Digital Character Painting from Life

Concept Art and Illustration > Digital Character Painting from Life


    Teacher Information

    Charles Vinh is a master painter and illustrator who repeatedly wins high profile contracts with companies such as Visa, Canada Post, Bombardier, Sapporo, Chevrolet, Unibroue and many others. He has also illustrated several book covers, been selected to paint official portraits of dozens of NHL all-stars and has been a matte painter and art consultant for television and film. His paintings have won numerous prestigious awards and he is an amazing teacher with many years of experience.

    Course Outline

    Classes typically begin with theory and demonstration for the first 15-30 minutes followed by painting from live models (almost every class) with one-on-one coaching and correction from the instructor.

    Part 1: Head Painting

    Week 1 - Learn to apply a quick monochrome 3-tone block-in method to head painting while working from casts.

    Week 2 - Apply the same head-painting method to a live model, learning about tone and form. Understand why and how to use hard and soft edges to create a more convincing sense of form.

    Week 3 - Learn how to properly "finish" your painting by adding more values and detail to create a convincing portrait with realistic skin, hair and features.

    Part 2: Character Painting – Basic Method

    Week 4 - Develop proficiency in figure painting with the 3-tone block-in method as you learn different ways to work with skin-tone colours.

    Week 5 - Learn to add colour over a monochrome painting as you train your eye to distinguish tone from colour. Learn techniques for rendering clothing and folds.

    Week 6 - Understand how to add subtle tone differences, warm and cold colours and reflected light and colours in skin tones, clothing and accessories to create a richer character painting.

    Part 3: Advanced Character Painting

    Weeks 7-10 - Learn to paint directly in colour (Alla Prima style) and to use the subtleties of colour to create more captivating character illustration. Complete a final portfolio piece from an extended live model study of a fully costumed character, complete with weapons and accessories.


    Tuesday from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

    Date of first class: July 11th

    Duration: 10 weeks

    Language: The class is in English but the teacher is bilingual and is happy to answer questions in French.

    You can register at the bottom-left of this page.


    Do your digital character painting skills need a boost to get to the professional level? Would you like to learn the most effective digital painting methods for creating beautiful character illustrations while working with live models in costume (the best possible reference while learning this skill)?

    In this character painting class, with live models for nearly every class, you will learn to properly render the head, figure, clothing and accessories, using the right values, to get a good sense of form and a convincing 3-dimensional feel. The class will review and solidify your foundational knowledge of tone, form and anatomy while training your eye to distinguish values and to paint in colour using the correct tones.

    In this class, you will learn the best techniques for skin-tones, hair, clothing and accessories and apply a simple 5-step method to block in your dark, mid and light tones, adjust with more subtle variations and then apply the finishing touches.

    By the end of this class, you will have learned to apply this method to accurately break-down, understand and build-up a successful, well-rendered character painting which truly captures the look and personality of your character! You will have created new portfolio-worthy character illustrations and learned a set of skills and techniques that will give you a big edge as a digital painter, illustrator or concept artist.


    This is an advanced digital media class (Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter). To take this class, you need to either have equivalent experience OR have taken both the Drawing the Human Form and Digital Painting 

    Advanced Anatomy is also recommended though you can take it at the same time as this class.

    *Note you must bring your own laptop, equipped with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop to each class. 

    Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class (the teacher will use many visual examples and there will usually be students in the class who speak French and can help you if you don't understand something).


    This new advanced class, essential for aspiring character designers, can fill up way before the registration deadline, so sign up early! $540 $470. 

    The Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 5th of July at 11:59 PM


    • Learn the best methods for rendering skin, hair and clothing

    • Understand the five most common mistakes which make your character paintings look unprofessional and learn to avoid them

    • Learn from a master figure painter trained in the methods of the classical schools of realistic painting and who is also an amazing digital illustrator

    Join Our Newsletter

    For news and information about our special events, such as art workshops and free art shows with wine & food, Sign Up for Your FREE Syn Studio Newsletter: