Benedict cumberbatch oil painting

Benedict Cumberbatch Vincent van Gogh painting

Not really a tutorial, just on a roll with the Photoshop oil painting technique. This time, I’ll be painting everything from scratch, only using reference material for colours and what not. I choose Benedict Cumberbatch as I thought he looked a bit like Vincent Van Gogh. Scroll down to see the video and still image.

Little did I know before I painted this that Benedict Cumberbatch has already played Vincent, Dam! I should have searched the internet before I started. I wanted something that had not been done before. There’s me thinking I was the only one who thought he looked like Van Gogh. Oh well, better luck next time.

Painting Benedict in photoshop

I’m still learning how to do oil painting in Photoshop. Normally I use ps for web and graphic design. I used a few brushes that I downloaded somewhere on the net. Search realistic brushes in Photoshop, you should find tons of free brushes. As it turned out I only used one brush for the whole thing.

What you need

I used a reference painting from Vincent called “Self-portrait with bandaged ear” painted in 1889. Also a photograph of Benedict in a coat as it matched the painting, or its the best one I could find on google images.

benedict cumberbatch van gogh

Painting Benedict as Vincent Van Gogh

Oil painting how is it done?

Its quite easy, if time consuming to re-create all the little brush stokes. He used rhythmic brush strokes that are tightly arranged as some points and used loosely at others. Given the amount of work he produced before his death, he must have worked really quickly.

The basic technique is to paint over the top of the image. I selected a colour, created a new layer and bashed in paint strokes. I did this over and over, to build up paint layers. I tried to do this as quickly as I could, without thinking too much to create that rhythmic feel.

I also tried to clone in brush marks, but I don’t think this a good idea. Its better to keep each brush stroke unique to stop it looking like a clone.

To speed up the process I merged paint layers as I went along. Also at the end, I duplicate the finished painting and sharpen the hell out of it to make the brush strokes have more depth.

Painting in action


If I spent more time on the painting it would look less cartoon like. The black edges need more depth and colour. The face needs more shades and depth. Overall I’m happy with the result. Drop me an email if you want to know more.

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Get me to do the oil painting for you

If you don’t have time to do your own oil painting in photoshop then you can hire me to do it for you. I now offer this as a service, but be warned it’s not cheap. It can take well over 5 hrs work to create the oil painting effect.

I’ve proved that it’s not that difficult but it does take time. Cost depends on your picture, the more complex the more it costs. I generally charge around £250-£300 for a print-ready piece of artwork.

If you are interested you’ll need

  • A high resolution photograph (nothing shot on your mobile phone)
  • A well lit photograph
  • A head a shoulder shot

Feel free to contact me to talk about your project.

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  • Amazing work! Inspiring

    May 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm