Comics Characters Oil Paintings

Updated: 23 Apr 2018

Oil painting of comics characters

The Difference between Comics Characters and Realistic Characters

Comic characters painting has distinct characteristics different from realistic characters painting.


Comics drawings are, usually, made from saturated colors, meaning sharp and rich colors.

In realistic style painting, according to lighting conditions, climate, atmospheric perspective and other factors, the colors will be less saturated. The quickest way to reduce saturation is to add a bit of the opposite color in the color wheel.

Shades & Transitions:

Comics are characterized by a single hue for each part of the figure. Therefore, it is recommended to mix the appropriate color for each shade in advance.

In realism, because of the three-dimensional structure of each object, the lighting conditions and other factors, each point in the figure will be affected differently and there will always be transitions of different types.

In realistic painting, one can mix a palette of different colors and different brightness values in advance or mix the colors while working and then blend them while painting.

This way, transitions in brightness values, colors, temperature and so on, can be made.

Paintbrushes & Texture:

Paintbrushes can also give texture to a painting.

Brushstrokes can create some areas that are curved inward while other areas curved outward. This leads to areas with different height values, which affected differently by any light source and thereby create different brightness values ​​for the observer.

For comics, with a uniform color, brushes from synthetic hair can be used.

In addition, there are oil painting brushes for smoothing brushstrokes and for blending.

Round synthetic brush for comics Round synthetic brush
Mop brush for smoothing and blending Mop brush for blending

Examples of how to draw comics characters in oil colors:

Snow White Oil Painting

First step will be pencil drawing of the character.

Second step is the actual painting.

Usually, it is convenient to paint the "far" layers first. For example, painting the landscape first and then the figure.

With experience, there is no difference in starting with distant or near areas of the landscape; it is a matter of personal preference and the type of project.

Using synthetic brushes for smooth surface with no brushstrokes.

It is advisable to mix the colors in advance for painting comics.

Violet color palette Violet color palette
Painting the collar of Snow White Violet & white for the collar

For the skin color, mixing red and yellow to create orange and adding a lot of white.

If the result is too saturated, adding a bit of blue, which is the opposite color of orange, will decrease the saturation.

Skin color palette Skin color palette
Painting the sking of Snow White Red, yellow & white

For the hair, mixing ultramarine blue and burnt umber to create black.

Using blue and violet for the light areas of the hair. White makes the hair look like gray hair.

Hair color palette Hair color palette
Painting the hair of Snow White Blue & violet for light areas

For Snow White's bodice, mixing blue with a bit of brown to create a dark blue.

Adding red (alizarin crimson) to the mixture, making it a bit violet.

Gradually adding white for lighter shades.

Violet color palette for bodice Bodice color palette
Violet blue bodice for Snow White Violet blue bodice

Snow White oil painting:

Oil painting of Snow White, Disney Oil painting of Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney 1937)

Merida Oil Painting

Example of drawing comics in a slightly realistic style.

Drawing directly with a brush instead of a pencil.

Drawing with a paintbrush Drawing with a paintbrush
Drawing merida with a paintbrush Finished drawing

The landscape will be affected by atmospheric perspective.

By making the background less noticeable, the figure will stand out more.

Painting the background landscape for Merida Painting the landscape first
Painting the face of the figure Painting the face

The hair can be painted using a fan paintbrush from hog bristles.

Merida is a figure with complementary colors: orange hair and blue outfit.

Other examples of Disney characters with complementary colors:

Rapunzel (Tangled) - yellow hair and purple dress.

Ariel (The Little Mermaid) - red hair and green dress.

Painting the hair for Merida Fan paintbrush for the hair
Painting the blue outfit for Merida Blue outfit

Merida oil painting:

Oil painting of Merida, Brave, Disney 2012 Oil painting of Merida (Brave, Disney 2012)

Mickey Mouse Oil Painting

The background for Mickey Mouse oil painting from the movie Fantasia can be painted with Prussian blue.

Mickey Mouse oil painting, Fantasia Oil painting of Mickey Mouse (Fantasia, Disney 1940)