Enliighten Debut – Speedy Paint

Posted on 2011/10/27 at 08:21 by daarken 79 Comments

Welcome to Enliighten.com! We are happy to bring you this special debut tutorial for the launch of Enliighten.com. In this tutorial Daarken will take you through the process of creating a 30 minute speed painting from start to finish. Everything is filmed in real-time so that you can see everything Daarken is doing. If you have any questions or comments, please leave some feedback! Also, don’t forget to visit the forum!

Note – At the end of the tutorial Daarken decided to spend another 30 minutes refining the painting. You can download the PSD file so that you can see the different changes he made. All of the layers are intact so that you can explore them for yourself. Have fun!

79 Comments on "Enliighten Debut – Speedy Paint"

  1. Ages · 2011/11/11 at 10:06 · Reply

    You made me paranoid about Carpal Tunnel…Graaahhh…

    I love your stuff (though not a big fan of the wacky DND elves and dwarves kind of stuff) You’re an amazing painter and all these things you show are so useful.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 10:23 · Reply

      Haha. Well it is definitely good to be aware of the dangers, plus it doesn’t take much time or effort to develop some good work habits. Just take breaks often!

  2. Nico · 2011/11/11 at 10:19 · Reply

    Hi Daarken !

    (sorry for my poor english… :))
    Congratulation for your website ! I’m a fanboy of your art and I love all of your artworks.
    This speedpainting video is awesome ! And you know why ? Because (for me) this piece is alive. Brush strokes ! Huuuum I love ! 30 minutes obliged you to build this character with few brush strokes and to give us the sensation of reality. My brain takes over to imagine the details.
    I follow your career since 2009. Progression is awesome, and detail level to ! But life is less present (for me).
    What do you think about this idea ?

    You are a super artist !

    Bye !


    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 02:30 · Reply

      Thanks for the kind words! I definitely understand what you are saying about a painting losing a bit of its life during the refinement process. Many times I like my sketches more than the final, but the problem these days is that many art directors want very refined paintings. I’ve turned in some really refined and detailed paintings and received the feedback of “please refine this painting more.” Even when I was a concept artist I always received the feedback of “please detail everything out.” I see all of these really great and energetic concept paintings from other artists and I wonder how they got those approved by their art director, haha. I alway envy speed painters and I have never really considered myself one.

  3. Dave Kapah · 2011/11/11 at 02:47 · Reply

    great video!
    you work way is really cool
    but one thing pissed me off so badly
    that teacher of yours i can’t stand people like him!
    any way very coll site i’ll be sure to check it out from time to time and tell people about it
    thank you for your time work and thought

  4. Warren Jerzyszek · 2011/11/11 at 04:25 · Reply

    Awesome dude! Enliighten is already an awesome blog. Keep the good tuts coming. One of my favourite things is you talk about your experiences as your painting. Really interesting stuff.

  5. Judy · 2011/11/11 at 04:55 · Reply

    WOW!!! Daarken thanks so much. Since you talked about your website in youtube I have been waiting for it. I really appreciate all your kindness and for giving this for free. And I am sure everybody appreciate it too. I follow your art and you. God bless you and God bless your wife too. And I hope she is doing well.
    Thanx so much!!!

    This website is AMAZING!!!!!

  6. Nick Kay · 2011/11/11 at 06:55 · Reply

    Hey Mike,

    Great stuff- I’ll make sure to spread the word. :)

  7. Ages · 2011/11/11 at 08:29 · Reply

    There is this guy named Brad wright who makes these crazy crazy detailed 20 minute speed runs.


    I think its the workflow that helps you get that fast i guess. and knowing where your imagination is leading.

    Also, what cool music is that that is playing in the little intervals?

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

      Oh wow, those are awesome! Yeah I wish I could create something like that in 20 minutes. I think my main problem is that I don’t really have a clear vision ahead of time. Guys like this usually know exactly what they want to do. I kind of have to try and force myself to be creative. Like I said in the video, my designs come out during the painting process and through trial and error.

  8. Eludor · 2011/11/11 at 08:34 · Reply

    Looks god, and it’s a bit diffrent from all the fantasy you’re doing.

    He kinda looks like a mix between Fallout/Jin Roh/Killzone. (Well everyone had his glowing eyes, so it’s not suprising)

    Can’t wait to see your explanation about the curves and colourbalance. And I’m still wondering how you did that details on the armor even though I watched the vid.
    Probably it’s the looseness from the begining and not refining the forms directly to a point where it looks like a gradient.

    Great painting, great website, can’t wait for the next vids, and hopefully you’ll stay motivated to do this a long time.

    Thanks for your effort, it’s a lot of work :)

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

      Thank you! I’ve noticed that a lot of times when I do my own personal work there are a lot more sci-fi elements to them. Maybe it is because I am stuck painting fantasy characters all day long, I dunno.

      In future videos I will be going over specific things like color balance, curves, etc.

  9. Kambey · 2011/11/11 at 08:40 · Reply

    Hi Darkeen!

    Thanks a lot for the info on carpal and ergonomic workspace, never really care about any of this matter before and same as you did, I always thought that I’m invincible to everything. Guess gotta start changing the habit now on, although I found it quite awkward now to have the tablet at the side because of the way how the screen maps on the tablet. Anyway, I really appreciate the tutorials that you have made so far. You’re a great artist and I hope that someday I’ll be as “cool” as you.

    Thank you!

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

      Thanks! Yeah when I first started I didn’t even think about carpal tunnel. It definitely isn’t that hard to try and take breaks often, so I would try to get in the habit because it can save you a lot of pain in the long run.

  10. Gille New · 2011/11/11 at 10:33 · Reply

    This is really amazing Daarken, this darker style is something that really inspires.
    I would like to know how to overcome all the limits and work for large companies, contributing to the historical level of magnificent arts and gaining the attention of many fans.

    Congratulations, this video is excellent.

  11. Carlos De la Vega · 2011/11/11 at 10:50 · Reply

    Hey Daarken,

    Congratulations for this website, i think is the first step of maybe something really bigger, if there’s something that can i help, just tell me :D, i’m a concept artist too.

    Carlos De la Vega

  12. Carlos Arthur · 2011/11/11 at 11:04 · Reply

    I’m your fan, needless to say you must be tired to know XD..very good tutorial, I really loved the speed paint, when you talked about smoke and dust, I remembered that I do it when I can not draw something xD, which is kind of wrong, because when you can not draw, we must learn to draw, but … is a good escape, and makes the work more “mystical/enigmatic” … Thanks for the tutorial :D.
    I see that I have much to learn, you should open a design school, I certainly would xD

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/11 at 17:09 · Reply

      Haha, yeah I wouldn’t really suggest trying to hide what you can’t draw. If you can’t draw something, draw it until you can. Hiding your weaknesses will only hold you back. I would only suggest it if you are short on time or if it actually improves the illustration.

  13. Niki Smith · 2011/11/11 at 15:35 · Reply

    I could watch this kind of thing all day. Great speedy! Helps to know that someone else doesn’t always know what they’re doing before they start doing it. I think that is one of the hardest things to deal with (at times) as an artist, but also one of the most ‘free’ styles of artistic process. I think I can speak for everyone when I say the time you took to put this website up here and do these videos is very much appreciated. I don’t think you have to be a novice to enjoy learning about what another artist goes through during their creative process. I love to learn what other artists have to say, what they go through or have been through and so on. I went to the Art Academy of Cincinnati for a short time before I decided to do something completely different. That teacher of yours being so ridiculous is sad, but not all that uncommon. Glad you said “screw it” and kept on going. You are a really great artist.
    Keep up the awesome work. :D

  14. Skyllberg · 2011/11/11 at 16:31 · Reply

    Fucking awesome Daarken! looking forward to the basics of drawing and painting vids as well as I really want to learn that stuff ^^

    Also it’s super interesting to hear your stories from like art school and stuffs like that while you’re painting, more of that please ^^

  15. Ben Ryan · 2011/11/11 at 18:28 · Reply

    Awesome work!

    I’m a game programmer/artist. The work I do usually forces me to become more of a programmer, but then it’s videos like yours that inspire me to keep doing art.

    Love the site and will definitely keep coming back to watch your videos.

  16. Kenneth Fairclough · 2011/11/11 at 19:40 · Reply

    Great site! thank you.

  17. Omr · 2011/11/11 at 20:14 · Reply

    Awesome video! My only crit is suppose is that I’d love if you explained a bit more during the early stages to say what exactly you’re doing.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:35 · Reply

      Which part do you mean?

  18. McLean · 2011/11/11 at 20:54 · Reply

    Hey Daarken, great stuff, this is great to have on while I’m working. I was wondering, any chance you can crank up the volume on these vids? I can’t even hear it when my laptop speakers are cranked up, and on my headphones its still pretty quiet. Am I missing a way to increase the volume on the vid itself?

    Either way, great stuff man, I’m sure i’ll be back.

  19. McLean · 2011/11/11 at 20:56 · Reply

    aaaaaaaaaand disregard my last comment. technical difficulties. My compliments remain, however. :B

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/12 at 09:36 · Reply

      Hah, no problem. Just as long as the volume on my videos are fine. I tested them out when I recorded them and they seemed fine, so you scared me for a second!

  20. chris-anyma · 2011/11/12 at 02:37 · Reply

    Great website Daarken, you had an awesome concept for it and i am sure loads of people will fallow it and find it extremely helpful, really awesome



  21. Evolvingeye · 2011/11/12 at 05:41 · Reply

    So glad this site is finally out.. Been a huge fan for a while and your previous tutorials have helped immensely.. So thanks!!

  22. Michael · 2011/11/12 at 12:40 · Reply

    Hey Daarken

    Just wanted to drop by and say congrats on the new website, im really dign it. I love all your art work. I’ve been studying your work for quite sometime now. Keep up the good work?

  23. Elvis A. Marrero · 2011/11/13 at 01:35 · Reply

    Hi! your tutorial was awesome..its actually the first time i learn something from a tutoriall…and thats because you are so illustrative in your explanation… you carriend me through the tutorial…and it was not sped up!..i really learned..im so happy!
    thank you

  24. WillGreen · 2011/11/14 at 05:30 · Reply

    Thanks for the site Daarken!!

    I found the tutorial really informative, and specially loved the fact that you try to show everything realtime and avoiding too much shortcuts, wich on a tut can make things confusing.

    Cant wait for the next ones :D

  25. Mosk · 2011/11/14 at 13:56 · Reply

    Wow thanks Daarken for this great tutorial, it is realy helpfull.

    I already have painted a illustration using your techniques and it realy came out great.

    The workflow you use is realy relaxing for me and an awesome way to build up a picture from skratch to finished.

    Well can’t wait to watch more of your videos, wish you all the best luck with the site and hope it will bloom into something uber masive.

    Cheers and greets from holland

    Sander Mosk

  26. Jorge · 2011/11/15 at 10:59 · Reply

    Supercool mennnn! I think it´s gonna be very helpfull.

  27. Christopher "lagxbag" Legecky · 2011/11/15 at 12:16 · Reply

    Really inspiring, truly helpful in establishing a great workflow!

    A big, big thank you from me, I love your work and the effort you put out to help other aspiring artists and hobbyists.

    A question for you – did you actually aim to do art throughout school or did you understand what you wanted to do after you got truly independent on your choices of life? Really interested to compare to me and my possible future – I will finish high school soon, but I do not have art classes of any sort and haven’t had one for a few years, nor do I have any art history or anything like that. In fact, the school is bent on the political and economical side of things, but damn, that’s boring, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to link my life with those studies.

    Congratulations on the release of the website, so far it’s exceptional, in my opinion. I can’t wait for more videos from you!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/15 at 16:10 · Reply

      Thanks! Hah, I actually went to college for computer programming at first and did a year of that before I realized I hated computer programming. I didn’t really know what else to do, but I had always enjoyed painting so I decided to go to school for art.

      Most high schools have horrible art classes, if any. I would take advantage of all of the online resources as much as possible.

      • Christopher "lagxbag" Legecky · 2011/11/16 at 12:03 · Reply

        I do not if your reply makes me happy or scares me, since, believe it or not, I am hoping to learn computer programing next year in college.

        To learn art did you go to an art college or did you take different courses, and such? I don’t know anything about how it’s possible to become a true artist, how to learn art.

        Thank you so much for the reply. =3

        • daarken
          daarken · 2011/11/16 at 13:49 · Reply

          Yes I went to an art school, but you do not need to go to school in order to become a professional artist. As long as you have the discipline and drive to teach yourself, you should be fine. Just be sure to take advantage of online tutorials, post your work for critiques, talk to other professionals on art forums, and ask a lot of questions. Just realize it can take many years of hard work before you reach a professional level.

  28. Lightcurse · 2011/11/15 at 12:49 · Reply

    Hey Daarken!
    Nice tutorial :) I enjoyed every minute of it :) You made a nice tutorial, also sorry about the teacher thing what you just told us in the tutorial, shitty teacher :P. I’m not good at all in digital painting, I tried many times but… I always give up like, I don’t have to ambition or I don’t know man… if I screw it up I get nervous somehow and I quit photoshop, weird isn’t it? Heh… also I would liked to ask you if you could send me that brush you use for that cool grungy painting :) Good job overall :) love your style ;)

  29. Laura · 2011/11/15 at 21:57 · Reply

    Really benefit from your tutorial :)
    Thank you so much.

  30. Rayzer · 2011/11/16 at 06:49 · Reply

    As usual, great stuff! Very glad to hear that you will be starting this site out with the basics for us art newbs. Thanks for what you are doing here!!

  31. Aurore · 2011/11/17 at 07:36 · Reply

    I’ve trouble to see the video, i’ve just this message and no way to find the url to see it on vimeo


    The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain. This is a Vimeo Plus feature.”

    (i live in France, if it’s relevant ..)

  32. Aurore · 2011/11/17 at 07:39 · Reply

    Oh in fact it does work on Google Chrome !
    Not on my Firefox, and i don’t have any clue to tell why … :/

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/17 at 08:02 · Reply

      You are trying to watch the video from my site and it doesn’t work? That is weird. I don’t allow other sites to embed my videos, but they should work on enliighten.com.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/17 at 08:20 · Reply

      I just tested my site with Firefox and all of the videos work fine. Maybe you are trying to embed them on a site I didn’t give permission for.

      • Aurore · 2011/11/18 at 09:08 · Reply

        Oh no embed thing or else, i’m just on enliighten.com, and even in Safe-mode Firefox the video don’t show (so it’s not a add’on conflict) :/
        Well nevermind, i can see the videos on Chrome !

        ps: and your tutorials are awesome, as usual ! \o/

        • Aurore · 2011/11/18 at 10:33 · Reply

          Awwkey I found the problem, well I reset my Firefox parameters and now it works ! Sorry for the trouble, it was my bad ! ^^

          • daarken
            daarken · 2011/11/18 at 15:26 ·

            Lol no problem. I’m glad you got it to work. You had me worried for a second :).

  33. William · 2011/11/17 at 10:05 · Reply

    Hi Daarken,
    In the video you talk about having a hard time just doing personal works, because of the endless posibilies of things you could draw. My quastion is, how did you then get enough skill to work in the industry? :) btw site is awesome.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/17 at 10:29 · Reply

      Haha, good question! I never actually asked how clients found out about me, but I guess it was just from me posting on conceptart.org and my site. I used to post my school work and figure drawing studies, so I guess they hired me based on that stuff. Near the end of school I had classes like “Sci-Fi Illustration” that gave homework assignments that appeared as “personal” work to the outside viewer. Like I said though, most of the time I only need a sentence or two to get me going.

      • William · 2011/11/18 at 05:50 · Reply

        Cool, thanks for answer :)

  34. Sean McClain · 2011/11/17 at 10:13 · Reply

    5 mins in to watching this and I already had an epiphany about photoshop brushes. when I do oil I only have like two types of brushes they are just in varied sizes so using two types of photoshop brushes is basically the proper equivalent(sounds obvious but after 3 years of digital painting that just hit me lol) will definitely watch the whole thing!
    Thanx Daarken.:)

  35. valp · 2011/11/17 at 11:54 · Reply

    Oh man, you’re my idol!!!!!

  36. todd kowalski · 2011/11/17 at 15:48 · Reply

    Awesome, thanks a lot!

  37. spotlight · 2011/11/25 at 12:48 · Reply

    Hi, love your work, and your new site!
    Your link to the psd seems to be broken, and it would be nice if you showed us your “fire” tricks at the end of the video :-)

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/11/25 at 13:08 · Reply

      Thanks for the heads up. Not sure how the link got broken since I tested it before I launched the site. It should be fixed now. I actually cover the fire technique in an upcoming tutorial.

  38. Brad · 2011/12/05 at 12:17 · Reply

    Awesome stuff man. Thanks so much for the site and all your youtube stuff. As a junior in artschool now I can tell you there’s still a little feud between digital and traditional haha and my school doesn’t really teach technique for digital. If it wasn’t for you and massive and massive black tutorials I wouldn’t paint half as well as I do now. So thanks man!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/05 at 13:53 · Reply

      Thanks! I hope I can continue to help!

  39. Drew · 2011/12/05 at 12:35 · Reply

    Fantastic looking site. Looking forward to many tutorials to come. God’s Grace and Peace!

  40. Tizbi · 2011/12/05 at 12:53 · Reply

    wow I think you’re one of the most inspiring artists out there~
    thanks for the information about the carpal tunnel, I’ve never really thought about it until I watched your video. I was talking to my friend in class today about it, she said that you can get surgery for it? c:
    Your story about the prof was really surprising, I thought… you know, a great artist like you probably never got criticized that harshly (although ofcourse not on drawing skills), I guess it happens to everyone

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/05 at 13:53 · Reply

      Thanks! Yes, surgery is an option but not one that always works. Many times you have to keep getting surgery. I know some people that got the surgery and they were not allowed to work for 6 months. I can’t do that, I have to pay bills. I’ve also heard people that got the surgery, and then a few months later all of their problems were back and it was as if they never got the surgery in the first place. Also, not everyone is a candidate for surgery. It is something you have to discuss with your physician.

  41. joel portillo · 2011/12/05 at 14:53 · Reply

    what is the resolution you begin working in? I noticed some artists work in a small canvas and then add onto them.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/05 at 20:33 · Reply

      I always start in 300 dpi. Sometimes I make my canvas between 2-3k pixels wide and then scale it up to 5-6k pixels after my sketch is done.

  42. Michael · 2011/12/09 at 15:13 · Reply

    Hey daarken this character looks like a potential design for the game Mortal Kombat. Also, are you going to do a colored painting of that Nibru character on your youtube page.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/09 at 16:11 · Reply

      I might if I ever get around to it, but right now I don’t have plans to. I’ll probably talk about adding color to a B&W painting in another tutorial.

  43. waqas · 2011/12/16 at 07:47 · Reply

    hi, when you start painting how do you tell yourself that this is what i am going to paint . i am learning to be a concept artist ,when i start painting i dont have a clue what i am going to draw and i keep sitting in front of the screen and thinking but nothing comes up how should i deal with it and also i am going to do a diploma from vancouver animation school online( http://www.vanas.ca ) i was studying fine art , i completed 2 years but left because i felt i was wasting time there and not doing concept art, although i have built my drawing skills and design skills. do you think i am in right direction? Do i have to have a degree in fine art? and what do u think about diploma in concept art.
    thank you very much.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2011/12/16 at 10:08 · Reply

      I actually talk about art school in the FAQ section of this site. Just go to info – FAQ. The short answer is no, you don’t need to go to art school. Also, while fine art will give you training in drawing and painting, it isn’t ideal for a concept artist. You would be better to go into Illustration as opposed to Fine Art.

      I also have problems coming up with ideas. I have spoken about this many times in other videos and other written posts as well. I think I talk about it in the very first tutorial on this site, the Speedy Debut tutorial. I have problems coming up with my own personal work, which is why I like to work from a brief. If someone gives me a sentence or two I can start painting, but when the possibilities are endless, I have trouble narrowing down what to paint. You can always try doing those Creature of the Day challenges or Character of the Day, or whatever challenge they have on the various art forums. Usually they will give everyone a brief like, cowboy ninjas, and then people do their interpretation. It can be a good way to get ideas. There are also programs that will randomly generate ideas, so that might help get the juices flowing.

  44. waqas · 2011/12/16 at 07:48 · Reply


    and also can you tell by looking at this that i am in right direction.

  45. mrangelperez · 2012/03/04 at 12:11 · Reply

    thanks for the inspiration! im about to start an assignment for a class i have with mike corriero and this speed paint gave me some ideas for a new approach to digital painting (something im having a lot of trouble with.) i noticed u started with a black and white value painting first then added color. ive heard about this technique before but never saw it being applied so i never cared to remember it. so again, thanks for sharing this video :)

  46. Gandosh · 2012/06/12 at 23:42 · Reply

    Hi daarken :) Im learning to draw almost 2 years. Still practicing on Photoshop. I just wanna draw just like you. But i cant draw my imagining creature’s and some things. Im still drawing copy pictures. So can u give me some advice :). Problem is cant draw my imagination :(. There’s too many things in my head. But cant draw those things. What’s the problem ? Thank you. [sorry for my bad english] :)

  47. Spellsword95 · 2012/07/06 at 08:01 · Reply

    Hey, just wanted to say thanks for this awesome tutorial. I was curious how to color grayscale sketches and now I finally figured it out. And I didn’t know about these blank layers with contrasts/tones/levels/etc. It helped me a lot and saved many hours of time.
    You rock, keep up good work!

    By the way, will you ever update your ConceptArt sketchbook?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/07/06 at 15:22 · Reply

      Awesome, I’m glad it helped! Hah, probably not. I haven’t had time to do any personal work lately, so I doubt I will be posting in that thread anytime soon. I probably haven’t posted in that thing for several years, haha.

  48. Elva · 2012/10/12 at 03:15 · Reply

    Thnx for sharing your great art process with us all! You are amazing! Very educational and done in a very pleasant manner!

  49. jbone · 2013/01/26 at 18:05 · Reply

    awesome work, and thank you for your site, its helping new artist every where!

  50. Jana · 2015/01/20 at 09:50 · Reply

    Thanks for mentioning which brushes you prefer – there are so many great tutorials out there but I wish they would go more in depth on what they were using in photoshop. It’s helpful for those of us making the transition from traditional media to digital :)

    • daarken
      daarken · 2015/01/31 at 08:06 · Reply

      No problem! I’m glad I could help!

  51. RLToscano · 2015/01/29 at 15:05 · Reply

    Hello, Daarken.

    I’m watching every single video of this page. It’s simply amazing! Congratulations for your awesome work and thank you!

    I’m a beginner on drawing and painting and it simply inspires me. Your observation/advice on the brushes was very cool. I’ll follow it :).

    Again: thank you. I’m your fan lol.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2015/01/31 at 08:05 · Reply

      Thanks! I’m glad I could help!

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