Custom Digital Portrait Illustration Ideas: Unique Artistry

A custom digital portrait illustration is a modern drawing used by companies, individuals, and anyone who loves thinking outside the box. We have some interesting facts and some great ideas about some cool portrait illustration ideas.

What are digital portraits illustrations?

I bet you have heard at least a few times about digital art. So what exactly are these digital portrait illustrations? A simple illustration can be done with pencil on paper, but if we are talking about a digital image, it is a drawing of someone or something done with modern equipment and a pointing tool such as a mouse or, more likely, a drawing tablet.

It is important to note that custom digital portraits are distinguished from computer-generated illustrations, as a skilled artist creates them. They are also distinct from the digital manipulation of photographs; they are original drawings from scratch.

custom digital portrait illustration

What is a digital portrait artist’s job?

A digital portrait artist’s job is to create the best illustrations by capturing emotions, personalities, likenesses, and even the mood of the person they are drawing. His art requires preciseness, patience, and a lot of skill.

drawing f a woman

How do you make a digital portrait illustration?

Every artist has a different style and a unique view of how to make a digital illustration that is better looking than the others on the market. The process is similar for every digital portrait artist. You’d think it’s an easy step-by-step procedure, but in reality, it is a complex operation. Also, there’s a difference between how you are learning it in the beginning and how professionals do it after years of drawing.

How to turn a photo into a digital illustration from scratch?

For an ambitious beginner artist, the steps would be the following. Buy a drawing tablet. Using a mouse could also work, but if you are aiming for better quality choosing better equipment is a must. Get familiar with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes; over time, you will get better, and we learn best from mistakes, don’t forget that you have a good old friend, ctrl+z. Did I mention practice? Practice is the key to success. If you transition from traditional drawing for the first time, it will be odd to draw on a computer, but with exercise, it will become second nature.

steps of a digital portrait image

Always use references! A reference is an inspiration source, a mood board like Pinterest, or you can follow an artist who can inspire you. Find a good tutorial video series or program that you can follow. And finally, one tip that you can apply anywhere in your life is consistency. Always be consistent, and the results will speak for themselves.

Related >> How to turn your photo into a custom digital avatar?

Custom digital portrait illustration – done by an expert

Let’s see what the differences are between a beginner and an experienced artist. The steps are second nature for someone with years of experience in this domain. The illustration can be of animals, objects, or people. Usually, at this point, they don’t need references because they already have a well-developed style. Digital portrait illustrations come in different styles.

The artist or the client chooses their preferred style. After this step, they begin the illustration process. This step consists of drawing a sketch, then the final outlines, and adding local colors – these are basic colors without any shadow or highlight. After this, the artist adds shadows and highlights to the character. The final step is post-processing, meaning they apply color filters, make small corrections if needed, and the final illustration is ready.

Make an illustration from a photo

Is it a good idea to make an illustration from a photo? Updating an overused photo of yours is always a good idea. You can renew any social media platform of yours with a well-drawn digital illustration. They come in different styles, and each of them has its beauty. If it’s a custom digital portrait illustration, you can add, remove or change some details you’d like.

Digital portrait illustrations are getting more hype nowadays. If it’s hyped, does it mean that it is something good? Usually, when something is getting hyped, it is for a reason. It mostly happens when people like something. There are also negative examples, but the fact that something is hyped doesn’t mean it’s good or negative. In this case, their popularity can be explained by the fact that they look great and show you can think outside the box. If you want great results, turning a photo into a digital illustration should be done using high-quality images.

turn a photo into a cartoon

Custom illustration from a photo for free

Based on your photo, a qualified artist will make a custom illustration capturing the key details of your character. A free illustration generator will never have the same results as an experienced artist. You will find similarities, and it will save you money, which is perfectly fine. It all depends on your needs. If you want that high-quality product, you need to hire an illustrator. You can try a free digital portrait illustration if you want to see a basic portrait.

So, where can you make a digital portrait illustration from a photo for free? You can find websites or applications that can generate custom illustrations from your photos for free. But if you are seeking a higher-quality alternative, hire someone to draw for you.

At Avatoon, you will find a team of highly experienced artists whose job is to satisfy your needs and deliver the best custom illustrations out there. There are multiple options, so you can choose whichever style you like most.

Best digital portrait illustration ideas

There are many different styles from which you can choose and select the best that suits and represents you. Every artist has their style and unique approach to what the best digital portrait illustration should look like.

If you want optimal results, you should check out some portfolios to see what you can expect from the different artists. What are the best ideas? You can’t state that a style is the best since it’s very subjective, as beauty differs for everyone. Let’s see some awesome ideas.

Simple style

There is a simple style that uses a few colors; it has fewer details but at the same time keeps the main features to have great similarity with the individual. This is a good option for those who want to protect their privacy more.

Minimalist style

The simple style is similar to the minimalist style, which is more or less the same thing with minor differences.

minimal style - image of a person

Cartoon style

The cartoon style is a portrait of a person turned into a cartoon. If you find the right service, you can have some gorgeous results. Interestingly, this style is getting more and more popular because the world is going towards a digitalized era. There are many reasons to choose this style for those who want to spice up their profiles and those who work online because it is an excellent representation of yourself in a modern style.

cartoon style drawing

Caricature style

Caricature styles have a different approach than the others, and this is probably the most polarizing style out there. The reason for that is the level of exaggeration can be through the roof while still maintaining the essential features of the person. There are street artists who make a living out of caricature drawings. They sometimes face an unpleasant situation where the client refuses the drawing because they don’t like the results.

image of a caricature person

The realist style

The realist style is the closest to an accurate representation of an individual as an art form. It comes in different formats, such as a painting-like or photo-like format aiming to represent reality and human forms as closely as possible. This is also a beloved and successful style because there are amazing artists who can bring you some astonishing artwork in hours. In some cases, you can’t tell the difference between a photograph and a realist-style artwork. It depends on the abilities of the artist, of course.

image of painted-style cat

The downside to this style is that it can be expensive for understandable reasons. You need to hire top-level illustrators with a great portfolio and years of experience in the background to have the best results.

The surrealist style

Painters mostly use the surrealist style. Some characteristics of this style are that it uses unnatural and irrational juxtapositions and combinations and produces fantastic or incongruous effects. You can find this style in digitalized formats or painted versions.

image of a surreal person

Anime style

Anime, short for animation, is a style that originated in Japan. Within this style, different categories have minor or major differences. Some characteristics of this style include exaggerated features like large eyes, elongated limbs, and big hair. You can find artists who can turn your photo into a digital anime-style illustration.

The retro style

The retro-style art, sometimes referred to as vintage, is known for having an old-fashioned look and feel. Some artists love this style because of the vibe it has. This style is something that people more and more appreciated because, in our modernized world, it is good to have something that reminds us of the good old days. The advantage of this style is that it is pretty rare compared to the others, so adding a digitalized version of you in retro style to your arsenal will help you stand out.

image of a vintage-style drawing

Some artists combine the styles or are capable of making more custom digital portrait illustrations. A digital portrait artist’s job is considered hard because sometimes you invest effort and a lot of work into one artwork, and sometimes the client doesn’t appreciate the final result. To avoid this, it’s best to be well-documented and to have a good idea of what the style that you selected should look like. An undesired outcome could be frustrating for you and the artist as well.

When to use a digital portrait illustration?

There are many situations when you can use these portrait illustrations. If you want to upgrade your social media platforms look, or update a portfolio of yours, also when you would like to spice up the look of your about us page and more.

You could also update your Linkedin profile picture if you want to add some individuality. If we just look around, we can observe that everyone has a mobile phone, a laptop, or some kind of digital device, so being up to date with the new trends is a clever idea. Not every one of us is a person who likes to post ten pictures a day, so if you want to upgrade a photo, turning it into a digital portrait illustration is a good idea. These portrait illustrations are not restricted by age, so don’t be discouraged if you are younger or older. Age is just a number.

Another great time to use a digital portrait illustration is when you have no idea what to buy for your friend, colleague, or loved one for his or her birthday. It is an excellent gift idea because it is something different and because you can turn even a pet into a digital illustration.


As you can see, when it comes to digital portrait illustrations, there are many different styles to choose from, so it’s sure that you will find one that suits your needs. If you want to learn to make these illustrations yourself, start with the basics, and build up your skills from there, or hire a professional to create stunning art for you.

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