Amazing Traditional Art Painting Tutorial


WARNING: There is artistically tasteful nudity for the purpose of this tutorial.

Creating designs and graphics always produces attractive results. There may be digital painters who have never gone back to basics, who haven’t picked up a paintbrush or touched a canvas. The feel, texture and craftsmanship of creating an actual painting has been lost in this day and age, so for this post we have an award winning artist who describes in detail how it’s all done.

Step 1: Preparation

This painting took about two months to create. Most of the time involved waiting for the glazed layers on the woman’s body to settle, as well as letting the background and foreground objects dry.

I’m inspired by Surrealist painters like Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. Without heavily relying on their influence, I chose to paint a famous local scene near the sea here in Zhuhai, China and combine it with a classical nude figure. There are meanings behind the painting, but I’ll leave it for the viewer to work it out for themselves. Also, each picture was painted with a different hand…but that’s just showing off on my part!

Your setup will differ, but this was used to create the painting:

Step 2: Art Setup

  • Pre-Primed Standard Cotton Canvas (This example used two 50x50cm canvases).
  • Oil paints, Rembrandt or Van Gogh are recommended.
  • Linseed Oil for thinning paints.
  • Selection of brushes and palette knife.
  • Soft pencil for sketching, ruler optional.
  • Adjustable easel.

Followers of Italian Renaissance painters such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci know that Mathematics was heavily influenced their artwork. I used instruments such as protractors and rulers to get the correct angles and dimensions.

Further Reading

  • How to make a Canvas
  • Artist painting brushes
  • Using oil paint
  • Rene Magritte site
  • Dali Gallery online

Step 3: Painting from Concept to Final

Firstly, make sure the canvas is “primed” which involves painting a layer of matt white paint on raw canvas and sandpapering off the paint bubbles. Note: Most bought canvases are already pre-primed and ready to go.

I think the most important stage of creating a painting is having the correct sketch as it will save time in the long run.

Concept Sketch

Step 4

Next, combine a layer of oil paint and thinner together and colour each section of the painting. Under painting of greens and blues give a painting more depth and is the start of a glazing technique.


Step 5

Focusing on the body I painted in muscles, veins and shadows. The next layer was painted on the sea, a muddy brown on top of the blue colour.

Body painting

Step 6

The background was painted over with a wash of greys and white colours, the rocks at the back are more blended and have a sense of distance. At this stage the body colours are continually worked on, using a combination of whites, yellows and pinks.


Step 7

From this stage the background is already complete, my focus is on the body tones. The body colours are much too orange, however I’m using the effect of chiaroscuro by blending light into dark. Note the greens and blues can be seen in the under painting.

Close up

Step 8

The blocks in the foreground are complete using a mix of browns and paint smeared in with fingers. The body is nearly complete also, with more light added.


Step 9

The final finish is by adding the see-through red colour which gives shape to the missing figures, paint is applied thinly with a little linseed oil to allow the objects underneath to become visible.

Red Colour

Final Piece

I hope you liked this tutorial and feel free to leave a comment below. BTW These paintings are for sale and if you want the figure model’s number it will cost extra!


About the Artist

Born in the UK and now living in China, Giles Dawe is a full time painter who has displayed work in the UK, Europe and Asia. Upon graduating, he worked as a web designer and illustrator for news media corporations and Central Government.

His work has been featured in websites, magazines, galleries and is available for commissions.

His next exhibition called “Beautiful Melancholy” will be from 26 June to 12 July 2021 at:
Gallery by the Harbour, Level 2, Ocean Center, Harbour City, Canton Road, T.S.T. Kowloon, Hong Kong

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Only comments in English will be approved!


  1. Giles Dawe

    Thanks Denis Designs!

    Could I also mention my next exhibition called “Beautiful Melancholy” will be from 26 June to 12 July 2021 at:
    Gallery by the Harbour, Level 2, Ocean Center, Harbour City, Canton Road, T.S.T. Kowloon, Hong Kong

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    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  3. Josue Wiltshire

    Let’s write history! you are challenged to make this painting worlds most exclusive. Forget van Gogh, Rembrandt because here you’ll truly find world’s most expensive painting. Good luck bidders and thank you press and world for your attention.

  4. Elgart

    This is fantastic tutorial! The sketching part I think is the most difficult.

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