Basic guide to oil painting


Hello, I am Nicolás, I have been drawing for a while and because today with the motive of the month I will show you a tutorial to paint in oil, I tried to make it as understandable as possible, oil as you might know is a type of brush with thickness and that It lends itself very well to the mixing of colors, something that can help shading a lot, and here we will see some things that we can take into account for this through this process, let's start.
(extra: the texts that correspond to each image in the part of "we begin to paint" go above that image, so that they try not to get lost when reading and seeing the guide images)

First of all

let's try to see a little of the basics about the interpretation of colors before starting, let's say ... I will make a circle shaded in oil, which although it is not so detailed, will serve to give an idea of how we can make our shading work.

let's put a base color first, let's say, a brown pulling orange as the base color, this will be the main one that will then be used to take the other shades of lighting and shadows.

About color theory

I cannot explain in a very extensive way the theory of color popularly known among experienced artists, but what I am going to explain, is that it is not necessary to use neither white nor black with or something like that to shade and illuminate, nor the same color that we use but darker / lighter, part of the color theory puts it to be a more natural color tone, such as the following image

in simple words, make it darker, but be imaginative, take the base color, and for the shadows see a little to the color of the left, blacken it a little without exaggeration and move the tone a little to the left, with the light Go a little for the color on the right, move it a little for the white, but a little, and move the tone a little for the left.

We begin to establish the detail

Now that we have established the colors for shadows and light, because we put as they could be the bases of said colors that we have established according to what a paragraph explains, we put it as a basis to establish the details for the oil painting.

While there could probably be a more practical way, this helps beginners to get an idea of shading and shine.

From here we start the details and softness

Here something important, they must be soft with the pencil, they cannot make the hard strokes at this specific point, for this part, continue using the oil brush (if the type of regular pressure oil or the one that puts a lot of color, that It depends on your preference, but remember to be gentle with the pencil and find the detail.

with that warning, to soften the shadows we must move the pencil over the parts of the shadows / light having coherence with the 2 colors that are being used on the pencil to soften, I don't know if I explain myself.

It's basically this, moving the pencil up and down over the shadows, or light, gently, in a way that looks like something like this image.

little by little they should make this kind of detail of shadows using oil, making it look more natural as you see possible, additionally if you like you can put more shades of light and shadow according to what some images back about the theory of color

additionally we can use the blur tool, or swipe, whatever your drawing program has, if you want it to be smoother, (although I do not recommend it at all because of the matter you are drawing in oil, but the option is there.

 Illustration time

Well, now that we have an idea of how we can make oil painting work, we start by making a sketch, a drawing, which we will do in the style of oil, first we do what I just said, the sketch.

This is not the guide of making sketches or strokes or lineart, so I will be brief in this aspect, as the aspect of softening and detailing the shadows and light of oil, you have to be soft and fast, with the strokes, do not do much pressure and do it smoothly and fluidly, apart from more comfortable it helps to make it look cleaner.

We started to paint

We are going to put the colors that we are going to use in a ball like the one we made before paragraphs for each main color for the skin, hair, eyes, and clothes, to have a support to quickly draw the tones and illuminations at the time of coloring.

Let's start with the skin, it is preferable that they reduce the opacity of the sketch and put it forward, and the colors behind, in order to have a better follow-up of what we are going to draw, it is clear that we have to keep track of the circles we made in the sense of the shadows and lights, maybe in an opposite direction horizontally, but be consistent, you can't put light on both sides, you can't put shadows on both sides, play with the perspective of the point of view of how you could use the colors, just , make it look natural.

To make a "relationship, with the levels" visible or simply that the elements such as the mouths or eyebrows are visible and do not feel forced, we use the same oil brush, but in a considerably smaller size, using a slightly smaller color darker than the one we set for shadows for the respective color, also shading that part with our normal shade color.

if it still does not convince you as it looks, you can put black (or only dark) lines between parts such as the neck or nose so that it can be different from the other elements of the face in a simpler way, eye, it has to be as thin as possible So it doesn't look so out of place.

For the point that already looks good for you, let's continue with the following, the eyes, as already said, partially follow the circle (even if it is in the opposite direction) and respect the fact that only shadows on one side, only light on one side,

We continue with the rest of the details of the face (eyebrows [with the color of the hair], dark circles, more detailed eyelids, and mouth) and look at the image, which has a shade with a naturalness in relation to the elements on the face.

We continue with the hair, a thing about the hair, do not do it only gray, this color is a black color pulling very little to blue to make it look more natural, with that in mind, put the base color of the hair according to the sketch.

Now we go with the shading of the hair, which is more difficult because well, it is hair, here we are learning to use oil, not the hair, so again, I will be brief here, in being parts of the hair for the shading use a smaller thickness of oil, and pass the pencil quickly but calmly, do all the details as you see it necessary, in the parts of the sketch in the parts where the hair is on a strand or something shade, if you do not have left Of course, simply, use as a guide the ball you made a moment ago with the color, using a small brush size, fast and smooth, you can use this image to give you an idea of how you could light and shade.

This is the simplest part for my liking, the shirt, just a moment ago, we put the base color on the sketch.

We apply the shadows and lighting again, but this case is simpler because it is a slightly simpler thing, just follow the circle guide and good.

here a difficult part, we will go to the part where I explain why it is difficult, the jacket, the same, we put the basic color from the sketch.

the same, we apply the shadows with the guide ball and according to the shape of the sketch, applying thin lines for differences elements of the clothes of others.

the reason why it is medium difficult, is because of the way the coat itself requires more shading sides (according to the "magic color ball" and the shape that can be confusing, but this ends up doing the same , soft and fast with the pencil, but here I recommend more than in the rest of colors, use an oil brush with less pressure so that the shading colors mix better, because as you have to make longer strokes, it is difficult for mix with one that marks a lot of color, so they know and try to do it.

Almost finishing, now only the shoulders are missing.

This time I had to put a darker green so that it differs from the hood, it is not so necessary to make a colored ball in that case at least for me, but if you like you can do it too, following what I established from the color theory .

the usual, put a color that works as a base to apply the rest of the shadows and others.

To give you an idea, basically apply the color before softening it in oil and it would be something like this.

what has already been said, apply the smoothing, and respect the ball (although this time I did not do it, if you have it you can follow it, at least the ones you have made) likewise, light from one shadow side of the other.

finally make thin pencil strokes so that you can differentiate elements of the drawing


With everything you need ready, you just have to make the arrangements you like, put a background, colored masks, or something like that, but I'm just going to cut it to make it more presentable.

With everything already explained, I did my best so that it may have been understandable and I hope it has been clear enough for you that you may have learned something to paint in oil, goodbye and thank you for your attention.


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