings to combine patterns and colors to create vibrant comic-style compositions.

Kervin Brisseaux’s completed digital comic-style painting shows on a drawing tablet

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.