Shading Techniques Applied: Shading a Portrait

November 6th, 2014 10 comments

My latest course on shading explains how to create realistic lighting using Photoshop. The beautiful part is that the information taught in the course applies to any subject and any medium. The shading techniques course is more than a slick demo or a Photoshop tutorial. It’s core, fundamental principles and concepts of realistic light and shadow.

In this article, I’ll demonstrate how to apply shading techniques to a portrait. See video below for a portrait shading demonstration from a recent ‘Draw With Chris’ Livestream. Photoshop is the medium used in the video. Oil paint is used in the demo for the text version below.

For complete, step by step breakdown, read on…

Portrait Shading Process

STEP 1: Smart observation

The first step is to make careful observation of the subject. In this case we have a female model with beautiful high contrast lighting. This lighting is the best for practicing shading, rendering and edge control. For more on lighting models and choosing reference, see this article on good lighting and choosing good reference.

shading techniques reference full
This image is perfect for studying and practicing shadow because of the beautiful high contrast light. The shadows are nice and dark and clearly defined.

Read more…

NEW Course! Shading Techniques in Photoshop

October 27th, 2014 No comments

I’m proud to present this new and exciting course. Shading Techniques in Photoshop is simply the BEST course available on shading and rendering in Photoshop.

Students will learn how to shade and render their drawings using professional level techniques and strategies. Students will be guided through the shading process step by step by an expert instructor (that’s me :) ). Along with the lectures and instructor demonstration, there are powerful handouts to help the students review as they go through the course.

For more, check the video trailer above or click here to go to the course page.

The course has over 2 hours(!) of video at 1080p HD! There’s also pdf handouts and other bonus items. This course is a tremendous value for the low price. Take your drawing and painting to the next level, get Shading Techniques and learn how to shade and render today!

Head Painting Workshop @ Art Center College of Design

October 24th, 2014 No comments

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.

Digital Painting Class Demos @ Gnomon School

October 21st, 2014 No comments

gnomon school logo

Fall Term 2014 is in full effect at Gnomon School of Visual FX. I’m currently running 2 Digital Painting classes, Section 1 and Section 2 (Advanced). I wanted to share some demos I did during previous classes.


kaiju demo sketch by Chris Legaspi
This is a demo sketch of a Kaiju redesign from the Pacific Rim film. The topic of the lecture was rendering and lighting. The small thumbnail image in the upper left is a composition thumbnail. I always encourage students to take the time to plan and compose their drawings and paintings before they begin any finished painting.

facehugger design by Chris Legaspi
This was a demo from Summer term that I decided to take home and polish. The concept is my redesign of a Facehugger from the Aliens universe. I am a HUGE HR Giger fan. I feel that the original designs are so hard to top. I wanted to put my own unique spin by adding wings. What do you think?

If you want to take a Digital Painting class with me, registration for Winter Term will begin sometime in January 2015. Stay tuned to their website for details or subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest updates personally from me.

If you want to get a taste of what’s in the 10 week class in L.A., I have a new course on shading and rendering called Shading Techniques in Photoshop. It’s over 2 hours of video plus handouts and bonus materials. It’s a great self-study course and a good option for folks who can’t make it to the live class in Los Angeles.

Click here to go the Shading Course page

10 Straight Months in ImagineFX Magazine!

October 14th, 2014 2 comments

imagine fx magazines featuring Chris LEgaspi

I want to thank the folks at ImagineFX Magazine for the opportunity to write for their very popular magazine. I am featured in the 10 straight issues, Issue 102 – 111, December 2013 – August 2014.

I had a lot of fun writing for them and sharing some great information on traditional drawing and painting. I believe it’s their longest run of traditional art content. It’s also some of their most popular and best selling issues. I can’t take all the credit, but hey I’ll let you decide :)

If  you want to check out the current issue, you can go to Barnes and Noble or any major news stand or Art supply store. Here’s a pic of me in Barnes and Noble holding issue 110.

chris legaspi in imagine fx issue 110

ImagineFX, issue 110. This one is all about side poses. Very tricky for the untrained eye. Learn how I draw side poses in this issue.

If you want to pick up back issues are available on their website and also on Amazon. My first issue in this series is Issue 102.

Click here to order back issues from ImagineFX website

Click here to order back issues from Amazon 

I look forward to working with ImagineFX again in the future!


Painting @ 3 Kicks Studio

October 7th, 2014 No comments

3kicks logo
alla prima head painting by Chris Legaspi

 ”Alla Prima, Oct 2014″, 8″x10″, oil on canvas.

3 Kicks Studio is my favorite place to paint from life. The most talented painters in the Pasadena go there. Including professional artists from Disney and Dreamworks studios. Yeah, 3 Kicks has a deep, deep talent pool.

Their teachers and instructors are some of the best artists in Los Angeles. I am proud to be part of their faculty. It’s a great place to work and learn.

My Digital Painting class will start again in the Winter Term in early 2015. Follow the 3 Kicks website or blog for updates. For the latest updates on my other classes and online courses, subscribe to my newsletter.

Canvas Flip Hotkey Tutorial (2014 Update! 1080p HD)

September 30th, 2014 No comments

‘Canvas flipping’ or flipping the canvas is a great way to check for errors and to improve the composition. This video shows a quick and easy way to make a keyboard shortcut in Photoshop (Version CS5 is featured in the video).  The previous canvas flip tutorial (made in 2009) showed a method using the Actions Menu. I changed to Keyboard Shortcuts because it is a much cleaner method, which makes this video a long overdue update.  For step by step text instructions, scroll down to read more.

Read more…

Digital Painting Process: Adding Backgrounds

September 29th, 2014 No comments

I’m a big fan of District 9 because of it’s killer design and art direction. This character is my take on Christopher which is the main alien in the film.

This video shows my process in creating the background for the concept painting. The concept was originally a demo for my Digital Painting class at Gnomon School. I felt that the plain, flat background did not due justice to the character design so I decided to create a more dynamic background.

district 9 character re-design by Chris Legaspi

If you want to learn how to render like this or how to use the many powerful painting tools and techniques in Photoshop, check out my Digital Painting class. Classes are available both online and in-person in Los Angeles. Click the links for more info:

-Digital Painting I, Tuesday, 7pm-10pm (begins Oct 7th)

-Advanced Digital Painting, Tuesday, 4pm-7pm (begins Oct 7th)

-Digital Painting, Wednesday, 7:30pm-10:30pm (begins Oct 1st)