Picture-Perfect Portrait Demo with Julie Davis

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Use a favorite photo to a one-of-a-kind portrait! Join our Facebook Group, the BLICK Creative Community, for a Picture-Perfect Portrait Demo with BLICK’s own Julie Davis on 5/4 at 6 p.m. CST. Build skills and confidence with realism by applying transparent pastel ground to a photo. Master fundamenta...



  1. Print a copy of your photograph on photo paper using an inkjet or laser printer. Allow approximately 10 minutes for the ink to dry completely, then seal photo with 2 coats of fixative. If needed, trim away any unnecessary background areas to isolate your subject.
  2. Mount your photo to a primed panel using Double-Tack mounting film or, as an option, decoupage glue. Using a foam brush, apply decoupage glue to panel and to the back side of photo. Position your photo on the panel, pressing down with your fingers to work out any bubbles and ensure good contact. Allow to dry.
  3. If your photo doesn’t fit precisely on the panel, there may be abrupt edges. Use sandpaper to smooth them and soften the transition from photo to surface.
  4. Using a foam brush and "x" strokes, apply clear pastel primer over the top of the photo. Allow to dry, then apply a second coat.
  5. Use drawing media to trace over the photo. Start with areas of important detail, such as eyes. Recreate with pencils, colored pencils or other sharpened media. Broader areas and backgrounds can be filled with hard pastels, pan pastels, drawing sticks. Try to match shades of drawing media to shades in photo. It is not necessary to cover entire photo or panel with drawing media.
  6. When drawing has reached completion, seal with fixative.