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Featuring 25 Inspiring Vector Portraits

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This post is part of a series called Vector Portraits.
Create a Sci-Fi, Vector Portrait Made of Symbols
Using Stock References in the Creation of Vector Art

Within the majority of vector communities on the internet, portrait art is a popular theme. Be it rendering from photo stock or reference free work, it's a corner stone in vector art. Browse through twenty five wonderful, unique portraits, be in technique or the final appearance, which may inspire you to try new avenues of vector art portrait creation. All of the art work has came from members on deviantArt, where there is a strong vector community.

Adam's Apple Megan by Deviantjc

There are certain celebrities that are often rendered in vector. The more attractive and iconic, the higher the likelihood is that there will be fan art of them. Megan Fox is certainly one of the popular ones, as this and the next vector shows. Both pieces use a restricted palette of up to 5-6 colors, but it's the style of how these colors are applied that make them different.

Adam's Apple Megan has a unique style in shading, which is why I wanted to feature this piece for you to see. If you pay attention more towards the shading on the skin, it's composed of a jagged line instead of a more common smooth curve. Not only this, but the texturing and look of the lace fabric is carried beyond the boundaries of clothing and into the background. It helps the eyes flow downwards from the top of the piece into the portrait itself.

The Fox by Phig

In Phig's portrait of Megan Fox the defining characteristic is the style that the color is applied in a restricted palette. In the previous work the restricted palette is of similar hues, whereas here we have a block of colors, which are of the same hue. We are introduced to a bolder, contrasting color. It's applied in a fashion to break up the piece and it's shading.

It's all in the finer details with this piece. If you look closer, you can see the subtle use of gradients. Although they aren't as much in your face as the bold flashes of blue, they help compliment the palette and ease you into the similar hues of color.

Ilona by Marikaart

I'm a big fan of the vector work by Marikaart. It's the style in which he renders the human body and portraits that are such a pleasure to view. With this, it's a typical example of his calming style. Mixing subtle line art, the odd blur and freckles in his work. He makes a feature of the human flaws, something I very much like to do myself.

He's used a solid white objects to make up the top clothing of our model and used delicate cut outs of the shape to give it detail. What this has done is given it a further feminine touch (as if thhe flowing red hair doesn't already tell you this), but with its solid color it prevents you from being distracted from the radiance of the portrait itself. It's the perfect support for this amazing piece of vector art.

Sugalip by D4m

Recently I've been noticing a resurgence of an old style in graphics and that's the use of lines with dots on it in illustration. D4m was applying it to his work in 2006. Using abstract colors and lines, he's constructed this striking portrait.

With portraits, you have several focal points for the viewer to cast their eyes on. They would be the hair, the eyes and the lips. In this piece, the eyes are the most striking element of the piece, next to the abstract shading and line work.

Abandoned Minds by Owaikeo

Another celebrity portrait, but with a huge difference. The work of Owaikeo is simply mind blowing. I have the pleasure of owning one of his prints on my wall, and it gives me endless inspiration. He uses everyday objects and models to create surreal situations and scenes, and this piece is no exception to the rule. This is actually one of his older pieces and he has since developed greatly.

What makes this portrait unique is the way he has taken a head and shoulder shot and turned it into a surreal scene. If this doesn't wow you enough, his style of line art and using a desaturated palette is also inspiring. Adding his own vector textures from little scratches and hatching - all created in Photoshop, rather than the industry standard vector program of Illustrator.

Queen of Diamonds by Fck1

West meets the East with this mash up of styles and pop art inspirations in Queen of Diamonds. The use of bold, bright colors and varied thicknesses of line art collaborate in an amazing pop art styled portrait. The framing is provided by Japanese lettering and tattoo inspired roses and thorns.

Otono by Pando1

As a person who appreciates the rendering of hair, it's good to see a unique take on hair design. Hair design in itself is an art and the rendering of hair is often a painful one, however throwing all of this to the side and against the grain of realism is Otono. This piece uses brushes and symbols to make a more organic looking hair creation, which is supported by the minimalist approach to skin shading and feature illustration.

Malice and Friends by Alexxxx1

Some gradient mesh inspiration now with the work of Alexxxx1, who is an accomplished gradient mesh vector artist. I admire work that has strong contrasting shadows. Being able to apply them into vector and meshes, no less, is greatly inspiring.

The portrait has a minimal focal point and is shared with the tip of a rose head, perfectly complimenting the femininity of this beautiful portrait.

Scarlett by VerucaSalt82

It pains me a little that VerucaSalt82 has been inactive for a while as her line work is inspiring and often mimicked by others. She creates truly iconic looking line art in all of her portraits and pieces. This is just one example of her fabulous style.
She uses scratchy line art and muted colors to create an almost sketched look to her work. The palette screams of a summer sunset and perfectly complements her brown line art.

Beauty Among Nature by Dhioni

I love this style in vector illustration. Portraits with solid colors (as in 100% opacity), and minimal shapes, create bold colored pieces. The sheer organization and control required to produce this style of hair rendering, which is also seen in the way the peacock feathers have been created is amazing. The curves are smooth and flatter this style well.

It's almost mechanical in execution. The lines don't cross, the shading shapes don't interfere with each other. It makes me think organized, clean and crisp. Surely this is an inspiring quality for any vector lover.

New Fex by Toolkit04

Going from organized shapes to chaos with work from Toolkit04. I collaborated with him last year and gained some insight into the method behind the madness of his work. Collections of brush work and clipping masks create a textured portrait based in black and white. It uses the texturing from the brush work to define the shading instead of using shades of gray.

It has bold lines and shapes around the portrait that provide the piece with a stylish frame. It uses negative space around the cheek to help make the eye the focal point in this piece.

Miko by Limkis

I like to think of Limkis as one of your "bread and butter" inspiring vector artists. She's essential for anyone's vector inspiration list because of her unique vector rendering and bold application of colors and gradients.

In this portrait she's used feathered objects and gradients to create an inspiring piece. Using all the colors in the spectrum to add light and life to mix a graphical cartoon style and realism. Definitely a treat for the vector viewing eyes.

Oriental Portrait V by Cerbercus

What I like about this portrait is not the portrait itself. It's the frame of the portrait which makes the piece so striking. Of course the frame isn't independent from it as it could be considered as part of the design of the hair. The "hair" helps guide the viewers eyes inwards to the portrait.

The contrast of using grayscale shading and then bold gradients on the frame works very well. Making these elements less independent has been assisted by the pea green eyes.

Communion by CD Marcus

Here's a vector portrait for the gradient and Corel Draw fans amongst us. CD Marcus has a smooth and sexy style of rendering his portraits with sleek gradients. Here is a grayscale celebrity portrait tjat shows off not only the beauty of the model, but also the sexiness of the gradients. They are applied throughout the skin shading and into the hair.

Starry Night by Turp

The next couple of vector portraits are done by Turp who is a mistress of the finer details. The first is a portrait which uses the technique of pointism to give the impression of shading, something which I'm sure would take an insane amount of time. Although the hair is dramatically created in strokes, it's the shading in points which is the prime attraction to this piece.

Secrets Cut by Turp

With this piece, the balance of cut out shapes and delicately placed lines create a soft and feminine portrait. The soft hues add to this effect. Using the detailed parameters of areas such as the hair, it doesn't require intense shading, giving the impression of such depth for this element without leaving too much for the viewer to make up in their minds eye. What makes this also as amazing is that her work is created in Photoshop.

Electro Self Portrait by Joke Art

Extremely unique portrait warning! Joke Art has used a variety of shapes to produce line art or line art to produce the shapes to create this very unique looking portrait. It's mirrored appearance adds to the beauty of the piece and helps bring calm to the chaos.

What I appreciate about this piece is, although there is a lot of detailing, the approach to the shading in terms of the regions of color is simplified (and I use this term very loosely considering). Complexity and simplicity are married together in this incredibly inspiring portrait. I truly haven't seen another one like it.

Amphritite by Rockfield

As a stock user and a vector art fan, you become accustom to recognizing certain stock images over and over again. The more beautiful the model, the likelihood of seeing its repeated use is high. So it's refreshing to see a unique take on an often used stock image in Amphritite.
The pastel shades, aquatic design and smooth curves help guide the eyes from the top of the portrait downwards to the delicate details of the scene.

The Perfect Ending by J3Concepts

The next two pieces are by the vector powerhouse of J3Concepts. The first is a portrait of his wife done in a minimalistic fashion. Using a monochrome format and bold line art to create a stunning portrait.

There are additional elements to the piece, which without them might not make the portrait as special. The freckling effect towards the corners of the eyes and the addition of the piercings give those small yet significant details to the portrait. The use of blurs on the areas of the hair and mainly white canvas of the piece create a dreamy effect.

Doing Good Thanks Mix by J3Concepts

From one personal portrait to a self portrait with a difference. Instead of giving a portrait a background and landscape, this element has been brought within the boundaries of the portrait. I love the contrast of the realistic form of a person with J3Concepts's iconically whimsical characters within a unique spin on his self portrait. Applying effectively his branding onto an "everyday" vector theme is pure genius.

Self by CrisVector

Using your own image is a good way to experiment with new styles and techniques. You won't be offending anyone (other than yourself), and you can work on it at your own pace. That's not to say it won't produce amazing outcomes, as it has done for the next two pieces from CrisVector.

In both pieces we're looking at the use of line art to add to the form of the male face and to add shading. When we think of line art, we're assuming that it's used to outline areas of mass color or to define areas of a subject. For example, line art can outline the face,a outline the eyes, or the clothing.

Introducing the line art to set the boundaries of where shadow lies and highlights lie, as shown in "Self," creates a different and almost mechanical looking self portrait. The cold appearance of this style is also reflected in the use of a grayscale palette with large portions of black, with delicate lines and flicks of hair.

New ID by CrisVector

Now to the more present day with a new self portrait of CrisVector. The same techniques of using line art on highlighting and shading sections of the face have been employed once more, however with the addition of hatching for the shading, which can be seen in the chin area.

The lines also appear a lot more organic on this piece as they've been created with the use of a pen tablet. It adds a traditional feel to a digital rendering. As a piece of line art it doesn't require the support of colors or shades as it's effective line work is a stand alone masterpiece.

Adele by Phig

Adele was the beginning of a new style and technique that Phig was experimenting with. One I know not just myself would love to see more of. It relies on brush strokes and shapes of similar dimensions to create an inked and highly graphic take on a modern female vocalist. Adding dashes of color and the impression of deep shade to create an atmospheric piece.

Stevie by ChewedKandi

Now on to two of my own pieces I want to share with you. The first I recently did for a tutorial here on Vectortuts+.

The techniques I use for many of my portraits are mixing low opacity shapes with a variety of blending modes to produce smooth skin shading. With portraits, I firmly believe that as long as you put your time and effort into the skin shading, it will go unnoticed. This is good as the focal points should be the hair, eyes and lips. The only time skin gets picked up on is if you're obsessed in skin shading or it's rendered poorly.

Dita Von Tripp by ChewedKandi

Finally I want to show you a piece I did a while back that is made mainly out of using vector blends. This is not only for the hair, which is a lot more apparent, but also the skin shading. It created a more unique in appearance style of shading and hair rendering compared to my previous portraits, and also helped me learn a lot more about vector blends. That brings me to the close of this feature article,


A lot of these portraits are unique due to both techniques employed and the styles that the artist has previously used in their work. Some have taken the portrait beyond the context of the human face, others have brought the unique flares within the context.

Through experimentation of your own work and using new tools and techniques you can create your own unique portraits. Have you created a portrait taht you think is unique looking? Please share with us your portrait work by commenting with links below.

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