Still Life – Painting Metal

Posted on 2011/11/11 at 05:39 by daarken 48 Comments

Still life painting is one of the foundations of every good artist. Learning form and value is crucial for any artist, and it all starts with a metal pot. Painting a metal pot or an apple may not seem like fun and games, but it is a necessary step in learning how to understand form, value, and lighting which can then be used when painting objects from your imagination. Daarken will take you through the process of painting a metal pot from photo reference by showing you how to create a line drawing and then how to add value to your painting.

Before I launched the site I planned on linking to my reference image, but I could no longer find it online and I never saved it to my computer. The only thing I could do was screenshot the reference image from the actual video. Sorry for the low quality image, next time I will be sure to save the image and attach it. Thanks!

48 Comments on "Still Life – Painting Metal"

  1. bilgo · 2011/11/11 at 09:15 · Reply

    Daarken You are so awesome!

  2. Ages · 2011/11/11 at 09:18 · Reply

    Thank you greatly for this one, No one does “Singled out” material tutorials sometimes.

    Like Foliage, Trees from far away, cloth, metal, concreate. Please if you can, Do more material things like that.

    Particularly Cloth, and Far off trees( not entirely in the right catagorey) Ive always been a little puzzled on how to get a good tree in the background without having to go into crazy detail, and even then it never seems to form right in my head.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 09:32 · Reply

      You are most welcome. I definitely plan on doing more tutorials about painting certain types of objects, like trees and cloth. Hah, trees are always a pain to paint. I still need to come up with a good way to paint leaves without resorting to a leaf brush.

      • Ages · 2011/11/11 at 08:34 · Reply

        I suppose a leaf brush is fine cool, maybe in the tree tutorial direct to multiple ways of doing it i guess? i would love to find some leaf brushes and using them properly..

        It sucks though because fantasy and sweeping landscapes is something im going to have to strive for and if trees are tough then there is alot more work ahead, lol

  3. Ages · 2011/11/11 at 09:58 · Reply

    I’d also love to see some like Brushed steel heavy scifi armor stuff. on a robot or something.

  4. Flux · 2011/11/11 at 10:13 · Reply

    damn I’ve always hated painting still life, pots, apples and stuff, it’s so booooring, but right now I’m gonna start cause you make it seem so cool and you motivated me man!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 10:21 · Reply

      Lol. I felt the same way when I was in school. I guess I didn’t really see the value in it at the time and I only wanted to paint monsters. It is funny how things change with time. I actually really enjoy still life painting now. It seems really relaxing now. I guess it is a good break from the hectic freelance world; plus I don’t have ADs telling me what to do.

      • Ages · 2011/11/11 at 08:36 · Reply

        I got the same kind of art problem, because right now im only interested in figure characters for the most part even though im desperately wanting to make alot of Landscape, Perspective, Architecture.

        And incidentally sounds like a good tutorial name.

        Landscape, Perspective, Architecture.

    • Ages · 2011/11/11 at 08:34 · Reply

      Just give it a mouth and a pair of eyes to make it interesting and funny, or make a bunch of the same apples murdering other apples…


  5. Aurora · 2011/11/11 at 05:59 · Reply

    Thank you very much for sharing this to us.
    I love that you show the fundamental painting of still life.
    It’s very helpful.

  6. Eludor · 2011/11/11 at 07:27 · Reply

    Hey, first of all: thanks, great tutorial
    It really helped me to notice some minor things.

    And that’s not because I saw what you did, it’s more the things you said.

    I liked how you explained why you did those strokes and not something like “theres a shadow because there is no light”.

    Really helpfull

  7. Grigor · 2011/11/11 at 09:22 · Reply

    I actually stole such a teapot from my grnny’s recently and i will sit donw, replay your video for inspiration and paint it as soon as i get bk home. Just one question that bothers me, i have int 4 and i know it’s gr8 but i feel that the preaure lvls r messed up, i rly have to push to get the darkest of the colour and thats with everything at 100%. Where can i fix the preasuer lvls? probably in drivers or in PS somewhere :S
    I am sry i comment on every video i watch, i turned this into a Youtube :S

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 09:35 · Reply

      It depends on if you are working on a PC or Mac. For a Mac you go to “system preferences” and then “wacom tablet.” In there you can change the “tip feel” to be softer or harder. Soft means you press down more lightly to achieve full range, while hard you have to press down harder to achieve the full range. It allows you to test it in that panel, so just pick which one feels the best. For PC users, I think you just go to “control panel” and it is under there somewhere.

  8. Rickard Finndahl · 2011/11/11 at 10:48 · Reply

    Nice video! I gonna paint still life on the spot! Thanks daarken!

  9. Starexai · 2011/11/11 at 10:52 · Reply

    Hey there Daarken,

    I have been inspired by you since I read an article of you in 2007. It was about your experience getting hired for Mythic Entertainment. Since then, I have focused in school but I have not learned digital painting yet. Now I’m trying to push myself and I was ecstatic for your website.

    I have a question. I’m not sure if this relates to the recent post about pen pressure under the Wacom Tablet setting, but when you are using your first base of grey to block out the shading. I notice your brush has a slight opacity to it even though your Opacity is at 100% and your Flow is at 100%. I was wondering if you have a brush setting we don’t know about? A lot of the time beginners are completely lost on brush settings.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 11:06 · Reply

      Yeah, when I was in school they didn’t really teach digital either, I had to learn on my own.

      As for the brush setting, I have pen pressure turned on for “opacity jitter” under “other dynamics” in the brush controls. You can go to window – brushes to find the brush controls. I actually cover this and talk about all the brush controls in an upcoming video. Thanks!

      • Starexai · 2011/11/11 at 11:36 · Reply

        Which version of Photoshop do you have? I have CS5 but I found opacity jitter under “transfer”. I’m using a brush from your brush set. Just seems that you have a natural opacity to where you can build up as to mine it’s flat color.

        • Starexai · 2011/11/11 at 11:38 · Reply

          I think I solved it by changing a the pen pressure to medium under my tablet preferences… but I’m curious if you had a reply to my last comment.

          Thank you by the way!

        • daarken
          daarken · 2011/11/11 at 11:51 · Reply

          I actually have CS3 and CS5. For some reason in CS5 they changed the wording to “transfer,” but it is the same thing.

  10. Carlos Arthur · 2011/11/11 at 13:21 · Reply

    this tutorial is really inspiring, and good, and I always wondered how they do still life, and always had a difficult time to paint things look real, not if you remember, but once I asked you how to paint mountains, and you’re told him to get some pictures of the mountain on google and imitate, so I began to understand that all this is just to learn something of the texture, just like you taught us with the metal now, thank you for this tutorial … without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever seen

  11. BSL GraFiX · 2011/11/11 at 14:01 · Reply

    nice work! I enjoyed learning and watching the video.

  12. andrew · 2011/11/11 at 14:17 · Reply

    Hello daarken!

    First of all i have to say that all of your work is amazing!
    I’ve gone through a lot of your work and I’m really impressed of all the work you’ve done!
    I discovered you not too long ago over at Dave Rapoza’s blog through one of his livestream video-recordings, and I’m really glad I found your homepage because your stuff is amazing and I’m so grateful that you’re teaching your skills to us.

    As for myself I am new to drawing and I have no experience drawing what so ever but I have just started like a few weeks ago and I have to say your videos help me a lot!

    I am a fan of concept art drawing and I am aiming to become one over the next couple of years if I see any potential in myself as time goes on.

    Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do and greetings from Norway! :)

  13. Ages · 2011/11/11 at 18:41 · Reply

    Hi Draaken, if you have time give me some critique on this picture of a robot i did with the same mindset as the Teapot. haha.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:22 · Reply

      Haha, nice start! You could probably spend some more time cleaning up your edges. Also, you might want to consider having some of the red from his tie reflected in his body.

  14. motion · 2011/11/11 at 22:49 · Reply

    sweet tutorial. would be nice if there was a link to the reference image!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:20 · Reply

      Before I launched the site I actually tried to find the image I used so that I could link it, but for some reason I couldn’t find it online anymore. I never saved the image either. About the only thing I can do it screenshot the image from the tutorial.

  15. Rickard Finndahl · 2011/11/12 at 07:06 · Reply

    Hi Daarken! When you do still life paintings it would be nice if you upload the picture you paint. I try to download the picture but it was just a tumbnail. ;D

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:20 · Reply

      Before I launched the site I actually tried to find the image I used so that I could link it, but for some reason I couldn’t find it online anymore. I never saved the image either. About the only thing I can do is screenshot the image from the tutorial.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:33 · Reply

      I attached a screenshot from the video!

  16. Lukas · 2011/11/12 at 09:06 · Reply

    Hey Daarken, great site! Congratulations to the launch and thank you for putting so much effort into making these tutorials.

    It’s a pleasure to check this site out for updates regularly!

  17. Nightshine · 2011/11/12 at 09:36 · Reply

    This is really brilliant, Daarken :D Thanks so much for making this site, I am sure I’ll learn a lot of useful techniques and methods.

    In the last part you merge it all to a new level, but you can also click Cmnd+shift+opt+E to merge all to a new layer (you need to be on a visible layer for this to work). It helps me a lot in photography and other works where I use filters and want to apply them to the whole image, but I see that it can come in handy here too :)

    Keep up the great work, I’m going to suggest this site to my mates ;)

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 10:13 · Reply

      Oh cool, thanks for that shortcut, I didn’t know about it! It looks like it will only merge the whole image and not just a small selection. I guess it is similar to just flattening the image. Thanks again!

  18. Jane · 2011/11/12 at 12:44 · Reply

    Hey Daarken,
    I’ve been an admirer of your work for a long time. I’m currently learning on my own to be a concept artist/illustrator and your tips are an immense help.

    Quick question: How do you customize your controls so that you can flip the canvas quickly instead of going through the menu?

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this and helping out fledgling artists!


    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 23:19 · Reply

      No problem! All you have to do is bind your own shortcuts by going to edit – keyboard shortcuts and it can be found under image. I think I also go over it in one of the tutorials I am posting next week. Thanks!

  19. stamp price · 2011/11/14 at 20:15 · Reply

    Anyone uses a Wacom Bamboo tablet ? which is a good one to buy?

  20. Pribe · 2011/11/15 at 04:26 · Reply

    I am so grateful there are people out there like you, people who take the time to teach others.

    Especially for someone like myself who is just starting out!

    I’m going to find myself a metal pot right away and get on it ^^ Thanks daarken

  21. francis ansing · 2011/11/15 at 05:32 · Reply

    hidaarken. thanks for this great tutorial. can you do a tutorial on cloth wrinkles. wrinkles are pain in the ass to paint.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/15 at 09:47 · Reply

      Yes, I am planning on doing a tutorial on drapery soon. Thanks!

  22. DragonReine · 2011/11/18 at 00:57 · Reply

    You’ve been one of my main inspirations since I first came across your work in ImagineFX, specifically when I studied your “Deadly Encounter” tutorial in issue 58.

    Your process videos here are very enlightening (heh), and your commentary especially is very useful, since I’d only gone into digital art about two years ago, with no “artistic” background. So listening to you talk about fundamentals like the importance of values allows me to observe the practical application, in addition to the theory I’d been teaching myself.

    Looking forward to more vids!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/18 at 07:38 · Reply

      Thank you very much!

  23. Arkadiy · 2011/11/21 at 04:17 · Reply

    A video on proportion of the human body, perspective, and such would be a nice tutorial.. :3

  24. Sankey · 2011/12/04 at 01:27 · Reply

    Awesome tutorial bro….:)

  25. Alex · 2011/12/07 at 12:29 · Reply

    Thank you for the tutorial. Looking forward to more videos.

    Would love to see more advice on what studies are best to do as a beginner.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/07 at 12:39 · Reply

      Thanks! I will definitely be covering that in future tutorials, but as a short answer, people need to start out with the basics. This means drawing/painting fruits, inanimate object, shapes, etc. Yes it seems boring, but it is a necessary part to learning.

  26. Eric Amorim · 2012/04/21 at 13:44 · Reply

    Hello Daarken!
    How do you Flip the image?
    Thank you!

  27. Jenny · 2012/07/17 at 18:48 · Reply

    Hey Daarken!

    Thanks for doing this tutorial. I am in no way a digital painter, but I wanted to spend a lot of time doing still life this summer. This tutorial is incredibly helpful!

  28. Orhia · 2013/01/18 at 01:46 · Reply


    After a year of practicing how to draw I wanted to start digital painting now aswell and come on this site. Looking at this tutorial this might be a good start, I noticed you put a screenshot of the ref image. I took a few minutes to look around and found I think this is the one right? might be useful :)

    Greets Orhia

    PS. thanks for being an inspiration to me, I really need that at this stage of digital painting/drawing.

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