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Stellar Portrait Artists You Have To Follow On Instagram

Tips Written by McKella Sawyer Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

This probably isn’t news to you, but drawing portraits can be a challenge.

Not only does it take tons of practice to master the actual skill of rendering a realistic human face, there’s also the task of making a portrait memorable and recognizable in your own style.

And it’s the style that makes any portrait a work of art.

One of the best ways to learn about portraiture(or any art skill, really) is to watch other artists who bring a bit of their own style to the table.

We’ve checked out some incredible portrait artists on Instagram with a wide range of styles to browse through.

These artists include oil painters working in the traditional style of the old masters, digital artists drawing stylized characters, high-profile commercial illustrators, and emerging indie concept artists with plenty of others mixed in.

Give it a look-see and try to find some artwork that inspires & amazes.

Trung Bui

Trung Bui is a Vietnamese artist who works in a wide range of styles using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet.

Their stunning digital portraits run the gamut from realism to stylized fantasy portraits, character designs, and the occasional pop culture character.

You can also find some traditional pencil studies in their Instagram account if you look deep enough.

These portraits have a lovely, ethereal mood thanks to a muted palette, and even being digital they achieve a beautiful dry brush texture you’d expect to find in an art museum.


Laura Brouwers

Laura Brouwers draws a variety of portraits including realistic digital studies, portraits of friends or favorite Youtube personalities, cartoon concept sketches, and finished comic panels.

She also draws self-portraits to capture her outfits of the day which is a fun Instagram twist on traditional self-portraits.

While she mostly paints digitally, you’ll also find some of her pencil sketches in her Instagram feed and stories. Speaking of which, you can also follow her travel adventures and kitty in her stories. Thought you oughta know.

While most of her portraits are stylized, Laura demonstrates an expert grasp on proportion in her realistic portraits which allows her to breathe even more life into each piece.


Tara Phillips

Tara Phillips creates stunningly realistic digital fantasy portraits in Photoshop.

She mostly draws gorgeous women and includes occasional pop culture characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, Sherlock, and other popular films TV shows.

This makes a lot of sense because she’s worked with major entertainment companies like LucasFilms and has been featured by tech giants like Adobe.

For the most part, Tara sticks to realistic proportions but sometimes exaggerates the eyes. (And why not? They’re a fun feature to exaggerate!)

She also credits Sailor Moon as an early influence in her work, and it shows!


Tom Bagshaw

Tom Bagshaw is a highly sought-after commercial illustrator based in England who specializes in ethereal fantasy portraits.

His work has been featured by Scholastic, Random House, Sony, the BBC, and many other high profile clients.

He mostly paints powerful, fantastical women using a limited palette, which gives his work a dark, gritty mood that works well with his highly textured brush strokes. His digital paintings also show a gorgeous canvas texture so they look like real oil or acrylic paintings.

After you follow him on Instagram check out his website to read his blog, see more of his work, and get a look at other pieces that have inspired him.


Mel Milton

Mel Milton creates portraits of stylized, quirky women and characters with some realism studies to boot.

He works mostly in pencil, ink, and watercolor, but also creates digital paintings.

He uses a fairly limited palette and bold linework to create movement and attitude in his drawings. His work is a lot of fun because he’s very experimental and isn’t afraid to play with new styles, colors, and materials.


Colleen Barry

Colleen Barry’s beautiful paintings and drawings are reminiscent of old Renaissance masters like Raphael and Michelangelo, but with a slightly modern spin.

Her work has a lovely melancholy to it and feels both traditional and current at once. If you have any interest in traditional portraiture, give her a follow.

Using traditional materials like oil paint, charcoal and graphite, she paints friends and family along with other artists and sometimes self-portraits.

She has apprenticed with several high-profile artists and has received many grants and awards for her incredible portraits and figure work.


Ivan Efimov

If you like bold portraits you’ll love this illustrator’s incredible use of color and dramatic lighting.

Ivan mostly uses Procreate to paint slightly exaggerated digital portraits in pastel or colored pencil styles, often using sparkling or “wet” textures to make his drawings pop off the page.

He’s also mastered facial expressions so if this is an area you’re still working on be sure to check him out!

If you’re a fan of Procreate you can also grab his Procreate brushes, speedpaint videos, and educational art stuff on Gumroad.


Sandra Winther

Based in Norway, Sandra Winther creates brightly colored surreal fantasy portraits of both men and women, including original characters as well as characters from and literature.

Her portraits are dramatic, emotional, and sometimes slightly macabre, which makes for a really cool juxtaposition with the soft beauty of her subjects.

She does a lot of work with Procreate including some custom brushes for other artists.


Julia Razumova

Julia Razumova uses bold colors and high-sheen textures to create portraits that range from airy and dreamlike to almost nightmarish.

Her characters usually have large, expressive eyes with remarkably little detail. But you can see from her more realistic portraits that she has a strong command of proportion and detailing.

In fact, her lack of detail in many of her portraits along with the shiny, sparkling textures contributes to the unsettling mood.

She also makes a lot of custom Procreate brushes if you want to try out some of those in your own work. You’ll find all her stuff right here on Gumroad.


Aneta Fontner-Dorożyńska

Aneta, a Polish illustrator, works in a variety of mediums including pencil, oil paint, brush pen, watercolor, and Photoshop to create her gorgeous portraits.

She uses a muted, limited palette to draw stylized character drawings and celebrity portraits in a fun sketchbook format.

She’s highly skilled in both classical portrait drawing and character stylization you’d expect to find in a Pixar movie.

Her masterful use of line quality is especially impressive because it allows her to create shadow, texture, and expression with very few lines.

Give her a follow!


Syd Mills

Syd Mills creates intricate Procreate portraits set in fantastical, dramatic environments.

Check out her warm palettes and bold colors, incredible lighting, and insane skill at rendering all kinds of hair styles and textures (because that’s one of the hidden challenges of drawing portraits!)

If you love her work you can also find her on Redbubble.


Aleksei Vinogradov

This Procreate artist creates beautifully lifelike portraits that are both realistic and painterly.

On his more realistic portraits he draws attention to the eyes by going all-in with detail on the face, while the hair and background is more abstract and uses rougher brush strokes.

That’s a cool technique you can use in traditional or digital paintings.

Detail puts focus on the face and the eyes especially.

His digital pencil studies are also an excellent lesson in rendering features and texture with minimal strokes.

All in all, Aleksei plays with a lot of different styles, textures, moods, and palettes, so give him a follow and check out his Procreate brushes on Gumroad.


Alexis Franklin

You’ll love these brightly colored portraits that are reminiscent of pop art and traditional portraiture at the same time.

Alexis creates oils-style digital paintings with boldly colored minimalist backgrounds that draw focus to the subject. She really has facial expression figured out and is also a master at rendering clothing on her subjects.

Her page features a wide variety of subjects and people of all ages, genders, and colors, unified by a consistent style and brush quality.

You can also check out her timelapses on YouTube to take a closer look at her process.



The art account @nabfi_art draws beautiful digital paintings of sassy women from all walks of life.

This account features both highly detailed finished portraits and minimalist pencil style drawings with selective detailing around the eyes, which is a fun and unique way to add emphasis to each portrait.

This artist has a good time with the makeup styles of the subjects, which adds a pop of color to an otherwise minimal palette.

Overall you can tell this artist is amazing at rendering skin and hair, facial expressions, hands, and injecting personality in each piece.



This artist creates digital portraits and illustrations, but also posts a lot of pencil and brush pen studies of figures, faces, and facial features.

You’ll find a wide range of styles here from classical realism to manga to stylized and distorted portraits.

This artist also has a delightfully wicked sense of humor. Make sure to check out their Patreon page and contribute if you like their work.

You can also explore their YouTube channel for drawing tips, speedpaint videos, and more.



This South African artist creates digital paintings of women in the style of acrylic and oil paintings.

They use a variety of perspectives, color schemes, and brush strokes to create some very striking pieces.

Some of these are almost photographic with abstract and painterly backgrounds, which is a really cool contrast to see.

Take a minute to scroll through their Instagram account and observe the evolution of their style. It’s really fun to watch different elements emerge over time.



This artist creates realistic pencil portraits and caricatures from life, often posting his drawings alongside their real life subjects.

He also works with charcoal and pastel and draws portraits of children, adults, and seniors alike

He’s clearly a very skilled portrait artist and has a knack for capturing the quirks and personality of each of his subjects.



Jacqueline paints digital portraits of women ranging from highly realistic renderings to stylized portraits with exaggerated eyes.

She experiments with lots of different styles and posts both warm-toned, finished Procreate pieces, as well as sketchbook drawings and studies in pencil.

Enjoy scrolling through her account and be sure to take a look at her stories to watch her digital paintings in process.


Stephen Bauman

Stephen posts realistic classical-style portraits made with traditional materials as well as pastel/charcoal style digital paintings.

You’ll also find some of his process pics in his feed. You can get even more detailed videos with the full process if you become a patron too.

Overall this work is phenomenal. Stephen renders a variety of humans in a variety of mediums, always using a beautiful soft texture that will remind you of a Rembrandt painting.


Rene Gorecki

Here Rene creates photographic digital portraits along with stylized character designs and minimalist pieces with bold brush strokes.

In other words, this artist has some serious range.

Enjoy browsing through their account and their wide-ranging style that shows off a lot of different moods, colors, and portrait perspectives.


Aykut Aydogdu

Aykut specializes in surrealist paintings.

While the main subjects are humans, portraits often include birds, dogs, and objects as well as some level of distortion.

The moods of these pieces run the gamut from dreamy and delicate to sexual or macabre. But no matter how unsettling, you just can’t look away.

Aykut sometimes paints celebrities or movie characters in his own style or puts a surrealist spin on classical art pieces (for example, he’s reworked “Girl With a Pearl Earring” several times).

Aykut is also a commercial illustrator and has designed many movie posters such as the poster for the 2017 film, Valerian.


Alexandra Frantseva

Alexandra works mainly with digital character designs in Photoshop, but she also posts sketchbook pencil drawings, portrait and figure studies, and some landscape drawings.

Some of her character concepts really show off her skill at designing and rendering costumes.

Her account also catalogues her travel adventures so it’s fun to see where her inspiration comes from.

If you’re interested in painting stylized portraits you can also watch her tutorial on Gumroad for even more tips.


Steve Forster

Steve Forster is an instructor at the New York Academy of Art.

He’s a master at capturing mood and subtle expression. In his Instagram account he posts both oil paintings and digital paintings with stunning brushwork and unexpected color pairs.

His paintings feature a variety of beautifully rendered subjects of all ages too.

A lot of his posts are finished pieces, but he also publishes process time lapse videos of his Procreate paintings. It’s fascinating to watch how he creates a detailed portrait by starting with extremely broad colors and working in the details.



While we’re featuring educators, this artist Oliver Sin is a professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

By following his IG account you’ll find traditional style charcoal portraits and pencil studies on toned paper, sometimes pictured alongside their real life subjects.

He also posts an occasional base sketch demo which is extremely informative.

Whether you want to learn traditional or stylized portraiture, it’s worth giving him a follow.


Mandy Jurgens

Mandy creates digital portraits of real-life humans and female cultural icons in a variety of styles, compositions, and colors.

She’s clearly very skilled at portraiture and she also isn’t afraid to experiment.

In her account you’ll find everything from minimalist, monochromatic portraits to charcoal-style studies to brightly colored, blocky renderings.

Portraits are one of the most challenging forms of drawing (and art in general), yet one of the most rewarding to learn.

There are as many different ways to create a portrait as there are artists. Spend some time exploring other artists’ work to see what inspires you as you develop your own style.

And if you’re looking for even more inspiration try browsing Instagram by hashtags. You might be surprised what you find.

Author: McKella Sawyer

McKella is an artist and freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. When she isn't painting or writing for clients she loves to write fiction, travel, and explore the mountains near her home either on foot, horseback, or a mountain bike. You can view her art on Etsy and her writing services at