3 Different Ways to Kickstart a Painting

If you are feeling stuck at a blank canvas in Photoshop, holding your stylus in hand and feeling like throwing it at the wall from frustration(I know, I have been there many times), there are a few workflows you can use to overcome the so-called artist’s block.

Here are some of the techniques I apply into my own work that is proven to help me every time! Also having some kind of plan like these to follow will ensure you have less anxiety and stress too!

1. First way

  • Download free interesting brushes or use ones that come with Photoshop, try using very dynamic shape brushes, we want to maximize our ‘’happy accidents’’!

  • Work black and white or color, but the main important point with this method is to keep your mind open and look for what interests you in this abstract mess.

  • You want to chisel into your shapes, flip the canvas as well, and don’t forget that we are not adding much detail to anything. This should be very loose and make you end up with a sketch idea for the painting you want to make!


2. second way

  • Find an interesting photo, use google or other image search engines.

  • Get acquainted with the Mixer Brush, what it does and how powerful it can be.

  • Use mixer brush on the photo and search for cool shapes and colors!

  • End up with a sketch you enjoy and leave it, or push it as far as you want to.


3. third way

  • Use any of the above workflows! So this might seem like a given, but you can and should mix and match all the tools at your disposal to the best work you can possibly do.

  • Use the Crop tool and zoom in.

  • Copy, paste, resize and just crop and resize the image as your heart desires!

  • One of the most used and powerful tools in Photoshop are layer filters. Let’s say that after all this you end up with some pretty good shapes on the canvas. But you start to feel that the values or colors could change? Keep scrolling over these filters and find one that creates something interesting.

  • Use and abuse of the Camera Raw Filter functionality, it gives you amazing control over your image.

  • After all this, you should have some interesting ideas of where to take your sketch, or even what you want to explore for your next piece!


Don’t be held back by what other people do or don’t do.

You have found an interesting image to use? Great! Or did you find an old painting kicking around in your C:/Digital_Painting/Crap_folder? Great, use that and mix it up! You will be surprised by how simple workflows like these can make your stressed and confused mind forget about its problems and start to generate ideas. This is not a magic solution and you will still get stumped here and there during the process. But the best thing to do in these situations is to jump into it and don’t ever give up!

Bruno Galuzzi CorsiniComment