Saturday, November 11, 2006


This is a painting I did a while ago. I recorded the screen while painting. I couldn't make it to add an audio track, sorry for that... ^^
This tutorial video is also available on my website, some of you might now it already.

Actually I did a new painting video today...but when I was finished the video file was corrupt T.T
That's why I'm using this old tutorial. It took 1h23min from start to finish.

Most of the time when I'm doing speedpaintings I have absolutely no idea what I'm gonna paint. I just start with a background color, then I start to block in some random shapes. Suddenly I see a character in one of my shapes and I start to add some rough paint strokes to play with the silhouette. But then again the character looks more like a tree or some kind of rock. So I just continue to paint and the image is always changing. This process is really fun.
Robin asked me for some tips and trick so here are some things you should keep in mind while painting.

1. Backgroundcolor
I rarely start with a white canvas. Cause white is the brightest color. If white is already your backgroundcolor, it's often times hard to handle the values in your painting. You can only go darker but you have no option to go into the highlight areas cause you already have the brightest color as your background. So a good thing is to start with a midtone. The color or value of your background is also dependent on your environment. So when I would like to paint something like a forest by daylight I would tend to use a brownish or greenish midtone as a background color. When I paint something dark and cool I start out with a dark blue or gray background.

2. Values
In the foreground you have usually the highest contrast. The darkest darks and the brightest brights. The farther things are away from your viewpoint the lower is the contrast. When you are in the stage where you block in your shapes, keep that in mind.
You will see in the tutorial that the rocks in the background have almost the same value as the sky and the color is only slightly different form each other.
Then again the foreground has a strong contrast with the dark rocks. They pop forward.
Here is an example I just did in 5min.

The decreasing contrast and the decreasing size of the objects gives you a sense of depth in the image. Using grayscales is a great way to study values.

3. Highlights
When you have no experience in using colors, you will notice that you tend to use white for the highlights. But when you observe highlights you will see that they are rarely white. In sunlight for example the highlights are very saturated. That doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to use white highlights, cause metallic objects often have bright white highlights. Just remember that dependent on the material and the lighting highlight colors can vary a lot.
The wooden beam below shows what I mean. The highlight area is a saturated light brown.

4. Start Rough and Fast end Detailed and Slow
When you are painting it is important to keep it rough at the beginning. Work on the whole painting all the time. Don't struggle with details.
In this example I did a painting using a reference photo in about 30min.

Reference Image

Speed Painting

So try to be fast and loose at the beginning. It's harder than it sounds ^^

5. Painting from reference images
As I said in the post before, it helped me a lot painting from reference to understand values, colors and light. I think it is a pretty good way to learn how colors and light work together. An important thing when you paint from reference images is not to pick the colors with the eyedropper tool. Try to see the colors with your own eyes and pick the colors by yourself.
When you pick the colors always ask yourself why you decide to pick this certain color. 'why do you use this dark gray for the skin tone in the shadow' or 'why do you use a saturated orange for the forest ground' etc.
Paint with a time limit around 30min up to one hour. If the painting looks ugly even after an hour don't worry about it, save your work and try to be better next time. The more mistakes you do the more you learn out of them. Number your images so you can always look back and see your progress.

For example:
sp_0001_image title
sp_0002_image title

I did around 30 paintings from reference back in the days. And did some paintings of my own in between using the experience I gained through the reference images. And suddenly I could create moods without using reference images. That was an awesome moment ^^
As long as you practice you will get better and better. Just keep that in mind.

The points I mentioned above helped me improve my painting skills very quickly.
Hope it might help some people out there as well!

And here is the painting I did today. As I said, I did a screen caputre of this one but the capture file was corrupt so no video...sorry T.T

over and out ^^


*tina said...

lovin the speed paints goro=) n thx for posting those tips

afroman said...

those are some excellent tips! nice work as always.

Anonymous said...

wow, that's just what I need, Thanks alot, I watched this tutorial of yours a while ago, still don't know how to exactly go about, you made it seems so easy, good to read all the explaining ^^

Clive said...

Hmmm. Amanita Muscara. Wonder what the robot wants that for? Nice painting as usual and the tutorial was interesting, cheers.

cosmic clown said...

beautiful work.

ALL said...

oh goro! ich war heut in krupunder und da hab ich auch ganz viele fliegenpilze gefunden! toll!

Anonymous said...

great pice of rock´n roll !

Robin said...

Goro, this is an immense help! You've made it quite clear and easy to understand. I can't thank you enough!

I'll keep all this in mind for the next paintings I do and keep practicing. I'm also going to pass this tutorial out to my friends, because there will be a lot of people who find this as helpful as I do.

Some of these tips my teachers have mentioned before, but never really accompanied by examples, so thankyou for that as well!

Unknown said...

Man, no matter what it is you can make your images look so dreamy! Thanks for the tutorial!!

Unknown said...

WOW, Goro!! Thanks for sharing your painting experience. BTW, which software do you use to paint? :)

blabla said...

Thnx! I'm glad you find my tips useful!

anna: cool hab die fotos auch schon auf deiner seite gesehen!

Robin: glad I could help! I hope to see some speedies in your blog soon and if you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask me maybe I can help.

I usually use photoshop. Sometimes I like to paint with open canvas.
But ps is definetly my favorite tool.



spread that knowledge.

davidmaas said...

Thanks for these tips, Goro. Great stuff - even my wife is starting to speed paint!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Superb piccy and neat idea ! Fab work again !

PotatoFarmGirl said...

He is so sweet! Robots are hard to draw, but you make them rock!

Edgar Cardona said...

this was very helpful, you definitely have a talent for painting and making good painting tutorials, I thought it was surprizingly clear and easy to understand.

Matt Berger said...

Wooo, thank's mate for the superb tutorial! Man, I always wondered how to do speedpaints and you have helped me a bunch! This will be my next favorite thing to do beside anatomy studying. Thanks!

Btw, I am sorry about the corrupt video file. I've had a few in my days and they suck. ;[ Cheers!

TheSunCat said...

Thank you !

You're really smart to post something that helpful !

Hope to see some more now ^^ !

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Hi goro,
I am no artist as for drawing or painting (i make music), but people who can draw has always amazed me. And al this beautiful paintings around web makes me anxious to know how to do it. I don't think I have a talent for painting, but I try and see. Your tutorial is nice and helpfull. I just discovered gnomon web page and cdtalk web and through there I got to this page. Wonderfull thing, telling ya. And if you are so new to these things as me, it is so thrilling to see everything. I love art...all kinds. Wanna learn everything :o) I need a 120hour-days. People life time is so short to learn everything they would like to :o)

Anonymous said...

This is great, I didn't see where else I could write so I'm writing here. These tutorials have really helped me get going with painting, and especially speedpainting. I really, would want to thank you, not only for this tutorial, but for everything you have on your site and all the tips you are willing to share. You even having a custom brush set you let people download. It's generous and truly inspires and help people like me to get started painting.

Thank you

Shahir Shakir said...

This is just the thing I needed. You're speedpaints alone have inspired me to improve. Shame about that corrupted video file, would've really been awesome to see how that picture progressed.

richn said...

I find your work very inspiring, such great use of colour. Thanks for the tips, are you thinking of doing any more vid tutorials? I loved the rock stacks and jungle ones, would be great to see more.

You should make a book of your speedpaintings too if you ever get the chance. I'd buy it!


Jay said...

Cheers for the tutorial - really like your stuff on CG talk too

Anonymous said...

GORO!...REALLY NICE :) to get to your web.

From Chile, best regards.

Poli Buttazzoni.

Unknown said...

Superb explanation and good examples! You rock! :)

Anonymous said...

Eifnach nur: Wow!

Unglaublich tolle Arbeiten die du hast, sowohl in 2D als auch in 3D, ein wunderschöner stil!

Und du bist der Mensch hinter den Plus-Werbemaskottchen?! Eine Freundin von mir ist vernarrt in sie ;)

Und deine Tutorials sind absolute Spitze! Digitales malen ist eine Sache die ich noch nicht so draufhabe, ich hoffe das bessert sich jetzt ein wenig! ;)

Also, wirklich: Wow!!

Anonymous said...

good service you do... God blesses

AnimatedTarun said...

Danke Goro, Love your work! :)

Anonymous said...

I would buy it too, if you were to make a book out of your speedpaintings! I come back to your site at times just to sit here in awe.. You're so amazing, honestly one of my few favourite artists ever! I just can't believe how talented you are. And I'm a perfectionist all the way through. You've inspired me to pick up my drawing again as well. Will give you cred if I ever make a name for myself.. ;) Take care and keep on doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

these tips help so much!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the time you've taken to help others Goro. =)

Owen Williams said...

Big thanks for doing this pal, very cool indeed

jakob.bohem said...

This is great! I want to try it! Do you need a WACOM thing or would you just use a mouse? How much is a WACOM nowadays anyway?

Anonymous said...

Very helpful, friend. I have a painting background, but i dont paint for years now. However, im getting back to it with huge passion, and reading this tut certainly motivated me to get back to it in the best way.

ty very much.
From brazil,

Alex Dukal said...

Awesome! I really admire the way you create that atmospheres, the lighting work. But ... wich size are those works?

Regards from Patagonia!


Goro Fujita said...

Thank you guys for your feedback! I'm thinking about doing another tutorial this year. My work flow has changed over the years and my color knowledge got better. So stay tuned!

To answer some of your question.

I use a the smallest wacom intuos4 at home and a 21 cintiq at work.

I used to paint in very low resolution around 800 pixels wide.
Thesedays the computers are way faster and can handle bigger files. At work I work around 4k wide and for speedpaints around 1600 to 2k pixels.

Gregorio De Lauretis said...

Thank you very much .... you are the inspiration for me ..... I hope one day to meet you

Anonymous said...

buenisimo para tenerlo en cuenta

Logan Pearsall said...

When you said you did "around 30 paintings from reference back in the days."... did you mean only 30?... total?... before you got the hang of creating scenes on your own? or did you mean like 30 in one sitting? or......

Just wondering because it seems like an awfully small number of trial attempts before reaching that breakthrough aha! moment. (at least for me it would be).

thanks, man!

Goro Fujita said...

Thanks guys!

I did more than 30 but around 30 paintings I had my first big aha moment. Then I started doing more an more of my personal art. Still learning from reference photos from time to time.

It all depends on the person when you get the aha moments. For some people it comes sooner than for others.
What I found most important is to really analyze the reference images before you even start painting. Otherwise you would just copy what you see without much learning effect.

Nikhita P. said...

Goro, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I really wanted to know your process. I'm a big fan of your work! :) Thanks again, it was very helpful. :)

Alok said...

Hi Goro ,

Ive been a silent stalker of your blog n your work for quite some time now. Even have a wallpaper of your 'Strangers' on my comp.But this post just hit a chord in many a places. I ve been working on my final grad film and had been struggling for ages in realising my idea visually and was having a tough time making paintings that just nail the mood.your tutorial and tips have been a great inspiration.they gave me some real direction.Hope to meet you someday and thank you personally dear friend.
thank you,

Ahmed Zakaria said...

hello ,
i like your work alot amazing i like the sprite of urs , i m a new into digital paing , my name is Ahmed from Egypt i got a bolg :, its about fancy stories and i like to ilustrate now by pc , i like yor article,"Speedpainting " - tips and tricks, and i would like to tranlate it in Arabic and post it on my blog after refering to you ofcours, nothing i can say more than i realy like your article more than your work after read , its honest and clear, thx alot wait for your replay

Jemie Tran said...

Goro, you're a rock expert!!

Eve Skylar said...

Thank you for sharing! I really enjoy your paintings. The worlds you create are beautiful and heartwarming.

mikimomo said...

thank you for sharing, Goro-san.
I always use eyedropper tool whenever I use a reference image, and after I read your post, I feel guilty lol XD. I knew now that it's going to increase our sense for colors, lightings, etc. Awesome!

Liz said...

This is so helpful, thank you!! Your work is inspiring.