Deke's Technique 260: Hand-Painting an Image in Photoshop (with a Wacom Cintiq)

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke whips out his Wacom Cintiq. With it, he uses Photoshop to hand-paint a photograph, turning the stately serene lion on the left into the wicked wild cat on the right before your very eyes, using a combination of brush strokes and blend modes. 

Before and after hand painting in Photoshop

Of course, you don't need the fancy (and somewhat expensive) technology to follow along. Read on to get a preview Deke's approach and see if it sparks some wild ideas of your own. 

Deke starts by making a template (basically a layer with reduced opacity) of the photo over which to paint. He starts with the eyes and a black brush:

Eventually the black strokes define the key details in the original:

Next, a layer of colored strokes painted directly on the screen with the Cintiq:

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he applies a series of blend modes and CC-specific layer settings to create this final effect. Not a member? No problem. Just sign up for a free week at and enjoy. Rwar. 

final hand-painted effect

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