- Lesson details
Instructor Chris Legaspi shares various ways to render your drawings and paintings, using a variety of different materials. Chris uses his approachable, thorough teaching style to make the often-intimidating rendering stage accessible to artists of all levels. In this lesson, he shows the ease with which you can “draw” with paint. As he pushes and removes his medium around with paper towel, treating the thick oil paint a lot like charcoal, you’ll learn that oil paints aren’t as daunting as they seem. Chris does two demonstrations from reference, of a hand and a male head. Find the references attached to this page.
- Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors – Burnt Umber
- Viva Paper Towels
- Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits
- Robert Simmons Signet Brushes
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Now we’re going to get into something new.
We’re actually going to oil paint today.
Don’t get too intimidated.
We’re only going to use burnt umber.
We’re going to use a very cool and fun technique.
We’re going to paint with oil and use paper towel and solvent to get our lights and our
It’s exactly like drawing.
Don’t worry if you’ve never painted.
Don’t be scared.
If you have painted, this might be familiar.
The exact same processes apply.
The exact same drawing principles apply, of course.
We’re going to focus on the exact same things, value, shape, and edge, of course, to begin
the rendering process.
Then we’ll talk about how you can take your burnt umber painting, burnt umber rub out
sketches to a further level.
If you’re ready to get started, let’s begin.
If you haven’t painted, don’t get scared.
That’s why I wanted to demonstrate this technique.
You only need one color, and it’s exactly like drawings.
Don’t be scared.
I’m with you.
The things you’re going to need besides obvious canvas and brushes and palette is—well,
first, the color is burnt umber.
Mine is a little, well, I’m a painter so I’ve got paint on it.
I like Gamblin, Winsor & Newton.
Those are the common art store brands.
I wouldn’t go any lower than those two, for sure.
Gamblin and Winsor & Newton, they’re a mid-grade, upper mid-grade.
I wouldn’t go below them in terms of quality.
This is fairly inexpensive color.
It’s a Series I, which means its inexpensive.
What we’re going to do is use paper towel to actually, we’re going to glaze, we’re
basically going to use this like sort of a charcoal or graphite.
We’re going to coat our canvas with a nice wash of this, and we’ll use paper towel
to rub it out, and I’ll also have the Gamsol, which is a solvent.
I just put my Gamsol in a little container like this.
It’s a little, it’s called a brush washer.
Any old jar will do.
You’re going to need burnt umber.
You’re going to need some Gamsol.
You’ll need a paper towel.
I’ll show you how that works in a moment.
I’m going to use bristle brushes for this.
I’m going to do a little demonstration here.
Let’s say we have our little canvas.
What I do is I tone it with some white, the burnt umber.
Do you see how you can get a nice tone if you wipe it?
If you want a little bit darker you can just put it on there a little bit thicker, just
use less—use more paint.
This one has more solvent.
This one has more paint.
You can just layer it.
One thing you could also do is just let it dry if you want a really dark brown.
For this exercise we don’t need that.
What we want to do is just kill the white so we’re basically working on toned paper.
That’s basically what we’re doing.
And you see how it works just like drawing.
You can get a gradation.
You can just kind of hatch a gradation.
You can kind of rub it out to get the lighter tones.
Do you see that?
If you want even darker, you get pure paint at the top.
That’s how we do a gradation.
It’s exactly like drawing, only one color.
Don’t get worried.
What I’m going to do here is do a little form demo,
so you want to tone your whole canvas.
That’s what we’re going to do here in these other demonstrations.
Let’s say you have your form.
I’m going to draw a simple sphere, a go-to sphere.
You have your drawing.
This looks just like our drawing stages.
Once you have some paint on there you can take your brush and just kind of smudge it
all over the place just like you would do with charcoal or your colored pencil.
Then whatever you want to pick out.
Make it brighter.
Use your paper towel.
These are Vivas.
Vivas are the best paper towel for this.
They’re very cloth-like.
It’s really cool.
Be sure you get Vivas.
Finally, to get…let me make sure my brush is nice and dry so I can get these half-tones.
And to get the bright highlight you dip your cloth back into the solvent just a little bit.
Get a little corner of it.
Then, boop, a little bit of the solvent.
You see how it lifts more of the paint so you can get the bright highlight.
That’s how we do our values.
Dry part of the cloth and soften the edge.
That’s pretty much it.
Pretty much it for our rendering.
You can see we can do a lot with just one color, the burnt umber.
It’s one of my favorite techniques.
Alright, so for the demonstrations, I’m only going to do two demonstrations because
only takes so long.
We can spend all day refining it, so let’s start with our first demonstration.
This one is of a hand, a nice simple form.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to coat the canvas real quick, so I’m going to mix
a little bit of the paint with a little bit of thinner.
It’s fairly thin.
I’m going to use paper towels to kind of smush it around.
Keep it fairly dry.
You don’t have to.
You actually don’t even have to wipe it.
Now I’m going to do my drawing.
For the drawing, I’m going to be very conservative with the marks.
I’m just going to put a couple of hatch marks where the key corners of the forms are.
That’s a tricky gesture.
It’s so cool.
You can erase just like pencil.
You can totally erase.
Now you can see why if you went through the previous lessons with the charcoal pencil,
now you can see why this is useless.
Remember, this is how we hold our charcoal pencil.
Typically, you hold your brush like this.
When you’re drawing it should be okay.
You want to do this when you do strokes, but this is more of a drawing exercise than it
is a painting exercise.
I’m ready to block in the shadow.
I’m going to go fairly thin.
The cool thing about oils is that you can get the core shadow
transitions really, really well.
If you’ve never painted before, it’s a really cool sensation because you can move,
you know, paint just sits on the surface.
You can move it around fairly easily.
Dark accent there.
Alright, this is exactly like our drawing stages, right?
Now I can come in and start to blend a little bit.
See how you can just drag the paint over?
Over here it’s going to have a really nice bright highlight.
I’m grabbing a little bit of paint.
It’s fairly thin.
Then I’m going to start to do these little half-tones.
I want to set up the lights here so I need some tone to do that.
It’s just like drawing.
Just like drawing.
If you draw you will really have fun with this exercise.
Adding a little bit thicker paint to reinforce the core shadow area.
See how this is still a little rough.
We can take this, smooth it out.
I saw the feeling.
This is exactly like charcoal now.
Trying to get that tendon of the knuckle to read.
It’s a really cool detail, trying my best to bring it out.
A little bit more tone at the wrist.
I know that at any point I can wipe these tones down.
You can almost wipe any part of the drawing, actually.
This is still fairly wet, too.
It’s been thinned out by the medium.
It’s still fairly wet.
This one feels a little too bright.
You can even get a smaller brush if you want to do some blending and detail work.
Right now I’m using the big crude brush, which is cool.
I like starting with this brush because it forces me to think in big shapes.
Look at what I’m doing here—we’re starting to get into the smaller forms using the paint.
Creating a little half-tone little ball.
Add some of the wrinkles in the wrist.
Pick out that highlight.
This form needs to be re-drawn.
Just wipe it up.
You can see you have a lot of flexibility with just the paint because you’re able
to wipe it down, wipe it up.
You’re basically erasing it.
I told you this was like drawing.
I hope you weren’t too intimidated.
Too thin paint, starting to lift off here.
Add a little paint.
Now it’s starting to dry.
I can feel it.
We won’t be able to smudge it around as well without adding solvent first.
Yeah, that area started to dry right here.
The area got a little too wet, too much solvent.
Added too much solvent on my brush so the area got wet.
Okay, there we go.
The paint is starting to stick again.
I like the tones happening here, but the temperature is a little off now.
You can see that this one got much, much warmer, so I want to try to get some of that warmth
I know I’m going to lot of detail work I just did.
We can find it.
We’ll find it.
Let me smooth this out.
I’ve got a nice smooth tone.
I’ll just refine the drawing. It’s no big deal.
There is a lot of medium on this surface so it’s harder for me to blend until it
gets a little bit drier.
I’d like to get more of these details in the wrist.
I’m going to erase that.
Go back to finding the small forms.
Okay, now I’m liking that.
Okay, so now hopefully the paint is a little bit drier.
He we go.
A little bit drier now.
Start to soften that core shadow.
A little bit of gradation there.
Let’s get back to the smaller forms that we had previously.
Let me get back this core shadow too.
Now that the paint is a little bit drier in this area, it’s a lot easier to control now.
Before it was so wet.
I put a little too much solvent down on my palette there.
It’s hard to judge the paint.
Let me smooth this out.
Here I want to set the highlight.
It’s pretty much what I’m doing right now.
I’m trying to set up the glow-y highlight, kind of like what
we have on our little ball there.
Need the right base because that’ll be the last piece of this rendering, or this beginning
of the rendering anyway is the highlight.
We’re at a pretty good stage here.
Let me see if I can add that knuckle.
That looks pretty cool, adding that smaller, subtler form.
That vein right there.
Let me add some beautiful, sharp, cast shadow edge right there.
Tough angle for me so I might have to but my head in the frame.
So forgive me if my head is in there.
Okay, so now let’s pick out some highlights.
First let’s get this—let me put my brush down.
Let’s get this guy.
Let’s get this guy.
Let’s see if we can pick up, because the brightest is here.
That’s already dry.
What we need to do is we’re going to use solvent in this area.
Here I can use just the paper towel on this one, starting to dry too.
We kind of like that.
To get that highlight in that vein back there, that just looks so cool.
Okay, now let me get my solvent.
Dip my paper towel in some solvent.
Now we can really lift off the paint that was there.
We’ve got to be careful.
We don’t want too much solvent, because we don’t lift up all of it, just the strong
highlight, the bright highlight.
So, they’re really liking that.
That looks cool.
It looks like a cool little drawing.
It looks like a cool earth tone drawing.
It is, essentially.
All painting really is, painting is really just colored drawing.
That’s the way I look at it.
I’m also a draftsman.
I’m a draftsman first, meaning I like to draw more than anything else.
Draftsmen are people who like to draw.
We brush the highlights now.
When this dries a little bit, I’ll be able to blend it with a dry brush.
I can probably do that now.
Let me see if I have a little bit of a softer brush.
It might still be too wet.
Yeah, still a little too wet to blend the work I just did.
This is just like drawing.
We take a stump and we blend and we blend and we blend, soften our edges,
soften our work.
Yeah, that’s pretty much—all we need to do is continue adding the smaller highlights
and darkening the core shadow.
It’s already pretty dark in the right areas.
Let me see if I can get this accent here, this knuckle or this vein.
It’s such a cool shape.
I want to get that.
I just did that just for fun.
There you go.
When these dry the temperature will correct itself.
We’ll see one more touch on the finger.
Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Then what I’ll do here, let me see if this will work.
It might be too dry.
Oh no, it’s fine.
I thought this was too dry.
Pick out a—it looks cool, huh?
It’s just like you’re erasing some charcoal being able to lift off like that.
That’s why I like this method.
You’re able to pretty much draw with oil paint.
And because it’s one color, you don’t have to worry about color.
You just worry about the value.
The drawing problem, right.
Get that contour, make sure it’s nice and tight.
There you go.
Got a knuckle.
Alright, so that’s the end of this little demo.
Let’s move on to the next example.
There are a couple of ways to tone.
You can just put some wet paint on here and wipe it dry, or you
can put your paint on thickly and use a paper towel that has a solvent.
Give myself a nice coat here.
It’s probably best if you’re doing these at home, give it about a minute to dry.
Otherwise, it’ll be very hard to control.
But, for this example, it’s okay.
I’ll show you how to handle a more complex subject.
Just like drawing, block in.
You’ve seen this before many times.
Typically, for painting you want to be fairly conservative with the drawing.
If you’re going to do a detail drawing, which you can, and many artists do, is they
draw in pencil right on the canvas and then they use
a matte medium.
They put a thin coat of acrylic on top to lock the drawing—gel medium, that medium.
He has a small light shape in his eye.
I’m not sure if I can get it.
These tools are fairly big.
My brush is quite big for such a small painting.
You know, like I said, you kind of want to do this at first.
This is a number 4 flat.
And rounds—actually I prefer to draw with rounds, but flats are good for covering bigger
surfaces like this.
This lapel, this fabric is fairly bright, so it’ll be a good place to put the highlight.
What do you think?
I’m starting to see—you can put that glow right there.
This one is fairly wet down here.
Now I’m going to dry my brush a little bit because I want to try to do these half-tones
without losing too much of the drawing.
It’s probably a losing battle.
We take a little bit of paint and then wipe my canvas.
I’ve got that excess Gamsol off the canvas.
Take a little bit of paint and then just go on the border and smudge it over just like
we do with charcoal.
Create that beautiful half-tone.
Really, really nice.
Here you could see where this could end up.
Let’s do this head, actually.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to smudge some tone here.
Some paint, excuse me.
Same thing, tone—in the case of burnt umber.
The smudge it with my towel while it’s still dry, and then come back, more paint for the
dark part where his forehead turns away and turns into the bandana.
Do you see that?
We get that beautiful tone.
Again, for me, I love mediums where you can get beautiful half-tones like this quickly,
like charcoal and like oil.
I still draw every day, and I love drawing too, but this is hard.
It’s hard to enjoy.
It takes much more labor.
I gave up on preserving the drawing.
This tone is—I want to recreate that effect.
I’m pretty much going to lose the drawing.
Don’t be scared.
That’s why I mentioned in the beginning that you don’t want to be too obsessive
with the drawing at this stage.
Of course, now this one needs a little bit more tone.
The top of his head now.
It’s come back in value.
Yeah, that’s nice.
See how it’s a little bit of a gradation?
It goes from dark into light here.
Then we have to put some tone here to set up this glow.
Probably just going to put a vignette around him.
This is too wet here.
I can smudge that around.
The paint on his arm there was still wet.
The shadow of his arm.
Blue ingredient there.
Anything I can do to help that.
That’s way too wet.
Get some of that off there.
Oh, I forgot the ear, actually.
Pick out the ear.
Now, we have a couple of choices.
I’m just going to lightly smudge that area lighter.
I was going to say we can darken what’s around the ear or lighten the ear, but the
ear is in shadow.
Remember, you don’t want to lighten things in shadow, except we ought to darken things
The objects we need to call out, so that was a good call.
Now, this paint is starting to dry in the shadow, which is good.
It’s going to be a little bit easier to control.
It’s going to be a little bit more permanent now.
I can still lift it off.
I can probably lift off this whole painting.
Yeah, for sure.
I know I can with mineral spirits—excuse me, the Gamsol solvent.
Gamsol is mineral spirits.
It’s odorless mineral spirits.
I’m pretty happy with the tones.
Let me start to pick out the highlights now.
Going to get a clean paper towel.
Probably the brightest highlight is that his head—let’s see if that’s—no, let’s
What I want to do is establish what’s the brightest first, that way I’ll know how
bright to make the face.
Look at that.
That looks cool.
I love it when it works.
It’s so much fun when it works.
Nice glow-y, glow, a little bit.
Part of the reason why it’s glowing is that it’s surrounded by dark.
Remember, we put that nice wash earlier.
Now the headband.
Put a little bit of solvent to lighten it.
Here is a dry part of the paper towel to soften and blend the edges back.
You can even drag some of the paint back into it.
If you’re following along at home and you grow with charcoal you may recognize this
is exactly like doing charcoal.
You put a tone on and then you erase and move it.
It’s really what we’re doing.
We’re kind of moving the paint on the surface.
I’m trying to get that highlight.
Now, probably—looking back I’d do a bigger painting if you’re following along at home.
This is—I’m finding it hard to get details in such a small painting.
It’s because the painting itself is relatively small.
Blocking in highlights, and that last bit will be right here.
Put the greatest glow right here.
A little too much, I got too excited.
Let me set that up.
It doesn’t look right until the—it needs dark around it.
When I get the dark it’ll look good.
Now I’m going to just soften my work, soften these edges.
Eventually, I’d have to refine the drawing, as much of it as I can find.
I really want to make sure you get a clean spot on your paper towel there.
This exercise is best for people who really want to transition to painting.
That’s why I wanted to show this last.
If you made it this far you’ve probably done a lot of drawing by now, and you might
be ready to look into painting or start painting.
I would encourage you.
I wish I would have started painting when I was like 5 years old because it’s quite
It has a really steep learning curve.
I always encourage my drawing students to learn paintings as early as possible because
it’s so damn hard.
You know, to be honest, it’ll benefit your drawing tremendously.
Just like drawing benefits your painting, it’s the base of painting in a lot of ways.
Painting gives you a fresh perspective.
Okay, so right now I’m drawing my brush with a little bit of Gamsol.
I need to start blending in these edges, and I can’t have that much solvent.
There is already a lot on the surface, actually.
Let me refine the drawing.
It’s a little bit tougher to control because the painting is so small.
Let me go ahead and darken the background too.
The background needs to be dark so we can see.
all these beautiful highlights that are worked in there.
Now we can set up this glow.
What I like to do is have the back part of him a little bit lighter.
There you go. Smudge some of that tone there. Come back sort of like a gradation.
That’s exactly what that is. It’s a gradation.
Now it’s time for a dark accent.
Let’s see if we can get a glow effect here.
Let’s give it a try. It might be too wet. It used to be perfect.
Now it’s kind of…I’m going to brush a little bit back.
Just playing with that edge.
I kind of want it to feel like it’s glowing.
Yeah, it’s still wet.
I’m going to let that dry a little bit.
A lot of solvent in that area.
You could even do like this cool, like a flame technique almost.
The one thing cool about oil is you can drag it all over the place and get these cool effects.
Then you can also do some detail work, which would probably be the last thing I would do
here, clean up the details.
Lost a lot of the drawing when we added our half-tones.
We cleaned up our half-tones as well.
Let me add this bit of nose there.
Little highlight there.
So you see, it’s pretty much a back and forth.
Find the right form.
Pick out the highlight.
Correct the drawing, correct the shape, correct the value.
You’ll do the exact same thing in a drawing.
Lost the bridge of the nose.
Obviously, the bigger the canvas you’re using, the more
detail you’d be able to get.
I’m not able to get too much detail with this because it’s so small.
My tools are fairly crude.
I just kind of wanted to show you the start of the process.
So, I would encourage you if you’re following along, definitely try a bigger canvas than me.
This drawing is like 6 x 8 or 8 x 10 at the most.
I would say go at least 9 x 12 or 11 x 14.
Since you’ve only got one color it should be fairly simple to get started.
Yeah, I’m not able to
get the small shapes to read the way that I want
them to, but at least I can get this area, the dark, the shadow area.
We’re pretty much done here.
I’m just cleaning up my drawing so that when the read comes back I get a little bit
of the read back.
What I’m missing here is the fine highlights on his face.
Right now, he looks—he doesn’t look his age because I’m not able to add all the
wrinkles and the details.
Just don’t have enough.
Let’s touch on his bandanna there.
Let’s see if I can pick out the back of his head.
The painting is a little shiny right now too.
I’m having a hard time seeing this shape, actually.
Probably if you have a vertical—right now I’m in a horizontal—if you’re painting
vertically it would be easier for you to catch that.
I think we’re just about done here.
Alright, so that’s a wrap.
As you can see, it’s exactly like drawing.
We have all the values, but with paint we can get beautiful gradations, beautiful half-tones,
and with this technique you just need a paper towel to be your eraser and to bring back
It’s a very great way to learn how to paint or to transition to paint if you’re already
If I were to render this one, what I’d probably do is get some smaller tools and get some
Now I can start detailing, but because the painting itself is so small, we’d probably
need to get smaller brushes.
That’s all it really needs to finish—the details.
It’ll be around the eye so put a bit of polish on the eye and then that could be it
as far as taking this to a fully rendered finish.
That brings us to the end of this demonstration.
Thank you for watching.