This is a public version of the members-only Art with Justin Bua, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Art with Justin Bua.
Join Now

The Fundamentals of Drawing
Building Skills in Drawing
Advanced Drawing and Painting
Bua's Master Lessons
Business of Art
«Prev of Next»

Art Lessons: Bua Painted Head

Lesson Video Exchanges () Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Art with Justin Bua.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Art with Justin Bua. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Art Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
I'm going to do a value painting
completely out of my imagination.
No reference whatsoever.
And I'm gonna base it on the value chart
that I did earlier.
So earlier and you can consult my other
value scale lesson that I did.
I started with my whitest white and my
darkest black and
I mixed what's called a value scale.
[SOUND] So each one of these intervals,
blends into the other one and
they're stepping at an equal pace at an
equal tonality.
Going up in value or down in value.
So right now, I'm just kinda having that
So I can consult it as I do [NOISE]
whatever I'm gonna do and
I don't even know what I'm gonna do right
I'm just gonna do it.
[SOUND] And sometimes when I do this kind
of stuff,
I like to just get a little crazy and cuz
I do so much classical stuff
that it's kinda fun just to be a little
silly and, and wild and create.
And this is kinda where we create really
interesting characters.
Now, I am working on a cold pressed
illustration board.
It's pretty nice.
Cold press paper is dried between wool
blankets and it's got a good tooth on it.
[SOUND] And, and I think it would be good
to paint.
It's kind of archival.
I mean, technically nothing is archival so
in that respect it's archival
But it's not like archival like, you know,
linen canvas.
But I've had illustration boards last for
what seems like forever.
So it's pretty, it's a pretty beautiful
surface, actually.
And I like starting from this, [NOISE]
this kinda white.
And what I usually do when I do a [NOISE]
when I just do,
I'm just gonna do a head out of my
Is just kinda start with [NOISE] kinda
feeling where,
[NOISE] where my darks are gonna be.
[NOISE] Where my darks are gonna be.
[SOUND] And [NOISE] where my lights, my
lightest lights are gonna be.
And this is, this is gonna help us here as
we get more into paint.
So right now.
Right now,
we're just kinda [NOISE] drawing from one
side to the other.
[NOISE] To the other.
[NOISE] To the other.
[NOISE] And just blocking in very,
very, very simple shapes.
And, you know, when I do this kind of a
I like to think about where's my light
source coming from?
[SOUND] Whose my character?
[SOUND] Why is my character doing what
he's doing?
I'm doing a [NOISE] maybe around three
quarter view.
[NOISE] And my light is kind of falling
this direction.
[NOISE] So the light is streaming down.
my drawing is really just loosey-goosey
because [NOISE] I'm just keeping it.
[NOISE] you know, really so I can make a
lot of adjustments.
[NOISE] And this could change a lot when
it comes down to paint it, but
you wanna kinda feel comfortable.
[NOISE] And, you know, sometimes it's nice
you paint classically all the time and
through a lot of studies and
figure drawings and you think about things
technically and classically and light
It's kinda nice to just relax and let it
go and be crazy.
[SOUND] I think there's a nice balance
[NOISE] between [NOISE] between that.
Those worlds.
Got a hat.
Ear's gonna be raised.
And this is what's called very sketchy
[NOISE] This is just really
sketchy [NOISE] which is okay.
I feel
my character’s a little bit kinda cowboy
[NOISE] sci-fi futuristic.
[SOUND] Urban [NOISE] character.
I'm not modeling him after anything,
I'm just kinda feeling [NOISE] what's
happening in the moment.
Just being in the moment allowing it to
Wherever it's gonna go.
Now in my drawing, I kinda will.
I will apply principles.
[SOUND] The nose, which [NOISE] is
basically a wedge.
[SOUND] Right?
What kinda nose would this character have?
[SOUND] It's a lot like character design,
character development.
[SOUND] Would he have that kind of nose,
would he have, you know, a little wider of
a nose.
[SOUND] Would he not?
Would you just erase all of that because
you don't like the way it looks on him?
What kind of eyes does he have?
[SOUND] What kind of mouth does he have?
[SOUND] What kind of beard does he have?
But same principles always center line.
Center line.
Center line.
Center line.
Center line.
Center line.
Center line.
Now I've got an idea of kinda what I wanna
I wanna get some tone on there.
I just wanna just kinda
knock some tone into that so
I just really get some tone on there.
And to a glaze over the whole thing.
And even though.
I can still see part of my drawing.
I can still see my drawing under there.
Now I
wanna kind of go back in there and maybe
rub out some lights.
Just gonna rub some lights out.
Go back in with that mid tone again.
And go into that light side.
And right now, like I said, you know, it's
a really important event to,
to get your to get your lightest light and
your darkest dark on there immediately.
But, you know, right now, I need to know
the structure of my character.
I'm, go on, just get some lights in there.
Some opaque paint.
I'm doing this pretty fast and furious
like that.
Always drawing with my paintbrush.
Just drawing with it.
I'm just gonna carve some darks
in there now.
Make some, delicious darks.
And I'm grouping all these shapes.
So this shadow that the hat is casting is.
Is grouping with the value on his eyes.
There's this grouping with this here.
And I want to take that value.
Get it nice and kinda like that midtone-y
area right there.
Cast down a little bit.
Shadow's coming down, right?
And then the beard.
Now just blocking, blocking values there,
so like, it's gonna be lighter here at the
tip of his nose.
I like to kind of at this point I really
just wanna move back from my painting.
I'm going to actually just get away.
I will see you later [LAUGH].
It was fun, it was so fun.
But, I gotta go.
I gotta go.
I'm not playing.
And that's when you get the good reed.
Just choke up here we go now, now we're
So as you could see I'm drawing a lot with
my paintbrush.
Drawing a lot.
Drawing a lot.
Making, just, blockey decisions about
trying to get a read, like what's going on
Now I'm gonna get my lights and light,
lights on.
Somewhere in this realm here.
Not, my light is light.
Oh, no.
Not yet.
But the light's coming from above, kinda
hitting his zygomatic arch, the plane on
his cheek, here.
Plane on his cheek.
And cascading down now you guys might be
what are you doing I don’t even see
anything, what’s going on?
Well I’ll just get a little highlight on
there just to show you that
you can go as light as right.
Is right here, right?
And that's not even as light as we can go.
So you can see that, we come out.
We keep coming, keep sculpting, keep
Here his jaw.
I'm sorry, his jaw.
His, cheekbone, coming down.
And the light is gonna, the light is
hitting here, right?
So it's really cascading down from there.
Softening that like that coming down.
Gradating down darker value.
Darker value.
And this is kinda equal here.
Now as this, this cheek it's kind of a mid
This cheek here is kinda flattens out.
So that flattens out on both sides.
I kinda like to run it across like that.
Soften the edge, soften the edge, soften
that edge.
And also, when you, when you do that, you
know, your, like that,
you almost feel like it's red, right?
Like it feels, you can feel the
And the maxilla, it's coming down like
there's a cast shadow,
and as we know cast shadows are gonna be
pretty dark.
So this is the light that's falling from
As it's falling, it's falling onto the
surface, right?
So the surface is bending right here.
So it's getting into the filtering trim
So that's casting down.
Now there's a pure black right in here,
Right in here.
That's where the eye sockets really are.
Right in there.
Right in there.
So, more of a darkness in there.
[SOUND] The rim.
You know, this is feeling kind of a.
[SOUND] Wild wild west.
[SOUND] Wild wild west-ish.
Okay and
you've got this side plane of that
Take my airbrush and
kinda hit that, and fan that out.
Fan that out in this, I feel like his
cheek bones are like really dramatic.
Now I think he's got also.
These lips group here, they group.
And then if you really wanna separate the
with maybe just a little bit of darkness,
right in here.
Right underneath,
I think he's got a, he's got some hair
growing out there.
I'm getting back to my, my bigger brushes.
You know,
that light is rolling back in the space,
[NOISE] back in the space like that,
[NOISE] back in the space.
[NOISE] And of course.
There's a cast shadow coming down from his
Gunslinger huh.
[NOISE] Hm, corner of
his mouth here, and
there's a piece plain here.
Now I wanna really get in that,
that background a little bit,
to kinda create a little atmosphere so,
feel like on this side,
kinda be in some kind of mid-tone.
as it comes up,
that comes up.
It's gonna
you gotta
[NOISE] Hm, take that
edge out a little, and
I'll put it back in later.
I'll show you, I can even put it in now.
Like that, see?
[NOISE] And here.
I'm just using the whole board.
[NOISE] This is a,
there goes my value key.
Don't wanna ruin my value key but you
when you're painting, you gotta paint.
[NOISE] So light's gonna
kinda tickle that top like that.
It's gonna tickle that ridge although,
yeah I guess it can.
That, that ridge feels like it's kinda
that leathery brown hat.
You know that has, so what, what does that
translate to, right?
So it translates to maybe a little darker
of a brim, like that.
You know,
sometimes I like to paint to music.
Sometimes I don't like to paint to the
music of my brush strokes.
Sounds very poetic but I'm very sensitive.
Very sensitive.
[NOISE] I wanna lose that
edge a little cuz,
there's no point.
Sometimes there's no point in showing
gratuitous stuff.
And I feel like, really,
who cares about his neck down here when's
it's all about his expression.
I'll just take my brush.
I'll take a badger brush, this is called a
badger brush and.
I'm gonna soften that all out.
Losing that, we could pick up a line later
I could show you.
We could even pick it up now just to pick
it up.
you know, oh,
not good.
Now it's got more that needs darker darks.
And here,
now I’m doing
that so I could
lose that into
the background
That is.
Like that.
Might feel that this edge goes down into
the side plane of his face.
But also we could lose that whole edge
from here, to the atmosphere.
Cuz it could be really dark right here.
Like that.
[NOISE] And if we wanna make the under
plane of that hat darker we just
pick up the dark in there.
Let's go on some lighter lights.
Maybe finish off that hat first.
I'd get that brim that I spoke about in
Kinda going around, right?
Going around, down like that [SOUND]
And then the light, well.
I guess the hat is gradating from a darker
dark here.
It's a lighter, as it hits the top plane
of that.
And I think I'm gonna lose that, that edge
on topaz.
I don't know what it really does for me.
Maybe it does do something.
Maybe I'm crazy.
Here's a really, when you create out of
your head, the thing is that like you'll
really in a lot of ways open yourself up
to a lot of
errors like you gotta really, because you
don't have a model or reference here.
You're making decisions and you're
creating the environment and
you're creating the color and the tone and
the value so,
gives you a lot more flexibility but in
one way but in another way it's like.
Makes you more susceptible to many, many
still missing a kind of a dark side to
that hat.
Like, right here.
It's gotta, his head's gotta fit in there,
So, it's gotta go down.
Like, you gotta think about really
pragmatic stuff like,
well the hat looks small but the head
doesn't fit in and it looks wrong.
Okay, well then, it looks wrong.
I'm gonna fix it.
Well you should fix it now.
I am fixing it now.
Relax, it's happening.
Well it should of happened before.
Okay, well why don't you do it, so.
[SOUND] And sometimes, it might be okay to
have a smaller stylized hat.
How about that?
That's kind of where I'm going with it
right now.
Well, if you do do that, then you have to
kinda like move it in perspective, so
it has to kinda perspect back like that,
so you could at least see the distortion.
Like okay, well, you want to make it that
leathery, kind of like,
that leathery shape.
I keep ruining my value.
'Kay, thank God I've done the value
exercise a million times.
So, I kinda like how kinda the darks
around this hat, actually.
It offers a good amount of contrast.
Let's see if it's, this darker.
Dark helps at all.
I don't know, maybe.
Okay so, as the light comes down let's
think about light hitting here is playing.
Light really hitting the cartilage here.
Light hitting right here.
Light but not as light hitting the ridge
of his mouth here.
And here's a little trick, that if you hit
a lighter light on the sides of this
cast shadow, it's gonna make the cast
shadow pop.
And with the edges of the cast shadow
another trick is you might want to
crisp them.
So you might want to come in and make this
crispity crunchity like that.
That's gonna offer a whole other level of
And because the nostrils are crimson, in
my opinion they're crimson here,
that's what Rembrandt would have done.
Then you gotta make them dark like a
crimson, see that?
[NOISE] Now, the subtlety of that
nose is that the cartilage is
wrapping around like that so.
That shape kind of wraps
around at a ball like this.
And darkens up and
has a light coming down.
That hits there and there could be
reflected light to hit the nose,
but not quite yet.
Not going to happen quite yet.
Oh, I feel like the light's got, hitting
that plane, hitting that plane.
Hitting here and you know what?
This guy's definitely smoking a cigarette,
like that.
So, if he's smoking a cigarette like that,
guess what?
Lights coming down, cigarette is casting a
That lip is a crazy shape, but I like it
so I'm gonna keep that on
this plane here and it can transition
darker as it goes around.
And obviously as it hits the corners here,
it's gonna come up.
And it's gonna be a little light.
Picks up here.
Like that.
Now, that cigarettes gonna be not
that dark but the ash will be darker.
And, in the center of that ash, the
ellipse is gonna be very dark, like that.
And you gotta really feel like that is
sitting in there though.
So let's, let's kinda get that mouth
cleaned up a little.
So, philtrum is here.
The light on the cigarette paper is coming
out like that.
And the light on the ash is going like
So, you start to see a little bit more
realism, and I'll exaggerate the.
First of all is, you're not gonna be able
to see what's going on there.
That's a lot of information that's sitting
in his mouth.
Then the under plane of the cigarette is
in shadow.
And then the top plane of the cigarette,
the ash, is lit.
Like that, so we'll get into that in a
Also the, the light on the top of the
Kind of lit.
It's gonna be cooler down here.
So, just think about this always in terms
of warm and cool.
I put a little light in here, but kinda
gonna, just a little bit, tone it down.
I'm a rhinestone cowboy.
Now, I haven't really spoken to,
kind of, what's going on with the eyes
here but, the eyes are sitting in shadow.
I just feel like they're getting hit, a
little, with a little bit of light.
And that might be, might be too much right
I haven't decided.
Yeah, I'm not sure.
I'm not sure.
And, you know my darks, I really want my
darks to be there right now.
Feel like the same thing
gonna get rid of these two things right
I'm gonna get rid of this big brush.
I'm gonna kinda bring in my faithful and
trusted companion called
the toothbrush, but not to take a
toothbrush break and
brush my teeth, but rather to use it as
skin texture.
Did you just say that?
[LAUGH] I did.
It's gonna be insane.
I'm gonna teach you something.
Have you ever done that before?
Yes, but have you ever done it on a
Ish don’t think so.
Okay, so now we're gonna take this,
we're going to kind of mix up a little mid
Here and we're gonna start adding a little
See that, just a little texture here.
And we're gonna do it on his skin a little
bit, like that, adding a little tooth.
And I'm gonna now clean my, see I'm
cleaning my toothbrush off like this?
Cleaning it off,
getting a fresh paper towel.
And, now I'm gonna come in with my light.
And in the mean time what's happening
is this, this, all of this is drying,
which is good because I need it to dry.
I need to kinda figure out some other
stuff while that dries.
So I'm gonna come in with some lights, and
I'm going to use my magical mystery
toothbrush and
I'm going to hit some lights.
Like that, just a little bit just to add a
little texture and dimension here.
I'm just gonna rub some of them out.
I kinda like, Actually that's kinda cool
cuz it goes back into space.
Do it right there.
Right there, and even right,.
Here, like that.
And, soften that a little bit as it goes
cuz kinda losing into the atmosphere,
Especially cuz ash is so soft edged.
And, do the same thing here for
my mid-tone.
[NOISE] Kind of texture.
[NOISE] And lose, lose some value right
like that.
Put some light in here.
So that's just adding just a little,
[NOISE] light behind there.
And then I'm, [SOUND]
Going to kind of finish off my quick,
my quick cigarette.
See it's a little drier now so it's kind
of nice.
As you could see this paper is really
buckling right now so,
be a really good idea to, to prop it up.
But you know what no time, no worries.
I'm gonna take this, I'm
going to [NOISE] draw on a little thing
here and
I'm gonna make my smoke.
And smoke is just really soft edged,
You've got to just feel, smoke is just
Like that, its going up, its all value.
Its all just, you feel it moving into the
ether of the atmosphere.
This little.
Little adjustments I'm making.
Adding a little tone into his upper lip,
kinda losing these lips together, like
It's making one plane.
Maybe that's too much, maybe I should just
keep that down a little tonaly.
In fact I'd like to keep
this, tonally down.
Very, don't wanna really, paid, to have
the eye go there right now.
Too many hard edges is not the best ever.
I'm just kinda going in and softening some
of those edges,
softening some of those edges like that.
And maybe coming in with a light, right
As it picks up the jaw here.
And the pure black, it's gonna be strong.
In the cigarette realm.
And he is.
Try to get that ash because the cigarette
actually burns from the paper here.
People like, a lot of times people don't
burn it from the paper,
they burn it from here.
I've seen a lot of painting where the
cigarette's actually burning from the ash
and that doesn't happen in nature.
That's why you have to experience and
enjoy and discover nature,
especially painting from nature.
Because you would realize if you did, that
the smoke comes from the paper burning,
not from the ash.
Don't amateur ash hour it, when you could
professional burn it from the paper.
Okay, so it's burning from the paper and
actually, it's on fire.
And that fire color is right about here,
so, even, even in a black and
white you should feel the flame.
Like that and maybe a couple of embers are
alive in here, even in here.
Where is kinda where you see into it.
Although not feeling it.
This stays, it pretty wet right now, I'm
gonna let that dry out a little,
So now it feels like ash, much more.
Much more ashy.
I'm gonna put a highlight, not a
just a lighter light here on the ridge of
that eye.
And then I'm gonna get, I'm gonna get some
more black on my palate.
So what I wanna do is just kinda come in,
start cleaning up some of those shadows'
A cast shadow on the lip.
And on the other side of that lip, see a
little bit of light.
A little bit of light like that, so it's
really a cast shadow, in fact,.
That cast shadow is kinda falling all the
way down.
See cast shadow goes down and, you won't
group it.
Because sh, you can't see cast shadows and
form shadows.
So you can see a cast shadow here, but
you can't see the cast shadow here in the
form shadow.
But you can see it here, as it comes up
again and shows up on the light side.
So, just FYI.
Another thing you don't see in nature,
that a lot of people do paint in there and
it just feels like it just doesn't look
Gonna show a little of those whites of the
eyes, which aren't gonna be that white.
Right in there.
And, I don't like it.
So I'm gonna tone it back.
We'll see it a little bit.
Maybe even too much to be honest.
And here, you're gonna see that a cheek
bone on both sides here a little bit more.
I just feel like you see it more.
Eyes are rolled back in his face.
And their saying
the ear back here.
And dark side of that ear.
[SOUND] Like
I think it start kinda playing with the.
With all kinds of stuff really.
Let's give him a little bit of a beard.
A little bit, maybe just a, at least a
goatee, you know?
Soft edged.
See what he looks like with a mustache.
Might not like it.
Now as the mustache goes into the shadow.
Because it's an actual object within an
Then you might see the dark side here.
But if it was a shadow you wouldn't,
but you're just seeing the dark side, like
And you might wanna get in some
you know this guy is a, this guy is a
beaten up guy.
He's been on the road.
So you're gonna get, gonna get a lot of
gonna get a lot of age, lot of wear and
tear out of him.
[NOISE] A skin,
the skin's cutting.
Getting those lines.
He's, he's starting to feel the pressure
of time, of the road.
Of all of the empty promises and broken
And it's not too hard edged, just subtle.
Subtle but with the form.
So this, these eyes are you know, sitting
in the,
in the zygomatic arch here it's in the eye
cavity here.
So you know, so you're gonna see just as
much, you're gonna see dark,
you might see some of that light, kind of
catch it.
The light's going down.
It's kinda catching it and brush it up.
Catch it here and you wanna get that.
I haven't really done is get that nose,
it's catching the corner of that nose.
See, catching the corner, the light
Corner, bam, like that.
Pop, pops it up.
[NOISE] Catches maybe just the ridge.
No, it's too much, it's too, it's too
Too unsubtle, bad choice.
It's okay, now I don't like it at all.
I don't like too much attention there.
I like to just kinda kill that noise.
Too much noise.
But I don't mind getting
into a little bit of what's going on here.
Just I like to see here the harsh,
the harshness of, of the weathered of his
face and
I feel like it shows more in his eyes and
as it hits the zygomatic arch, we could
feel it folding over.
You could feel it.
Feel the warmth.
It's warmer here and brighter.
Cheek bones are a little higher, so maybe
there's more light right here.
Hat folds over, see?
There's a little bit more light.
Right here.
Right here.
Light, right here.
Folds over.
All right.This hits the, the ridge like
It goes back in space.
And light's hitting that and
light's actually even catching a little
bit of that ridge there.
Like that.
It's a little bit subtle, cuz it's
leathery so
you feel it and just a little soften,
softening of the edges here and this
it's a little harsh but you know,
it's not rendering this at all.
Obviously, is not really the goal is to
The goal is just to get the spirit of the
character here,
going to get the spirit of him and as it
rolls down,
it's cascading over here.
Maybe even, stops right there, that cache
out of the nose.
Blends up, oh.
No, bad.
Very, very bad.
There we go.
Get that off.
Get that off.
Get that nose plane here.
That smoke kinda rising.
it kind of comes in and out of the
And showing that it's overlapping the hat
is important.
Kinda dancing to its own music, this
Smoke's kind of beautifully dancing.
It's getting just to be seen more in this
light here.
See, it's kinda pulling, like that.
It's subtle and with the smoke because the
light's coming down,
every once in a while, you'll just see
like a note
where the smoke's kinda lit as it goes in
and out.
Right here, right here, right here.
Just add a little bit.
Soften this edge.
Goes high into his high ridge of his nose
and softens down.
Now, let that eye going to be way darker
in there.
You see, the eyes are not really
going to read that much.
In fact, I'm kinda, I'm gonna take
it down just a little bit and kinda loose
it in the cavity.
Group it into the cavity.
So this eyelid feels like it's heavier
than this.
And I feel like we gotta be consistent.
Is he sad, then make him sad.
It's kinda like really sad.
And I'll take that down.
And you gotta wonder like, do we even
wanna, is it necessary to see his eyes.
It's very sad, huh?
just really profound.
And here, on this
side, [NOISE].
I'm just kind of digging in here trying to
some interesting darks to harmonize this,
to group it, to make it one shape.
Like that.
Or maybe, even to glaze the eyes over a
little soften it, soften it.
Did I mention soften it?
And just the hairs coming down.
And just to emphasize two things.
One, the hair coming down like this,
growing out of different patterns.
There's the hair, the mustache grows from
right here,
right under the opening of the nose, then
the mustache
also grows right above here, and then the
third place is right here.
So, it actually grows in three groups.
So, yeah, just think about little things
like that.
If you have that information, use it to
your advantage.
If you don't, it doesn't really matter
draw what you see,
draw what you, the best of your ability.
But just little things like that actually
do help.
I'm gonna go in with a pure white, put
that cigarette right
here on the paper like that.
Bam, see that?
[NOISE] And then,
I'm gonna take that white and pick up some
of the pores of the skin.
Just right in here, here.
Cause light's hitting there.
Hitting it there.
Hitting it there.
Hitting it there.
Not too much.
Not, no, tut, tut, tut tee bah da.
But enough.
To where it really shows the, what's
And then you might to come in with.
Some light lights here.
And like that, okay.
Well, there you have it, just a relatively
demo of my value character based on really
And if you could see my light lights right
in here, the cigarette,
the highlight on the nose, the hit on the
my dark darks being the cast shadow of the
hat, coming down the goatee.
Maybe a little bit of that leather area.
So, just think about the balance of that.
So if you have a lot here, maybe you wanna
kinda balance it with just, you know,
a little here, and a little here, and a
little here.
And, you know, everything is nicely
You have a good amount of light, good
amount of dark, and, of course,
everything in between.
So, use the full spectrum of your values.
Because you have it, it's there, and it's
an amazing thing.
Play with it.
You could do this with something out of
your imagination,
you could do a still life, and sky is the
Anybody could do it.
Have fun with it.