Category Archives: Traditional

[Video] 5 Tips for a Better Skin Color Palette

5 tips for better skin color palette header by Chris Legaspi
Skin color is one of my favorite things to paint.  It’s also one of the most requested topics I’ve encountered. The burning question I hear over and over again from students, friends and artists is: “How can I make a good skin color palette?”

Many artists and students struggle with skin color and rightfully so. Color is an incredibly complex animal that is difficult to control and must be handled with care. This is especially true when trying to paint skin color that feels “real”.  Even though color is tough, painting skin can be a lot of fun if you have the right information and the right strategies.

These 5 tips are my thoughts and ideas on the topic of skin color. These tips and strategies I’ve learned through hard earned experience and years of intensive study on color, along with hundreds of hours of painting practice.

Instead of giving you formulas or pre-made skin color palettes, my goal is to teach you how to see color and then show you a process for making your own skin color palette for any situation.

There are 3 main parts to this article. In Part 1, I’ll examine the properties of skin color, or at least how I see skin color at this stage in my painting career. This section will examine what I see when I observe skin and how I simplify the complexity of skin color.

In Part 2, I’ll explore the 5 Tips for mixing and painting better skin color. These are the techniques and strategies that I personally use when I paint.

In Part 3, there are 2 detailed step-by-step painting demonstrations. The first is a study of light skinned male. The second demo is of a dark skinned african female.

A condensed video form of this article , including the first painting demonstration is below.

The second, 1 hour painting demonstration of an African female portrait is available for free on my Private School newsletter page. See image below for the finished painting demonstration.

skin color palette african demo-final

To watch the full 1 hour painting demonstration and get access to even more exclusive content. Simply enter your email below to join.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the 5 Tips and both painting demos, scroll down to read the full article…

PART1 – Properties of Skin Color

Property #1 – Red, Yellow, Blue

There is no such thing as a “skin” color. Skin color is essentially a combination of all 3 primaries: red, yellow and blue. That’s right. Red plus yellow plus blue. Sounds obvious and oversimplified, but allow me to elaborate.

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[VIDEO] Color Course Launch Update

The NEW official launch date for the full version of The Laws of Color Vol. 1 will be Monday, Nov. 9th, 2015. My apologies for the delay, but I wanted to pack in even more content in the Photoshop edition. This is going to be a very special course and will be absolutely worth the wait.

Until the launch, take this sneak peak at the oil painting demo in the video below:

Below are some screen caps from the course in both editions, traditional oil painting and Photoshop.

Traditional Painting 

color course preview screenshots

 

Photoshop Edition

preview_ps01

If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for the free newsletter and get your invite to the private pre-launch. Subscribers will be eligible to get the course on Friday, Nov. 6th, 3 days before the official launch.

To get your advance copy, simply enter your email below and click the blue button to subscribe.

Composition Studies

Studying tonal composition is one of the ways I work on my painting when I’m not at an easel. The practice of observing and recording the world as dark and light shapes trains my eye to not only compose pictures but to simplify the world. This ability to simplify helps me to communicate visually.  Even though these studies are done in pen, and marker, the practice of seeing in dark and light abstract shapes improves my ability to paint in any medium.

composition studies by Chris Legaspi

composition studies by Chris Legaspi

composition studies by Chris Legaspi  composition studies by Chris Legaspi

 

Charcoal Figure Drawing Experiment

I’ve been having a lot of fun with charcoal drawing lately. This figure drawing experiment was done using a combination of techniques and applications like willow sticks and general’s pencils. I also played with the erasing techniques and brushes to get a variety in technique. Besides executing a realistic figure drawing, I also wanted to communicate the emotion I was feeling at the time and tell a story. What emotions or stories come to mind when you see this drawing?

The inspiration came from a photo by Ryan Loco of one of my favorite MMA fighters in the UFC, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Figure drawing in charcoal by Chris Legaspi

Russian Masters Study: Repin and Fechin Drawing

header_repin-fechin-study by Chris Legaspi

In late February, 2015 I began a journey to study Russian Academic drawing. I chose 2 of the most well known masters of the art, Ilya Repin and Nicolai Fechin.  Repin was a 19th century painter who helped to establish a tradition of realist, academic art in Russia and brought Russian art into the mainstream of European and western culture.  Fechin was a painter and sculptor who  moved to America where he became an admired and celebrated artist.

My reason or purpose for studying these Russian masters was to satisfy a curiosity and of course, for the mileage. What I wanted to know was how these men thought and worked. ‘How did they approach head drawing?’ and ‘how did they execute their drawings?’ were the questions I wanted answers to.

In the next 5 weeks, I studied their head drawings almost every day. During that time, I was able to record 2 of the studies (see video below):

To watch Part 2, the study of the reclining female, sign up for my free newsletter below.  Simply enter your email below and click the blue button to get access:

For a detailed breakdown of the month long (36 days!) journey,  read below.

Feb 22, 2015 – Day 1

repin_study01 by Chris Legaspi

I begin this journey by looking at Repin. I have been a fan of Repin for a long, long time. The West Coast / Reilly tradition that I inherited is heavily influenced by Russian academic drawing. So in a way, I was paying homage to the source of everything I had learned and come to love about realist drawing.

At first my goal was simply to observe and understand Repin’s technique and look. I love the way Russian artists draw heads and figures and how they approach form, edges and rendering. They’re use of straights and clearly defined planes is a hallmark of Russian academic drawing and that’s exactly the look I wanted to perfect in my own work.

As you can see in the image above, the first drawing on the left turned out o.k. The drawing on the right was not as successful in my opinion. The lesson I learned here was that it will be extremely difficult to reproduce the effects Repin achieved in his charcoal drawing by using ball point pen which is my current favorite medium.

To stay true to the master, it’s best to use the original medium. But I made a judgement call in the moment and on this day I paid the price for that decision.

Feb 24th – Getting Comfortable

repin_study02 by Chris Legaspi

As a look study, I feel these were successful. The drawings feel close  to the chiseled and hatched look I wanted.  Although the drawings are emotionally flat and lifeless compared to the originals, I was starting to feel comfortable using the pen to match Repin’s charcoal effects.

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Plein-Air Painting Show @ District Gallery L.A.

district gallery show 12/11/14

 

I’m happy to announce my first show in Los Angeles. “Our Town” is dedicated to the Arts District and Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles. I will be showing oils, watercolors and having a sketchbook available for sale. All original, framed art. Also 40% of proceeds go to local non-profits that benefit the arts in Los Angeles. Sake will also be provided. Can’t beat that :).

Opening reception is Thursday, 7pm-10pm at District Gallery. Full details below:

When: Thursday, Dec. 11, 7pm – 10pm

Where: District Gallery, 740 E. Third St., L.A., 90013

Click here for map

district gallery map

Head Painting Workshop @ Art Center College of Design

art center logo

Art Center is one of the top art schools in the country. They are primarily a design school, but they have tremendous Fine Art, Illustration and Entertainment Art programs.

Students have the opportunity to draw and paint a live model at the many figure drawing and painting workshops they organize. These workshops are often led by a professional artist in the industry. The paintings below are from 2 previous workshops I ran this month at Art Center.

alla prima head painting by chris legaspi

“All Prima 10/18/14″, 8″x10”, oil on canvas. From the Saturday night painting workshop, October 18th, 2014.

alla prima head painting by Chris Legaspi

 “John Whipple Alla-prima”, 8″x10″, oil on canvas. From the Saturday Head Painting workshop, October 4th, 2014.

I want to thank Charles Hu (founder of 3 Kicks Art Sudio) for the opportunity. I look forward to teaching more and working with students at Art Center.

30 Day Challenge: Animated Movie Stills

The purpose of this challenge was to copy Animated movie stills for 30 consecutive days.  This challenge was completed during the same time period as the 30 day plein-air challenge.  Needless to say, this was a month of tremendous growth.

The intent behind this exercise was to study the color, design and composition from two of my favorite Animated movies, Kung Fu Panda and Puss in Boots.  Of course I’m a little biased to Puss in Boots because of Nathan Fowkes, who was the lead color stylist for the film, and was also my painting teacher.  In fact, I have to credit Nathan for inspiring me to do this challenge. He always credits his color skills to hours of consistent master studies.

I’ve also described my thought processes, color choices, material choices and general tips below for those who may want to take this challenge themselves. Scroll down to read more about the insights and lessons learned during this month of intensive color studies.

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