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Limited color palettes study step by step.

Here is another study I did using limited color palettes ref after one of John Singer Sargent painting. Like the previous post, except this one is a little harder because of the drape, folding, costume and deco stuff.

In this exercise, I am not trying to copy it to be exact replica of his masterpiece (it's beyond my ability of course). I am just looking to capture and understand "VALUES" (light) and "Colors" and try to see it thru what Sargent could possibly see. I am sure I will probably do more and more of the study because it is really fun.

Again, this is a quick study so I limited myself to spend around 25-30 mins for the session so that I can understand the overall big picture trying to photocopy the master.

Here is a final sketch colors & values study

Here are step by step still image color sketch painting study of Sargent



5) Here is a final color sketch approx 25-30 mins

Watch the video tutorial of limited palettes colors and values study:

Drawing Software & Tools I used and recommended:
-Genius MousePen 6x8
-Wacom Intuos3 6X8 Pen Tablet
-Bamboo (Small) Pen Tablet (new from Wacom!)
Economy for everyone.
-Gimp (Free Download)
-Adobe Photoshop CS4 (Professional software)

New Drawing Video tutorials:
-Painting tutorial limited color palette 001
-Portrait painting from life step by step
-Drawing body muscle and abs shading and render
-Painting from life session step by step tutorial
-Manga tutorial drawing background
-Draw mutiple manga characters

Environmental Concept Sketch Tutorial
Face Constructed: How to draw faces
Face Constructed: How to paint portraits
-Draw and Paint Women Body Tutorial I: Female Manga Fusion I
-Draw and Paint Women Body Tutorial II: Female Manga Fusion II
-Character Design Tutorial: Dark Valkyrie


Luca said…
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Luca said…
Cool Xia, I'll have to find time and do these studies as well! The name of this painting is "Portrait of Mrs. Asher B. Wertheimer" at least that's how it was written where I found it.

Xia, I know you have written somewhere on the blog and you've been asked this question a 1000 times... but please I'd like you to correct me if I'm wrong. Your brush setting (oh here we go again), you don't make it pressure sensitive opacity jitter (apart from the brush size)? You only change the opacity percantage. I want to explain better what I mean:

Is normally your opacity jitter Off?

Thanks a lot!
Dahaca said…
We all have bad habits but your isn't bad at all.Details are important as much as big shapes.I remember you said that value makes the painting real and colours bring it to life.
snow said…
Hey Xia in the Slayer Tutorial the photoshop painting you had of a man in the background reminded me of the characters in Guild Wars.

Could you ever do a tutorial on how you paint textures like the ones you did for Guild Wars, in particular the faces (i.e. )?

I can model decent 3d human characters now but I'm lacking in the texturing and I love the way you do textures. Arenanet made the relatively low poly Guild Wars game look so good! You have all this 3D skill but it's no where to be seen on blog. I'm amazed!

Please let me know!

idrawgirls said…
Luca> You have to have both setting...the one on the brush is for creating edge...when make a stroke. The main opacity is to create can't use 100% all the time. :)

dahaca> Thanks brother!

snow> Good eyes, I forgot to close it when I was working on something. As for 3D...Well, the way we do the texture now is way different than the first generation GW, now we are using the new generation technology for GW2. Tons of layes of maps on character...a lot less painting...a lot more rendering and creating maps.
I donno if I want to make a tut.
email me your e-mail address on hotmail, I will send you something.
snow said…
Thanks Xia.

I tried to contact you at, but got your automated message in return. My e-mail is

Hope to hear from you!

Luca said…
Hi again Xia.... thanks for the reply of the brush - I won't have to bother you anymore regarding this matter! :)

I need your help and opinion (especially from you Xia). I would like you to share with me or send me a link where I can find the names of the colors. Not the primary names of course, but those of secondary and mixed tonalities and variations....such as navy blue etc.

Also, do you recommend me to start learning 3D now? I thaught to have a good and solid foundation of art then maybe take 3D when I'm really satisfied with my drawing level. What do you think? And what kind of softwares are great for modelling? Cinema 4D, 3D Max....?

Thanks in advance to those of you who'll help me out.
pokepetter said…
These two are really great Xia! You should adapt this for future sketches.

luca > Something like this?

I say you should start learning 3d now. Hopefully you'll never be satisfied with your drawing level. What can you lose? You can always change your mind can't you?

cinema 4d, 3ds max, maya, modo, xsi, mudbox, blender, zbrush are all good software.
snow said…
3D takes a lot of time and a lot of practice, I'd really want to be very passionate about it before starting it, like you are with drawing, otherwise it will just be another fad. A lot of creative minds who don't have the time to learn actual 3D just use something like Daz 3D (free) and produce some amazing results. Check the galleries to see more: .
jaydeebee said…
Wow that is amazing.
I was wondering if you could add me to the community, I sent a mail request, but it sent me an automated email requesting that I post on your blog.
pokepetter said…
I love Sargent's use of high contrast values. Like in Madame X.
idrawgirls said…
Snow> Sorry, just got it now. It's a long weekend. I was sleeping all the long three days. :)

Luca> Yep, I agree with Snow & Pokepetter. But it never hurt to try. One at the time until you efficient with then move to the next program, but always keep drawing.

Pokepetter> Thanks for the back up brother...those are all valuable information. :)

snow> Yes it does...time consuming, especially nowadays the everyone is now doing kickass 3d art! Very competitive everywhere. Frustrating for artist to be among the best.

jaydeebee> The invite should be in your inbox by now. Sorry for the delay.

Pokepetter> I've seen the real's SO AMAZING to see the brushes strokes in real life and how larger than love those paintings are.
Luca said…
Pokepetter> Thanks bro... yep something like that is fine! :)

Snow & Xia> You're right as well. Maybe I'll try it in my free time just experimentating. Drawing, I hope to keep my inspirations alive... sometimes there are certain things that happen in the daily life that effect badly my inspiration and want for drawing... anyways, thanks!