[VIDEO] Limited Palette Color Sketching

One of the most successful American artists working in the 1970s and 1980s was David Grove.  He painted movie posters for blockbuster films and illustrated covers for best selling books.  Almost every major studio and publisher including Disney, Fox, MGM and Warner Bros. wanted to hire David Grove. He was living every artists dream, making a lot of money to draw and paint what he loved, and having millions of people love and admire his work.

david grove movie poster art low

David’s work was well crafted and of the highest quality, but it also had a unique look. One of the things that made his work special, besides his excellent drawing skills, was the way he used color. He used a very simple and powerful strategy and technique. This technique is so simple that it has become a mystery to most of the art world.

Today I’m going to reveal that mystery to you, which is the topic of this week’s color lesson and demonstration…

Using a 2 Color Limited Palette

For this lesson, we’re going to start with two of David Grove’s favorite colors: Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue. Burnt Sienna is another earth tone like Burnt Umber but is more orange and more saturated. Ultramarine Blue is “cool” color that is part blue with a little bit of violet.

These colors are what’s known as complimentary colors. Which means they are on opposite sides of the color wheel.

color wheel, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue

I don’t want to get too technical here, so if you want a more information, see this video on the properties of color.  The important thing to know about these colors is that they look great together! Especially when used correctly.

In this video demonstration below you can see using a limited palette of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue on a series of figure sketches. In the video I also talk about the importance of knowing when and and where to use more warms colors (more Burnt Sienna), and when and where to use mostly “cool” colors (more blue). And of course, when and where to use them together is pretty important too. To see a limited palette in action, check the video below…

PART 1 – 5 Minute Poses

PART 2 – 10 Minute Pose

part 2 video thumbnail

Part 2 of this video series and the full article with process images are available exclusively to subscribers of my monthly Newsletter, Private School. Subscribers will not only get access to exclusive videos, but other great content like handouts, reference images and more. To watch Part 2 and access past archives of the Newsletter, enter your email below and click the blue button to join…


[VIDEO] Life Drawing Exercise #3

10 minute figure drawing pose by chris legaspi

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I didn’t become a professional in the entertainment industry right away. It took some time before I got my first opportunity. One of the early successes I had was getting an art test and interview for a character designer position at Nickelodeon Studios. I didn’t get the job at Nickelodeon (I got my first break in video games instead), but I knew that being picked as a finalist for such a high profile position was an accomplishment. Especially considering I had no college degree, no contacts and had only been in Los Angeles a few months.

Even though I didn’t get the job, I knew my portfolio was strong enough to get noticed, and the one skill that got me that interview was good old figure drawing. There is no substitute for excellent drawing fundamentals and figure drawing is the fastest way to get good drawing skills. Especially if you want to work in animation, excellent figure drawing is required.

This month’s content is a video recording and process breakdown of a recent life drawing exercise. For this exercise, I used graphite pencil and ordinary printer paper. The materials don’t sound very exciting, but that’s the point. I wanted to show that with ordinary, common tools like graphite pencils and plain paper, magic can be made. All an artist needs are good fundamentals, a reliable process and a few useful techniques which you’ll see and read about here.

PART 1 – 1 minute & 2 Minute Poses

PART 2 – 5 minute & 10 minute poses

life drawing demonstration thumbnail

To watch Part 2 and to read the full article with process images, subscribe to my free Newsletter, Private School. Subscribers will not only get access to Part 2 video, but you’ll get access to more of my tips, tricks and insider knowledge that I used to become a professional artist and successful illustrator in Hollywood. Enter your email below and click “get updates” to join….


Below are the drawings from this life drawings exercise, graphite on paper.life drawing, 1 minute poses by chris legaspi 

1 minute poses

life drawing, 2 minute poses by chris legaspi

2 minute poses

life drawing, 5 minute poses by chris legaspi

5 minute poses