How to Block Out a Painting

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.6 instructor rating • 13 courses • 674,822 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.

Learn more from the full course

The Ultimate Digital Painting Course - Beginner to Advanced

Everything from drawing fundamentals to professional painting techniques

27:07:40 of on-demand video • Updated May 2021

  • Digital painting techniques
  • Drawing Fundamentals
  • How to create concept art
  • Color theory
  • Character design
  • Photo realistic painting
  • Perspective
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 going to 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 going to go ahead and take my lasso tool with a straight line. And I think I'm going to make this greenish lime color my main color and maybe I'll come out to here. Will make some sort of a shape like this. And I'm going to 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 map like that. You know, I think we can actually even remove a little bit more so. I want these colors to be pretty desaturated. 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 going to 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. The drawing still stays there. Oh, my line, Art. All right, let's go ahead and let's select a color. I'm going to go ahead. Like a killer somewhere around here, maybe a little bit more saturated, but I don't want it completely saturated and I'm going to bring the darkness down a little bit as well. See how this looks. Now, we can try out a few different colors like that. Actually looks pretty good, maybe a little bit darker, maybe a little bit more desaturated. Perfect. All right, let's go ahead and let's fill this in now. All right, great, if 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 and maps. 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 don't want to get too detailed because we're just blocking in our main colors. You can just put that at the top surface, something maybe more like this. All right, great. Let's go ahead and move on. So now let's go ahead and let's paint in the pot. So for the pilots, select an orange color from our game. It mask select. Some are right in here between the orange and the yellow area. It's pretty desaturated, which is what we want. Let's go ahead and darken that a little bit, see how this looks next to it. I think that could be a little tiny, bit darker. Maybe we can come back and win 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 going to go ahead and take my color. And just drag it straight up so it's a little bit lighter, so I'm 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 because it'd probably be getting more of a highlight on it. That now let's go ahead and let's reselect this color, our original color, and let's go ahead and darken that a little bit, what we can do is we can kind of shade in 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. That's. You 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 all the shading and stuff like that because it looks pretty flat and 2D 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 way. We can block out color so next week we can block out colors. Let's go ahead and 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 above our drawing and so are drawn in this case would just be used more like a guideline drawing rather than over here where it's 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 desaturated. Something like that, maybe a little bit more Derg. I think that's better. So let's go ahead and 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, actually color pick from here. So maybe a light sort of grayish yellow like that. Let's see what that looks like. We might need a dark, but a little bit darker in that. Just a tiny bit to drag it down a little bit. And let's use that as our highlight. So the light source is coming down from the top like that. It's just 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 or anything like that. All right, great. And then we can also go ahead and 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 when you're doing the blackout phase, you just want to keep it really loose. Really simple, a cast shadow underneath each one of these. Something like that. And then we can go ahead and select a color for these blossoms on top of the cactus, I'm going to select a desaturated sort of pink color. Somewhere right 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. So I'm going to come over here to my orange colors and keep this kind of desaturated. So maybe somewhere right about there. Let's drop that down. So it's nice and dark. See how that looks? I think it could be a little bit darker. Painting 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 would take this painting even further and finish it off. For the color of my pot, I'm going to go ahead, I'm going to select this color right here, I'm going to desaturate that a little bit more, maybe drag it more into the Reds a little bit maybe. Let's darken 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 part. All right, then, let's go ahead and what's the 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 reselect this darker color feel in this area and here. And then we could darken that a little bit. Shoot a little bit of shadow in their. Also, it's a little of a shadow underneath this ledge. Cool. Let's actually work on this cactus just a tiny bit more. So we're going to select the screen here, just kind of clean some of this up a little bit. Evy, finish off some of these shadows a bit more. All right, great. So now what we can do is we could take the drawing of this cactus if we wanted and we could just go ahead. Let's just delete it out. So to select it and hit delete. And I can see we're left with this right here. And that would be the beginnings of a painting. So we would just block our colors on top of our sketch 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'm going to go ahead and I'm going 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 needs 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, we're just trying to get those shapes and colors in there and we can drop it down a little bit in darkness. Maybe it gets a little bit darker down towards the bottom that. And it's like this light blue and maybe we get these kind of highlighted edges along the edge of our Paul, something like that, except for down here on the bottom because it's sitting on the ground. Then we can go ahead and do the top surface or select a slate blue again. I'm just going to sketch out the top of our pot like this. Right. Let me go ahead and select this dirt color average or maybe desaturate a little bit more, bringing it up. So when my dirt color. And actually, I want to go ahead and reflect this midterm blue, I'm going to paint an edge in here because the pot, just like on this one, has an edge right there. I could grab some of this darker color shade that in like that. Reselected Brown, keep filling that in. All right, let's go ahead. Paint the cactus, so for the cactus, I'm just going to go ahead and select the same color over here for that little cactus, and I can just start paying that and maybe I'll desaturate that a little bit more. Brush size up, if I remember correctly, we just had one storm 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. And maybe 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 race 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. Locking it up a little bit more, bring it 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. You said a little bit of lay on that dirt, maybe even a little bit more saturated, a little bit brighter. Something like that. Maybe we could add some of the saturation over here on this 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 in first in 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, either way you do it, you want to make sure that you start with colors and your values and make sure you have all that blocked out. And it looks good before you start adding detail, because once you start adding detail, it's going to 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 one.