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Unleash Your Creativity: Mastering Stylized Character Painting from Start to Finish



Watch this video tutorial on stylized character painting.


Learn how to divide the character into texture sets, create base gradients, add details, and apply finishing touches.


Follow along as the presenter demonstrates the process step by step.










- Workflow


  • In today’s class, we’ll paint a small stylized creature using the same techniques we covered in the previous hand-painting class.

  • We can see that our creature has two texture samples, the body, and legs.

  • First, we want to set our Environment Map to Studio 2 so that we can see the colors without the colored lighting from the other maps.

  • In the Body texture sample make a new Fill layer with only the color and roughness turned on.

  • Select a dark purple color and increase the roughness all the way up to 1.

  • Every time we hand paint a stylized character we want our roughness to be around 0.7 - 1.

  • Turn on the symmetry and make a new Paint Layer for the details.

  • Choose a lighter blue/purple and only have the color channel on.

  • Add the color on top with a brush and smudge it out using the blur/smudge tool.

  • Use the Artistic Heavy Sponge when you use the smudge tool to have the same kind of texture effect.

  • On the same layer choose a lighter blue and add it on the tip of the head, blending it in with the smudge tool.

  • This will create a nice gradient going from lighter to darker tones on the top of the head.

  • For the bottom of the body make a new paint layer, choose an orange color, and just like we did on the top of the head we’ll add the color on our body and blur it out.

  • Make sure to pay attention to the form of the body, there are 4 holes on the sides, try and avoid smudging in the color inside these holes.

  • To create the same type of gradient transition, add a bright saturated yellow and blur it into the bottom of the body.

  • Your body should be looking like this so far.

  • Make a new Fill Layer on top of all the layers o far and choose a dark red color.

  • Make sure only the color channel is turned on.

  • Add a black mask on the fill layer and use the brush to paint it where you want the mask to be.

  • Pay attention to what color your grayscale is on the black mask. Black takes away from the mask and white reveals where the mask influences the model.

  • To switch between the colors on the grayscale click X on your keyboard.

  • Slowly work your way through the cracks on the creature, making sure you get to each corner.

  • After you’re done make a new paint layer beneath the new fill layer we added and choose a light blue color.

  • Start adding details on the body of the creature by adding in small strokes of color and smudging them out.

  • Make sure you catch the edges of the cracked shell.

  • These bright details need to go somewhere where the light would hit the model, not just only paying attention to the form of the body.

  • Keep adding details where the indents of the shell are.

  • Make sure you clean up the edges to have nice clean lines.

  • It might look messy now but the results at the end will make the model pop.

  • Pay attention to the edges of the cracks, adding the bright color there will bring out the form more.

  • You can always erase some of the colors if it is bleeding in too much with other bright spots on the body.

  • Try to keep them apart as much as possible or make interesting connections between them.

  • The reason why we add highlights from above and below is so that you can learn how to give a flat object a more dynamic look.

  • We treat the details as if the light is hitting the top of the character and we can either add different details that don’t actually exist on the model we can also add details along the high poly details.

  • Make a new paint layer and choose the same color we used to make the gradient on the bottom of the creature.

  • Just like we did on the top of the model we’ll start drawing in the details, following the form of the character. If the light is hitting the bottom of the character many of the highlights will be reversed, meaning the highlights will be on the bottom part of many of the details.

  • We always begin with bigger brushstrokes and then follow up with more and more details.

  • For example for the photos above where there are high poly details and cracks on the character we can add more highlights around them so we can make them pop out.

  • Choose the same color we used to make the light blue details and go back to the same paint layer we added these details but this time draw them on the bottom of the crack where the orange gradient is.

  • Make a new Paint Layer and pick a darker purple color.

  • We want to add this color where the light is less likely to hit the character.