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Character Speed Painting

Create a speed painting, focusing on the mood, atmosphere, and depiction of a dynamic character with Mathias Verhasselt.

The speed painting is a colour rough. It’s very useful for creating moods, storyboards, or for proposing different ways to explore an illustration to a client. To achieve a sound workflow, it’s essential to be able to try and compare a lot of different moods and compositions before starting to paint a picture in detail and spending hours on it. Thus, the focus in this exercise is not on detailing or concept accuracy, but more on composition, light and atmosphere.

In this tutorial I’ll show you my own process for creating a colour rough from a couple of hours’ work. Here, as you can see in my picture above, I’m designing a dark fantasy character. It’s essential for this kind of work to pay attention to the light. If your light sources are correctly placed and you have a good idea of the volumes and planes of your subject, you’ll be able to make it solid with only a good silhouette and a few values, and a few details here and there to add some interest to the piece.

Speed painting is not an easy task. It requires a large visual library in your mind and a good understanding of lighting. I recommend that beginners make a lot of studies from life and photos, and try to understand how things work, before trying the exercise themselves. In this tutorial, I’ll try to explain some of the concepts that you need to keep in mind while speed painting.

The software used in this tutorial is Photoshop CS2, but the overall process can easily be used for other software.

From issue 10.

Click here to download the full workshop for free (PDF)
Click here to download the support files (14.82Mb)

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