From Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile to the Girl With the Pearl Earring, portraits have been at the center of art throughout history. We’ve featured 50 striking examples of artists that have taken this beautiful art form into the 21st century.
01. - 03. Thiago Moura Januário
Looking at Thiago Moura Januário’s extensive portfolio of portraits and paintings, it’s hard to believe that this Brazilian digital artist has only been seriously specialized in digital painting since mid-2013. Exceptionally talented at capturing expressions, he paints portraits with beautiful eyes that can appear to gaze directly into your soul. Check out his Instagram for more portraits and some insights into his process.
04. - 06. Sam Spratt
We couldn’t put together a list of the best portraits without including the legendary Sam Spratt. With an impressive selection of clients including MSNBC, National Geographic and recently Def Jam, Sam Spratt’s work is in high demand amongst celebrities and corporations, and has inspired both budding and professional artists worldwide.
07. - 09. Yanjun Cheng
Yanjun Cheng‘s work has an alluring and instantly recognizable style, full of bright highlights and vivid, almost fluorescent colors. She subtly blends in small touches of bright color around the edges of her subjects, often making them appear like anaglyphs. Specializing in painting women, her portfolio is full of beautifully crafted portraits and definitely worth looking into for more inspiration.
13. - 15. Irakli Nadar
Irakli Nadar‘s paintings frequently come up on inspiration sites across the web, and it’s not hard to see why. He paints gorgeous portraits that, while appearing photo-realistic at first glance, often feature slightly exaggerated features, resulting in an intriguing style and very recognizable style. Follow him on Facebook to see his most recent work.
16. - 18. Vlad Rodriguez
Peruvian-born Vlad Rodriguez is a masterful and highly accomplished digital painter and illustrator. Now based in Miami, he has worked for numerous high-profile clients and projects including HBO’s Boardwalk Empire & Da Vinci’s Demons. He paints a range of subjects, though his self-proclaimed passion lies in Pop Culture, Film and Music.
19. - 21. Isabella Morawetz
At only 24 years of age, Australian Isabella Morawetz has already built up an impressive portfolio of work. She has developed a beautiful style that often mimics traditional oil painting, giving her work a beautiful, tactile feel. She also sells her own brush pack on her website, featuring a selection of traditional Photoshop brushes and stroke styles.
25. - 27. David Belliveau
French-Canadian David Belliveau decided to put aside his 10-year graphic design career to focus on his new love: digital painting. He loves painting portraits of beautiful women, though his vibrant portfolio also features a range of other subjects. His work has been featured across various sites, including Wacom’s own inspiration gallery.
28. - 29. Houston Sharp
Houston Sharp is a 23-year-old freelance illustrator and concept artist from LA. Though relatively young compared to many other artists on this list, he’s already built up an impressive portfolio of work, featuring a multitude of atmospheric landscapes and stunning portraits. Follow him on Instagram to see more of his impressive pieces and process work.
30. - 31. Bao Pham
Vietnamese Bao Pham is definitely a portrait painting artist to watch. He’s developed a very unique style, often painting in vibrant, psychedelic colors. His portfolio features a number of subjects, though his strength and focus definitely lays in portrait painting. You can see more of his artwork and process on his Facebook page.
32. - 33. Marta Dahlig
With an incredible eye for detail, Marta Dahlig’s work definitely stands out of the crowd. Her instantly-recognizable portraits have been featured all across the web, most notably on DeviantArt, where she has been awarded the Deviousness Award. Though she’s best known for her Seven Deadly Sins range, she has a painted many more striking portraits like the masterpieces below.
34. - 35. Richard Davies
Richard Davies, aka Turksworks, is a freelance designer and illustrator, currently based in South Wales, United Kingdom. His work is at a truly outstanding level, and he’s already built a truly impressive client list including Rolling Stone and Disney. With over 10 years experience in the industry, his roots as a graphic designer show in his beautifully composed paintings.
37. - 38. Charlie Bowater
No respectable list of digital painting portraits would be complete without one of Charlie Bowater’s masterpieces. A self-proclaimed illustrator and doodler of everything, she has worked on a number of exciting projects including Mortal Kombat 9 and Sonic All Stars Racing. Bowater currently works as a Senior Concept Artist at Atomhawk Design.
39. - 41. Carlos Alberto
From Torreón Coahuila, Mexico, Carlos Alberto is an exceptionally talented portrait painter and concept artist. With a great eye for detail, Alberto is extremely skilled at capturing expressions and painting in a very tactile style that often closely resembles oil paintings.
42. - 44. Viktor Miller-Gausa
An accomplished illustrator and digital painter, Viktor Miller-Gausa has managed to developed a very unique and memorable style. He portrays his subjects in a slightly warped, caricature style, and applies color in thick brushstrokes, often resembling traditional paintings. Viktor has been featured in a number of publications, including GQ Russia and Snob Magazine, and currently works as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of JMB Magazine.
45. - 46. Fernanda Suarez
Fernanda Suarez is an incredibly talented illustrator and concept artist from Chile. She’s developed a versatile style, which is apparent in her large body of quality digital painting work, especially in character design and portraits. Definitely an artist to look out for.
50. Lim Mei Yee
We wanted to end the list with this stunning portrait titled ‘Gentle’. Lim Mei Yee has done a superb job of capturing the subject’s expression, creating and intriguing and truly beautiful painting. From Selangor, Malaysia, Yee now works as a tutor at The One Academy of Communication and Design.