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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hopkins

Victor Staris's block-in method.

Updated: Feb 26

In the next day or two I will present a complete block-in method put forth by Victor Staris. He's a wonderful graphic artist that has been involved in many different movies and games. Here is the first few screen prints I have. I will update this entire post later once the painting is finished, with tips that go along with each screen print.


I'll be referring to this initial screen print in my notes. It illustrates the "basic" values commonly used in a typical landscape painting. Please note that in this painting, the mountains and foreground are somewhat mixed up due to it being a late evening sunset. You'll need to decide where each value fits (to some extent).


The numbers accompanying each color box, ranging from 1 to 8, represent the values recommended for your landscape paintings. Utilizing this color box format eliminates the guesswork when dealing with values, saturation, and hues. As long as you choose the appropriate value for the area you're painting in, you can experiment with various hues and saturations.


While this painting presents a few instances of cross-value situations, the concept is clear. Avoid straying too far from the intended values. For instance, the clouds contain some value 4, 5 and 6 areas because they need to appear darker due to the shadows within them. Be flexible where appropriate!


*Remember: we very rarely use black as a color in paintings. It's best to use value 8's and no 9's, unless that is the look you are after! I used some black on my previous post.


Color Values Example:


Gray-scale. Notice how much easier it is to see the values?



Here is a "basic" landscape value diagram to keep handy. Here is a link to the post about this subject: https://mitchalbala.com/value-divisions-in-landscape/


Here is the painting by Carlos Herrera that I am using as my reference:

Color-Block In using my 9 x 9 color box (see above) that helps me determine correct "color values":


Gray-scale that helped isolate a few value errors on my part. Namely the farthest mountains.


Block-in with sun added:


With clouds added:


Mountains, trees, and Fields added with a final "cleaning" before adding the cows:


And some glorious cows!


I still have quite a journey ahead to refine my paintings and achieve a more organic, painterly style akin to Carlos's work, but I'm definitely making progress! I'm grateful for the layers feature in Rebelle; without it, I would've been quite anxious while painting those cows. It did take some time to capture them accurately, but I'm rather satisfied with the finished, framed piece.


Now, onto the next project! This time, I'll be working from a clean reference photo with no external artistic guidance. I'm confident I can tackle this challenge!

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