How to Block Out a Painting

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 653,961 students

Lecture description

The first step with all paintings after you draw your sketch is to block out your colors and values. There are different ways of doing this and in this lecture you will learn about all of them. Sometimes you want to block out your painting under your sketch and other times you will wont to block it out on top of your sketch.

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27:07:40 of on-demand video • Updated September 2020

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English [Auto] In this lecture we're going to be learning how to do what's called blocking out your painting. Now there's a few ways that we can do this and we're gonna cover those ways. So the first thing we can do is we can have a drawing and we can block out the colors behind that drawing. Now we've already kind of done this in this course. But let's go ahead and review it again. So before we do that let's go ahead and let's create a color palette or at least create a gamut map so that way we know what colors we can use in this painting. So I'm just gonna go ahead and take my lasso tool with a straight line and I think I'm gonna make this greenish lime color my main color and maybe I'll come out here you'll make some sort of a kite shape like this and then I'm gonna go ahead and invert that selection. Now you can download this whole file that I have here and it has the this color circle in it and everything and then we can just go ahead and delete everything on the outside of that. So we're left with a game map like that. You know I think we can actually even remove a little bit more so I want these colors to be pretty de saturated all right. Great. So now let's go ahead and let's start painting. So I'm going to make a layer between my background and this layer that has the cactuses on it. So we're just gonna put it right there that we can paint underneath my drawing. So you'll see if I switch over to my brush and I select a green I can paint right underneath that drawing and the drawing still stays there all my line art. All right let's go ahead and look select a color or something. Go ahead select a color somewhere around here maybe a little bit more saturated but I don't want it completely saturated and I'm gonna bring the darkness down a little bit as well. See how this looks. Now we can try it a few different colors like that actually looks pretty good. Maybe a little bit darker maybe a little bit more D saturated. Perfect. All right let's go ahead and let's fill this in now. All right great. We wanted to we could even go ahead and drag this down more into the yellows maybe make a little bit more saturated. We should actually pick this from our game and map. So maybe we'll pick it from somewhere right there and I could kind of paint in a highlight like this if I wanted to. We do want to get too detailed because they're just blocking in our main colors. We'll just put that at the top surface something maybe more like this. All right great. Go ahead move on. So now let's go ahead and let's paint in the pot. So for the pot let's select an orange color so from our game it mask select some are right in here between the orange and the yellow area. It's pretty saturated which is what we want. Let's go ahead and darken that a little bit see how this looks next to it. Think that could be a little tiny bit darker maybe we can come back and line some of this up I'm going to go ahead and fill in the main part of the pot. I'm going to go ahead and paint a lighter surface on this top part of the pot. So I'm gonna go ahead and take my color and just drag it straight up. It's a little bit lighter so not changing the saturation but I'm just changing the lightness of it. I'm going to fill in this top surface of the pot it probably getting more of a highlight on it that then let's go ahead and let's re select this color. Our original pot color and let's go ahead and darken that a little bit. What we can do is we can kind of shade and a little bit of shading on the inside of the pot here and we can also take this color and let's go ahead and let's add a little shadow right underneath this ledge cast shadow to get a little bit more of a curve into that. All right great. So there we go. That's one way to block in your colors from here you could go ahead and you could really start detailing out all the shading and stuff like that because it looks pretty flat and and cartoony right now which that might be what you want but either way whether this is going to be a realistic painting or a cartoon type painting you want to block out your main colors first and then from there start adding highlights and shadows and blending and smoothing all that detail out. All right let's go ahead and move on to the next where we can block out colors. So the next way you can block out color is let's go ahead let's select something from over here. Something like that and let's darken that quite a bit and what we can do is we can go ahead and let's just add a new layer above our drawing layer so that way when we paint it actually shows up above our drawing and sword drawn. In this case would just be used more like a guideline drawing rather than over here words an actual line drawing that's going to be part of the illustration. So let's go ahead and let's start painting in so I'm just going to start by filling all of these in now. I think I actually want this a little bit more D saturated something like that. Maybe a little bit more dark. I think that's better. So let's go ahead. Let's paint in all of these spheres. All right great. Now we can go ahead. Let's go ahead and lighten this color a little bit. We'll actually color pick from here so maybe a light sort of grayish yellow like that. Let's see what that looks like when you might need a dark note a little bit dark in that just a tiny bit. So drag it down a little bit. Let's use that as our highlight. So the light source is coming down from the top like that. She's going to basically be hitting all these like a sphere this is just blocking it out. So we don't have to get crazy detailed about it. Ernie thing like that. All right great. And then we can also go ahead let's select our original green and let's darken that a little bit and then we can go in here and we can shade out a little bit of shading on the bottom of these. And right now we're just blocking it out. So just remember that always keep that in mind that when you're doing the blackout phase you just want to keep it really loose really simple cash out on underneath each one of these something like that and then we can go ahead let's select a color for these blossoms on top of the cactus Simona select a saturated sort of pink color summer. There maybe a little bit more towards the peach colors something like that. See how that looks. That looks pretty good. I like that. So let's go ahead and paint those in. Just blocking them out just keeping it nice and simple. We can always come back and clean up our blocked out paintings. This is just a time to really select your colors and decide what you want everything to look like right now let's go ahead. Let's go ahead and let's select a brown someone to come over here and my orange colors and keep this kind of de saturated. So maybe some are right about there. Let's drop that down so it's nice and dark. So that looks I mean you could be a little bit darker painted that dirt and again like I said it's not super important if you keep it super clean or anything like that because you can see the dirt is going over these cactus spheres if you wanted to you could fix it up and just take some of that green paint it back over it. But it's not that big of a deal we're just blocking things out and then you'd take this painting even further and finish it off for the color of my pot. Go ahead and select this color right here. I'm going to saturate that a little bit more maybe drag it more into the Reds a little bit maybe let's darken it just a tiny bit see how that looks. All right. That's a cool color. Let's go with that color. So now we can start blocking out this pot all right then let's go ahead and what's light in this color a little bit maybe drag it up a little bit more towards the oranges. So it has a little bit of a warmth and we can go and block in this top surface of the pot. Now let's re select this darker color. Fill in this area in here and then we can darken that a little bit. Shade and a little bit of shadow in there. Also let's add a little a shadow underneath this ledge too. Let's actually work on this cactus just a tiny bit more seriousness like this green here just kind of clean some of this up a little bit. Maybe finish off some of these shadows a bit more. All right great. So now what we can do is we can take the drawing of this cactus if we wanted and we could just go ahead. Let's just delete it out. So just select it and hit delete. Now you can see we're left with this right here. And that would be the beginnings of a painting. So we would just block out our colors on top of our scattered drawing or whatever. Now the last thing we can do is basically what we just barely did. But the difference is that we would do it without a drawing. So I have a drawing here just so you can see what the cactus is supposed to look like. Let's go ahead and let's delete this and let's just go ahead and paint it without it. So I want to go ahead and I want to pick a bluish color for the pot and I'm going to start with that. So I want it to be a saturated as possible. Something like that looks good. And then I want to make sure that I'm drawing on this painting layer. Let's go ahead and begin drawing. So I had a pot. It's kind of shaped upwards like this and let's go ahead and darken this a little bit I think this pot needs to be a little bit darker and this can be really messy. We don't have to get super detailed about this just keep it nice and simple or just try and get those shapes and colors in there. Now we can drop it down a little bit in darkness. Maybe it gets a little bit darker down towards the bottom. That and or it's like this light blue and maybe we get these kind of highlighted edges on the edge over pull something like that. Except for down here on the bottom because it's sitting on the ground then we can go ahead and get the top surface or select slightly slate blue again. I'm just going to sketch out the top of our pot like this right. Go ahead it's like this dirt color. Have a ray or maybe de saturate a little bit more. Bring it up still in my dirt color and actually when I go Henrys like this midtown blue I'm going to paint an edge in here because the pot just like on this one has an edge right there. You could grab some of this darker color shade that and like that. You select this brown keep filling that in all right. Go and paint the cactus. So for the cactus I'm just gonna go ahead preselect the same color have or here for that little cactus and I can just start paying that and maybe I'll de saturate that a little bit more and brush size up. If I remember correctly we just had one stem coming up like this. You came all the way down into the pot. You couldn't see the actual bottom of the cactus and I think I had one little guy like this another little guy like that. I mean they'll darken this a little bit darken up down here towards the base of the cactus maybe darken the underside of these arms. All right then let's go ahead. Let's lighten this up a little bit maybe drag it whoops like that color lighten it up a little bit bring more towards the yellows we can paint and highlight and some of these cactus lines coming down like it up a little bit more bringing down more towards the yellows maybe saturate a little bit more to maybe we could even select this brown dirt bring it a little bit more saturated just a tiny bit bring it up more into the yellows and brighten it a little bit said a little bit of highlight on that dirt maybe you know a little bit more saturated and a little bit brighter something like that could add some of the saturation over here on this dirt as well but there you go. So those are three ways you can block in your basic colors and when you're going to be painting with color it's always important that you block your colors and first and your values before you start adding detail that's going to be the first step after your drawing and if you're not drawing if you do it the way I did this cactus right here where you just go straight into it without drawing. That's fine too but just remember it either way you do it. You want to make sure that you start with the colors and your values and make sure you have all of that blocked out and it looks good before you start adding detail because once you start adding detail it's gonna be very hard to go back and change those values and change those colors. Thanks for watching this lecture and I'll see you guys in the next 1.