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Planning the Illustration

Lesson 1 in Paint Like The Masters

Lesson Information

This lesson will establish all the basics you need to get started. Greg will take you through some of his favorite Photoshop techniques, then analyze what makes a great painting. After you've got the basics down, you will gather reference, create thumbnails, and start sketching your image.

Get Inspired

Use the Brief Builder to come up with an idea for your painting. You can use either the image Greg showed or our free Brief Builder web app. Then find at least 5 references for each category you've chosen in your brief. 

- You can find Greg's Brief Builder file in this lesson's downloadable files

- You can find the free Brief Builder web app here:

Four of a Kind

Create four small rough sketches on one canvas. Use the references you've gathered, but don't let them limit you. Upload your thumbnails to the Learn Squared homework gallery. 

Blueprint for a Painting

Choose the thumbnail you like best and create a full-size version. Add any basic details that you think will help to map out the painting later on. Upload your sketch to the Learn Squared homework gallery. 


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I've got a relatively powerful computer, although not the very best. These mixer brushes are extremely slow. Do you have any tips on improving the performance of these brushes? I am on Photoshop CC, 64GB ram, GTX 1070 GPU, AMD Ryzen 1800X CPU.

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I am not an expert, but to me happens especially when the brush size is too big or there are too many layers to sample from. I try to keep my level low in number, that helps a bit. I also read that incresing the spacing could help.

Lesson Plan