Archive for category tutorials

How to learn about color the easy way!

There are a ton of artists out there who are overwhelmed when they try to learn about color. What does Analogous, complimentary, Triad, Monochromatic, Compound color scheme mean? When do I use pure white? Why am I not supposed to use pure black? Questions, questions, questions and too many answers depending on who you ask. So what’s right and what’s wrong?

You can take your time to learn color the proper way from some of these masters:

James Gurney– Master traditional painter. You can buy his award-winning and bestselling book too.

Nathan Fowkes– Color master from Dreamworks and Disney.

Or you could do it the easy way:

If you’re a busy person and you don’t have time to read books or go through tons of blogs and watch video tutorials; This is what I suggest:

Search Google for a AAA movie. Find an image that has the colors you think would match your taste. For example; you could search Terminator 2, Aliens, or Lord of the rings. These movies have multiple professionals working on them. Think about that for a moment. From Concept artist to cinematographer to Director and other people in between. Let them do the work for you.

Now save that image and drag it into Photoshop. From here use the eyedrop tool to color-pick. Over time by using this technique, you will learn about color, even if you don’t know what cadmium yellow looks like.

Photoshop also has a cool feature that lets you embed Kuler so you can use preset color schemes.

That’s it! No go learn!


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Shredder Tutorial

Hey Everyone, I want to share my painting process for The Shredder. I hope some of you will find this useful. I’ve learned throughout the years, that to get better, you first need to learn from as many artists as possible. Never stop learning and always keep challenging yourself. If there comes a point when you start to get too comfortable with your own art, it’s time to shake things up and learn something new. For every character set I do, I give myself a goal; for my 80’s cartoon villains set, my goal was to tighten up my sloppy art and get better at lighting up my characters. I do believe I accomplished my goal of tightening up my art but I know I can still work on my lighting. For my next goal, I will learn to speed up my art by using larger brushstrokes and hinting at detail, instead of putting in all of the actual detail. OK, here we go!

NOTE: Before you start, you should have an idea of what you will paint; concept, theme, and story if applicable. Always have your reference photos, toy models, clay sculptures ready. You’ll waste time by just jumping in.


Step 1: I always start with a black and white sketch. This is the final sketch before I start painting. I use mostly dark grays.  Then I slowly build dark and light values with soft brush.


Step 2: This is as far as I go before I add color and the rest of the details. I use photo reference to get the lighting how I want it. I use a combination of toy models and a photo of a Japanese actor.


Step 3: I add color by using color balance adjustment layer. I play with the mid-tones, shadows and highlights until I get a color scheme that I like. I chose a complimentary color scheme.


Step 4: Details! Here’s the fun part. I use the lasso tool to make those sharp edges on his mask, helmet and eyes. On a separate layer and start laying down scratches on the mask and helmet. I also add wrinkles and pores to shredders skin. I normally use an overlay or soft light layer for that. For the scratches I use a custom brush that is actually meant to be used for animal hair. To get a textured look on the highlight spots, use a textured brush on the dodge tool. For the pores on his skin, I used a photo of Nathan’s face from the Uncharted series and pasted it on top of shredder using a soft light layer and dropping the opacity. I don’t always do this but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted from my brushes. Be creative in the way you meet your results. You won’t always achieve your goal with brushwork. Whatever it takes to get your art the way you want it.


Step 5: More details and glows. I add more scratches and add some floating fire embers along with sweat and cloth textures. I use custom brushes for most of this. I add a color dodge layer and I use a soft round brush to add the blue and orange lights on his face and helmet as well as soft glows on the embers. (Don’t forger about reflections on metal) Now I’m almost done. Now its time to make value adjustments and color adjustments by using the selective color adjustment layer and hue/saturation layer. Then the finishing touches.

Final tip: How to get that cool armor scratch effect? : Lay down some scratches or bumps then select a Bevel & Emboss fx layer style, play with the depth, size and opacity and change the global light to the direction the light is coming from. Don’t overdo it here and be subtle about your approach or the viewer’s eye will be all over the place.


I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me comments. Have a great day everyone!

Don’t forget to buy prints and other goodies from my store.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Shading Light and Form – Basics-proko vid

Hi everyone, if you haven’t already heard of these proko video tutorials, you’re missing out. check him out at his website here. He teaches how to draw a head from any angle and how to draw eyes, lips, nose and other basics. these are really great vids and I urge everyone to watch. its free!

also don’t forget to support Francis Tsai in his fight against ALS by purchasing some of his work here. thanks everyone!

Leave a comment

Braskas final Aeon-wip

Welcome to my tutorial! This is a tribute painting I did for Final Fantasy X. I’ll show you step by step how to start and finish an illustration.

I start with an idea of how I want to place the characters. I know I want the Aeon to tower over Tidus. First I create a new canvas set to 300 Dpi using Photoshop Cs3. I then search the net to look for reference pics on the characters. Once I find what I’m looking for and I start with a rough black and white sketch. I don’t want to worry about the colors yet. In the beginning I focus on composition and values; meaning how dark and light I want the painting to look. I detail the Aons face ( I copy and paste from an in-game image and desaturate it to make this process quicker) and put a blur filter on the fingers up in front. I do this to get the viewer to focus on the face. I will do the same for Tidus near the end. 

Now that I placed  the characters and values how I want them now its time to put in the details. I start with a new layer and add details with a few texture brushes. You can find these brushes anywhere these days. I always work on new layers instead of directly painting over the original if I don’t like what I did.

Now I want to add a reptilian skin texture for the body. I use google and search for  reptile skin . I found a large photo over 2megabytes. Anything lower will give off a  low rez look. I find this one——>

I use the select tool to outline what I want and drag the image into the painting. I desaturate it and placed it where I want it. I use the transform/warp function on top to give it a 3D look.  Then, I softly erase the edges and copy and paste it on more areas of the body. I add more details like the chest marking and bottom armor on a soft light layer mode. I also change the scene to night-time.

I change Tidus’ pose to make it look more proportionate and correct. I set Tidus on a seperate layer. I add the background and add more details on the Aeon. Now I’m ready for color. I start with a single color first. In this case I want a blue and orange color scheme. I open a new layer and paint it all blue with alt/backspace shortcut and set it on the color layer mode. you can also use the paint bucket or any quick way of coloring the image.

I now have over 15 layers active and I sometimes get lost in them. I manage them by sorting them in 4 separate folders: one for the Aeon, one for Tidus, one for the background and a last one for the colors. Now I add a another color layer and use an orange color and paint it over the Aeon and Tidus. I use a few color and soft light layers on top of each other to get the color to become brighter. I used to get frustrated coloring this way until I leaned that It’s ok to use many, many color layers. Sometimes you need to play with them and try different layer modes.

Now on the fun part and the finish! I first blur Tidus a bit using the filter/blur/Gaussian blur option on top. I use the dodge color layer and add these cool glow effects. You need to use a soft brush to apply them. Play with the colors and have fun. I  place a finished illustration by a professional artist next to mine and I compare the values and colors; I found this to be the best way of getting exact colors if you don’t have a professional grade monitor. I finish with 2  new hue/saturation and levels layer mode on top of the image. I adjust according to the image I placed next to mine.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you need clarification or have some questions, please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by =)



Hi there everybody, In this second tutorial I will show you how to create a custom cloud brush in Photoshop. Creating custom brushes is a great way to create your own voice in your paintings.  In this short tutorial, I walk you through my way of creating a brush. Anyone can do it. It’s very simple and it’s only limited by your imagination.  The high rez download is here. If anyone has any suggestions on what they would like to see next or on improvements to the overall tutorial, leave me an email. Thanks for stopping by.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Custom Chain Brush Tutorial

Hi there everybody, I just finished a Tutorial on how to create a custom chain brush in Photoshop. It’s my first tutorial and I hope It’s not too hard to follow. I know that many artists share the same brushes and eventually their paintings become similar and loose their originality. Creating custom brushes is a great way to create your own voice in your paintings.  In this short tutorial, I walk you through my way of creating brushes. Anyone can do it. It’s very simple and it’s only limited by your imagination.  The high rez download is here. If anyone has any suggestions on what they would like to see next or on improvements to the overall tutorial, leave me an email. Thanks for stopping by.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment