Live Encore: Digital Speed Painting | Nikkolas Smith | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Capturing Someone’s Essence


    • 4.

      Adding Highlight & Shadow


    • 5.

      Adding Texture & Dimension


    • 6.

      Finding Tones for Shading


    • 7.

      Adjusting Facial Features


    • 8.

      Using Overlay Layers


    • 9.

      Adding Expressive Details


    • 10.

      Finishing Touches


    • 11.



    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Watch a master at work while learning how to paint more quickly and freely.

Artist and activist Nikkolas Smith has been creating a new piece of art every week for the last seven years using his unique speed painting process. In this hour-long class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—you’ll get to watch in real time as Nikkolas digitally paints a portrait of Malcolm X from scratch.

Throughout the class, you'll learn about the benefits of speed painting—from letting go of perfectionism to enjoying creation as a therapeutic practice—while also picking up some specific techniques from how Nikkolas approaches his work. Along the way, students who participated in the live session were able to ask questions, giving you an even deeper insight into Nikkolas’ inspiration and process. 

Great for artists of all ages and experience levels, this class will help you carve out some time to actually create something.


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nikkolas Smith

Concept Artivist / Illustrator / Author


Nikkolas Smith, a native of Houston, Texas, is a Master of Architecture recipient from Hampton University. After designing theme parks at Walt Disney Imagineering for 11 years, he is now a Concept artist, Children's Books Author and Film Illustrator. 

He also creates activist art paintings and Hollywood movie posters (Black Panther, Beale Street, Southside With You, Dear White People, Stranger Fruit). He is a proud 2016 White House Innovators of Color fellow. As an illustrator of color and an Artivist, Nikkolas is focused on creating captivating art that can spark important conversations in today's world and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral and globally published sketches are included in his latest book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas, a visual journey on life... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: The whole thing about speed painting is that you don't want to over think it. Just let your pen fly and throw some paint on the canvas, and just create something, and just for the therapeutic feeling of creating something. Hello, my name is Nikkolas Smith and I'm an artivist. You may have seen some of my work. I recently created a mural at Downtown Disney of Chadwick Boseman. I've created the Obama family as The Incredibles, Martin Luther King Jr in a hoodie, a lot of different pieces like that. I've been working on Sunday sketches, which is my sketch series for the past seven years. I create a new art piece every Sunday. So today, I want to walk you guys through step-by-step how I create my digital paintings. I'm going to do a portrait today of Malcolm X. A lot of people ask me how my process is created, and I just wanted to do a quick walk-through of how I do my speed paintings. Specifically for Malcolm X, he has this quote that says, "Truth is on the side of the oppressed," and I just thought that was so powerful. I haven't created a painting of Malcolm X ever. So I thought, why not? Feel free to paint alongside me as I'm painting. I'm working in Adobe Photoshop on a [inaudible]. You can use whatever you like, whatever software works best for you. We'll just work on it together. After you finish this class, I hope that you would feel a little bit less stressed and more free to just freely paint. This class is recorded live, and I got to interact with the audience while I was painting. So enjoy it. All right, so let's do this. 2. Getting Started: I'm Kate Hall. I'm a senior content producer here at Skillshare, and I'm your host for today's live class with Nikkolas Smith. Nicholas, do you want to introduce yourself? Hello, everyone. My name is Nikkolas Smith. I am an activist. I designed in part for 11 years, but now I'm full time just creating art and creating what I call Sunday sketches every Sunday. For the past seven years, I've been creating digital speed paintings and really just reflecting what's going on in the world, like I say in my class, try to find those broken bones in the world and inspire people to make a positive change. I'm going to do a little speed painting today. I have this snapshot picture of Malcolm X. I'm going to do a speed painting on Malcolm X. Just to get started, typically, how I begin blank canvas. I have these textured brushes that I love to use. Check those out, download those. I'm going to be using them today. Typically, I'll start with a blank canvas and I have a few colors here, just pull it from the image that I will start with, like this purple sky. A lot of times, what I like to do, I have a new layer here. Just do some colorful wash with these 300 dry paint brushes that I have, which is one of my favorites. A lot of the paintings that I do are very quick and expressive and they look weird starting off. I just keep adding paint until they look like I want them to look. Typically, I'll just start off with a lot of paint that's just thrown into the background, and then I'll add a new layer and get started on the portrait. These portraits that I do, I use what I call add and subtract method, really. That is essentially taking large blocks of paint and throwing them on the canvas. I'll take a brown and I'll just start to add it to the canvas. I have this anxiety about clean lines and very fine pencil line, early sketching. It helps me to just throw a lot of paint on really fast. That's what I will do. Malcolm X has this very elongated face, hence everything is very vertical. I'm just different about starting a portrait versus starting, for instance, a figure drawing. I would say, for me, they're very similar. There's really not much of a difference for me. For my portraits, I like to do close ups, so they're a little bit more direct. A lot of times they're looking at you directly in the face and you only see maybe from the chest, up. For most of them, like I said, I want you to see the passion in somebody's eyes. It's a very straightforward direct shot of somebody looking at you in the face. For me, that's how I typically approach this, and what I like to do, within the first couple of minutes, just have that basic shape laid out, very simple shape laid out. So you get an idea. A lot of times I also like to do a little bit of a burn just to get a different color in there and then use that color to start to fill in. Then there are so many other brushes. I was just using the AD, which is this. They don't have names and they don't have numbers, and the AD is a shape like this. It really gives that feeling of a dry brush on a canvas. Like I said, this is very simple in a way that there's no concrete definition from me from the beginning. I'm just drawing a lot of different colors onto the canvas. Then, whatever I feel needs to be chipped away, I'll chip away at it. I'm always looking at the reference photo and adding where I see lights ever. If I see a lighter shade on his forehead, I'll grab a lighter color and just throw that in there. Then, I go into the right on his forehead and it gets darker, so a little more saturated, I'll add some other color there. For me, these are all semi-abstract, so there's a lot of different colors and shapes and just a lot of different elements applied to the piece. It always looks a little crazy at the beginning, and then I just keep adding more and more until I'm like, "Okay, that works for me." 3. Capturing Someone’s Essence: Next, I'm going to talk about how I add details to quickly capture my subject's essence. Do you look for multiple references as you're going or do you see a picture and you're like, "This is the one for sure?" A lot of times I'll do multiple, especially if I'm trying to get what I feel is the essence of some particular person who I might be trying to commemorate. I'll probably use multiple photos. For this one, I was thinking, "This is a good one, I'll just go on for this. It is an annoyingly good photo of Malcolm X. How dare he be photogenic? I know. A lot of times, I illustrate children's books and so for a lot of the children's books, this is very helpful. This quick expressive method because I like having a flat look and then adding a little bit of texture, a little bit of light, highlights and shadows, and then keeping it very simple, not super realistic. So yeah, it works. Also for my Sunday sketches, it's not about perfection at all, it's just I want people to get the feeling of the point that I'm trying to get across here. Just in that few minutes, you can get the idea. If you're familiar with Malcolm X, even just doing that. If you're familiar with Malcolm X, you might realize this is going to be a Malcolm X piece, just from some of his iconic look with the black tie, and then his glasses is obviously the thing that's going to really sell it. Do you find that speed painting has helped you capture what you feel as someone's essence more easily because you have to go fast? I feel like it does. I wasn't thinking in those terms from the beginning, but I've heard that so many times, and I feel like part of the reason people tell me that I achieve that is because of the speed of it and just not over-thinking. If I think about it too much or if I take too long to work on a piece, it's not going to come out the way that I want it to, and also I'm going to get tired of it and I'm going to want to move to something else. I don't like taking forever to do stuff, in terms of digital paintings. I don't like them to drag on for days and days and days. 4. Adding Highlight & Shadow: Now, let's talk about how I start to incorporate highlight and shadow into the subject. Again, I see a lighter part of his nose. There was a lot of sun in the picture, so there's a lot of highlights. This is all one layer. I'm looking at the values and just adding paint where I can try to give the sense of the lights and the darks. Are your brushes only for Photoshop or do you have a version that's available for Procreate? So geeky was the best pun name ever would like to know. The great question, I don't know because I have never used any of the software really, but I'm pretty sure you can install these brushes on to other programs. I don't think they're Photoshop specific. I think there's probably a good converter too, out there. Yeah. Into it for you. Then Stella is asking, how do you choose vibrant colors for shadows and highlights versus just like black or white? I will use the color picker, so I tap eye and I pick a color that looks like it's right. Then from there, I just go up or down really on this little color wheel thing. I'll find the middle ground and then I'll start to go up or down based on where I am. So we see here. 5. Adding Texture & Dimension: Now I'll share a little bit about how I keep my paintings from looking flat. Stanley would also like to know, how do you decide on the direction of your strokes? I don't know. It's a feeling. A lot of times I'm going in the direction of whatever shape I'm on right now. I feel like the shape of his hair up here does this archy thing. Usually, I go in that direction, just to simplify things, just to go right there in that same direction, wherever I feel like that shape is headed. Going down his face, I'll probably go up and down. I feel like, in a way, it has to do with, like we were saying, the expressiveness of whatever is going on in the scene. For some reason, I feel like that has a connection to the essence of the person. It's like a science that I can't describe. But I feel like in looking at his actual photo, looking at the wrinkles in his face, it curves up right here. I'm just following the curves that I see, really. I'm just following all these different patterns that I see on his face, trying to mimic that. Do you find that as you've done this more, it's gotten easier to feel that out for yourself? Yeah, I do think it has. But again, for me, it's always been just this gut feeling thing. I mean, I didn't go to art school, so I'm just always going with whatever feels right. One might say you're a very instinctual artist. Yes. I don't like for it to be too flat, though. The hair is really flat here and he's got so many curls. I just love this 300 brush. For me, a light color swiping over that hair does a lot for me, just to add texture. Do you erase your mistake strokes or do you paint over them? Typically, I just paint over them. I try not to erase too much. It ends up being just one layer that is thousands of strokes combined on each other. I feel like if there's something that doesn't look exactly right, it's okay as long as I add some more paint to it. But the main erasing for me comes, and like I was saying, the add and subtract method where something might just be sticking out too much, and I'll just cut back like that. Also, the thing I love is that once I start to have a good amount of different shades, I can really just start to use the color picker and find that exact color that I'm looking for. Did you study traditional portrait drawing or do you know proportions and the like due to lots of practice? The studying that I did was high-school. High-school art class is about as far as I got in terms of really understanding proportions and things like that, and then books, just having a bunch of different books. I still feel like I didn't really go through courses to help me learn the exact proper proportions of things. A lot of times I like doing things with Ernie Barnes style where it's elongated limbs. I am a firm believer that there really is no right way to do things since arms are proportioning and things like that, but at the same time, I work on projects, sometimes, where the proportions do need to be more accurate and less fantastical or cartoony or whatever. I feel like as long as you have an understanding of what is the middle ground, what is the proper proportion, and then do whatever, I think you can go wild with it after that. How many layers do you typically end up with? Two or three. I think two or three. The main layer is the person, and then I have a background layer that usually is some sort of sky thing. Then I might do an overlay layer on top of that. Is there a reason you prefer to work in a single layer or is it simply a time preference? This is also from [inaudible] They say, "I find I work in a bazillion layers, which takes a lot more time." Yeah, it takes a lot more time, adds a lot more stress for me. I like to keep it as stress-free as possible because, for me, this started off as a therapeutic thing. So I want to keep it that way as much as possible. Sometimes I can dial up the cartooniness or make it more realistic. When I want to make it more realistic, I would typically add more texture and more shading like around his eyes right now. I can keep it very distinct like that, but if you look at the picture, there's so many shadows and textures that typically I would probably take a darker color and just add some grainy texture around so that it's not a distinct almost cartoon hardline. Because one of the things I learned in high school art class is that, in nature, there's no clean lines like that, it's always a bunch of different shade and value changes. I do like to make my pieces a little bit realistic, and so I will typically just add a bunch more texture. 6. Finding Tones for Shading: Now, I'm going to share a quick tip on how I use the Burn tool to select different colors for shading. I'll just type o for burn. Typically, I have a distinction underneath the chin where the neck starts. I'll just do a quick burn down there. The burn will just quickly give me another darker shade to pick from. Then I'll pick color picker, the eye drop. Then now, I'll start to brush with that. The burn is really, I just use it to allow me quickly grab a new color to use really. Or on the sides here, you see his ear. I might do a quick burn over here, just to give that distinction that's the side of his face and it goes back a little bit. Stella would like to know how do you set up your art board, or Canvas, resolution, size, color mode? I typically do 14 by 16 because that's a good Instagram dimension in terms of its vertical, but it won't get cropped in Instagram. I do a 14 by 16, 300 DPI piece out there. Let's see. You work in RGB, right? Yeah. I do. If you're going to print a poster size print of your work, do you ever switch to CMYK or do you stay in RGB? No. I always work in RGB. Then after I know it needs to go to print, then I'll just convert at the end, because CMYK is weird to me. I don't understand the color arrangements that are happening there, and I just stay away from it. That's just a personal preference. 7. Adjusting Facial Features: Next, I'm going to show you how I adjust facial elements so that they look true to life. The thing also that I love about working in one layer, a lot of times, I literally just grab something, maybe lips if I feel like they need to be a little bit bigger, or something, or whatever. I'll just do a layer via copy. I'll make a new layer and then I might just do a quick warp. It's a free transform warp, and say like, I wanted to just do that a little bit more. Then I'll say, okay, that's good and then I'll command E and merge it back down. For a second, it was a separate layer and now, it's one layer. Do you ever draw a makeup in your portraits? I know that you've done some of like Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama that both of those people I've absolutely loved. One of the things is asking like, how and when do you go about adding that makeup in as in a separate step? Is it just something you do as you paint? About adding makeup? Yeah, if a portrait subject is wearing lipstick or something, do you do more neutral color first and then add in or not so much? No, I like to typically just start with whatever color I feel like is there that I'm looking at in terms of reference, and just go right at the beginning. Sometimes I'll do like more natural lip color, and then I'll do the same thing, if you'll just let me add some lipstick to Malcolm X really quick, do the same thing where I add a new layer and then brighten that. Then I'll just do command U and add some saturation to the color. Sorry, Malcolm, you don't have lipstick. Honestly, I feel like he'd be into it and also, that definitely his color. I'm not going to argue with that. How do you paint longer hair with more volume? I know in your original we talked a lot about how much you love doing afro puffs specifically. For a longer hair, I don't know, it's pretty much the same process. It depends where you're saying like thicker hair, I don't know. I'm doing so many things to Malcolm that would not be acceptable. Malcolm would be so pleased here, an example for your statements. For bigger here I would say, it's typically just a big mattes with shading to exemplify that there's weight. There's some sort like it's massive. So it's a simple shape with shading at the bottom. I will go back now. 8. Using Overlay Layers: Now I'm going to show you how I use overlay layers to add brightness or adjust the tone. Another thing that I like to do sometimes if I see a very heavy contrast piece like this, I will do the same ad layer thing or I'll grab the parts that I feel like need to be really highlighted in terms of the highlights on his face, maybe it's that much, and I'll make a new copy of that. Then for brightness and contrast, I might pump that up a little bit, and then now this is its own layer. Then I can erase and scale back as needed, but that's a quick way to just create, and I might even dial back the opacity a little bit and then merge it down. So that is two. That's one piece again. How do you print your work, the kinds of paper and ink that you use? Actually, do you print your work yourself? I have a print shop actually in Los Angeles. They do all of this for me, and I don't have any really understanding of what they do, but it's awesome and they make really cool prints of my work. Heck yeah, to that print shop. Do you ever use the color dodge tool? Dodge, I don't use a lot, but sometimes. Typically, I'll just go with the burn. Then, let me just work on the nose a little bit more. Burning. Do you set yourself a time limit with the use or do you just work on it until you like it? My time limit is usually around three hours, I would say. That's typically how much time I give myself, 2-3 hours. Thank you for doing this one in 25 minutes. Yes. Absolutely. There are often a million things that I don't like about it as it's going along and I really just keep adding. I'm just like, I don't like that, I don't like that, and I keep adding, and so I like it. We're going to add a little bit more to the background. Any tips on what color to use for backgrounds? Cool versus one colors? It's something that Stella struggles with in her pieces. She's curious if you have any thoughts. For me, I typically go with what I feel is a good contrast. But then beyond that, like I was talking about in my class how there might be a situation where I feel like red or orange or something like, hey, this warm color might get the feel of nostalgia from the 60's or something, where a cool blue or a green wouldn't work well. So for me, I guess it typically just depends on what is happening and the scene that I'm trying to create. Then for the eyes, the eyes are interesting. I'm just trying new things all the time with the eyes. What I generally come to is that, I start off with a dark color, and then if I add too much white, then it starts to look way too cartoony, so I'll typically stick with the darker look and just give a few specks of gray or a lighter color if I want to show that the eyes are open. So it won't be much at all. Any tips for getting started when you're not that great at portraits and general? Angelica is curious. Tips for getting started. I feel like starting with basic shapes like I was trying at the beginning. If you can just start with basic shapes like a rectangle and circles and just give that basic look from the beginning, and then from there adding texture on top of those basic shapes, I think that helps me a lot. Hopefully that would help. Do you have a mental plan or checklist on how much time you need to spend on something, or do you just go with the flow? I typically just go with the flow. I very much go with the flow in many things. Sometimes at the end, like I just did, I'll just get a feeling that it needs more color or different mood, so I just added a layer on top. This would be the third layer of the three that I usually have, and it's set to overlay. Then I'll just add a wash of orange or something like that. Do you think speed painting has helped you more go with the flow or do you like speed painting because it's very good with the flow? Chicken or the egg really? Men, that's good. I think more so it helps me not overthink just by its nature, and so that was one of the things that attracted me to it. I used to see always amazing speed painters on YouTube and stuff, and I loved it. I was like, I got to try that, and really just becomes a matter of, the more and more practice, I'm getting comfortable with the brushes. It helps you along the way. 9. Adding Expressive Details: Next, let's keep adding some small expressive elements to really make sure we're showing the personality of our subject. I'll add a little dry brush to the glasses to just give some sort feel. Then one of the last things that I do is just add little white highlights everywhere, like little flecks of paint. Part of that is really just to give that sense of this is an acrylic on canvas piece. There's a lot of little pieces of paint that have been dripped everywhere. Really, I just experiment a lot of times with some of these brushes. There's so many brushes in this collection that I have for download. Just experiment with all of these different things, they're really great. I'm going to add some more darks to just different areas. One of the last things I do is just add darks and lights, like dark pieces where I feel the dark is there, but it hasn't really been accentuated enough. Then there's light highlights that definitely need to be added more. Stella says, "Do you always start with the main actor or do you start sometimes if you're doing a more elaborate background with the background?" Yes, sometimes it starts with interesting background, especially for some reason, I feel whenever it's New York, I have to get New York right. New York City, shout out to New York. New York. I'm in LA, but one day, I will see New York again. Again, a lot of what I do here is, it's really not about exact perfect lines. It's getting the feel across, getting that sense of whatever was in the head of that person. Usually, I'll have a quote, I said the quote at the beginning, that quote just helps me get in that mood, to get into the mind of that person and then just start with it. Tally would like to know if you have any tips for not giving up on a piece before the end because it's not looking right. They feel like they give up straight away instead of pushing through, which I think we can all relate to. Oh, my goodness. There's so many pieces that I was like, "No, I can't keep this. It's terrible, I'm starting over." But I never start over because for one, I have a certain amount of time, and if I start over now then it's going to take too long. I keep going and I'm always glad that I kept going because it ends up looking okay if you keep going. Usually, I think. I don't think there's ever been a time where I regretted keeping going. I'm going to now add a little bit more expression to his forehead because he has some good face wrinkles in here and he's always thinking about a lot of stuff. A lot of injustice that he wished was changed. Again, I'll probably do something like this where I'll grab this chunk of his head, copy it, and maybe do a little warp because I feel it needs to be more ovally instead of flat, something like that. Then again, I don't like clean lines a lot, so a lot of times, I'll just take the background color and I might literally just with the dry brush, add some pieces, some little strokes to the edges. 10. Finishing Touches: Finally, I'm going to keep doing some final tweaks to make sure this looks as much like Malcolm as possible. At this point, I just will probably scan and see where I might want to add some more texture. Again, I love this 300 dry brush and I literally just like throw some texture here and there, tweak a few things. I might add texture to the beard or something. A lot of times I'll do a final adjustment once I have the final JPEG ready and do that thing again where I'll clip out some pieces and tweak a few things, like where the eyes are, just different spots where I feel like it needs a little bit more adjustment. With the overlay layer, I'll experiment also with things like this where I feel like there needs to be a little bit, any spill or darker here. Grab the Hawaii. Maybe it is being led on more reflective on the glasses. Is this your process for paintings that aren't portraits such as the one that the protester showing the mirror to the police, which is stunning and one of my favorites personally? Yes. Yeah. I feel like every process, every piece that I have is the same process. It's starts off with the add and subtract method, gets the basic shapes there and then just a whole lot of texture. So yeah, it's pretty much the same. I'm on the overlay layer now and I'm just looking at where I might want to add some more red, little bit more color. Sometimes I'll use the gradient tool and just do a full splash of color. I bump it down like that. I will save my work so that I don't lose it. Saving is handy, I always forget. Very important. This points, I feel like I've got a descent piece and again, I'll just start to look at different things that I can add just to make it look more like that person, like right here at his chin where his chin has a little bit of a gradient change because it juts out a little bit. So I know that I might want to accentuate that a little bit more. How do you choose the colors that go in your overlay layer? I'll start with anything. I don't know, it could be anything really. I started this one with the orange because from the original, it's a very warm feel. But a lot of times what I'll do is I'll just Command-U you. Let me got this really quick. Yeah. I'll just Command-U and then play around with the different colors. I might decide at the end that this kind of purplish is really great and it gives that feel that of what I want. I feel like the red is probably too much. Yeah. I do like the orangey red. I probably will stick with what I had. Yeah. Maybe sometime around there, there? Yeah. Follow-up question to that, what are you trying to achieve with the overlay layer? Okay. Let me turn off the overlay layer. A lot of times I just want it to be warmer because there's so much like life in people and I don't want it to look too desaturated, so lot of times it's just that I want it to have that warmth. But sometimes that color is really helpful. I feel like it's really helpful to set the mood of the piece in the background and the environment and so that's when I'll definitely play around with the Command-U and just see exactly what fits. But a lot of times for portraits, I just want that piece to feel warm. I want the skin tone to be right. It might be cooler too. Sometime it's literally just making it cooler and not as warm. Again, like I said, I'm going to go ahead and add some little white flecks here and there. Some little highlights here and there. 11. Q&A: While you keep working on this, I'd love to ask you some questions that are coming in from the audience. What advice would you offer to someone looking to be more involved in activism through art? Do you reach out to organizations? How do you start your artivism journey, do you think? I think the first thing is really getting informed, going on Twitter or wherever it is. For one, I like to follow a lot of different activists who dedicate their lives to putting these stories on the Internet. There's a lot of folks out there who do that. I would say, get into the stories of these people. Every day there's a new story sadly, about something that is broken, something that needs to be fixed. There was a story just the other day about, unfortunately, another person who was shot and killed by the police. There's a lot of people who live in bubbles and don't want to hear about that stuff and it's your choice. But if you do want to dive into those stories, as soon as you hear those stories, I feel like you're going to be inspired to get people on board to make those changes that need to be made. Even just raising awareness that this thing is happening or this is an issue. There's folks who put literally statistics of certain things related to police brutality online every day. Some of those stats and things like that are helpful. The more ammunition you have I feel like to make art and be inspired and to get people to see changes, I feel like the more interesting your art will be. I will just say get into the stories and follow the activists and also there are websites like and stuff like that where you're going to be able to find a lot of information. Miles has a question that I think connects to this a little bit because I know this story. At what point did you feel like pursuing art over architecture? That's actually a hard question because there were many things that happened. Seven years ago, I created a image of Martin Luther King Junior in a hoodie, and it went viral and within a day, I was on CNN talking about the importance of Dr. King's dream of not wanting anyone to be judged for their outward appearance. Those types of things happened throughout my architecture career, where I was like there's something to this art thing that I need to keep pursuing. I can't say exactly when I decided that I need to make the switch but it wasn't until last summer that I jumped into full-time freelance artivism and illustration and stuff. It took a while but there were many points along the way where I was like, this is powerful, I need to dedicate more time to using my art to speak out about what's going on in the world. What was the process of taking your Black Panther piece from digital painting or digital format to the mural? It was a very quick turnaround, a quick process of working with the art directors and folks at Disneyland just making sure that the dimensions were right for the wall. Then I added a few more details just so that when it's blown up larger than life that obviously, when I'm drawing this big, I'm not thinking about this being 11 feet tall. It's really just adding a few more details to make sure that it read properly. But it was a very quick process. Once I felt like it was good to go, I sent the file and they did all the magic. I just showed up and they pulled down the curtain and it was there. How do you decide where your signature goes? Good question. I try to in some ways hide it actually. I'll just do a new layer. I don't have it right now, but I'm going to just do my own. I usually just have it follow along. This [inaudible] like follow along, like the edge of a shoulder or something like that or I'll just put it in somewhere. I'll try not to make it too prominent overbearing and overshadow what's going on. You're a big proponent of including your signature, though. For me over the years, it's become a thing where I'll put it in a way where you have to find it. I put it in every piece, but it's usually in a subtle way. Do you have to adjust the size of your signature based on how large you're printing something? Usually I do. I always adjust it for every individual piece. Just based off of the feel of sometimes I make it really small actually because I just want it to disappear a little bit, or I'll turn the opacity down. It changes in every piece. Do you have a dedicated studio space? I do have a studio which is now part baby room. But mostly studio because there's so many orders right now that I'm trying to get out. But there is an office but I work on my couch so much. I work in the bed. I have a laptop and a little Wacom Intuos tablet, so that allows me to work anywhere and I'll just work wherever. Would you recommend that one paints or does some form of art every day? This is from Stephanie, who is currently pursuing their MFA in painting while working as a full-time interior designer, dang, but wants to do art full time. Trying to figure out the best way to make the switch. Wow. I can't give you advice to create art every day. I don't create art every day. For me it was a weekly thing. I think just consistency is important. For me doing one art piece every week, one digital painting that I know I'm going to do every week sometimes it ends up being more than one. But for me it was just like knowing that I'm sticking to one a week. It just changed everything for me. When I started seven years ago, I wasn't a professional digital painter. I was learning how to create digital paintings and just the process of continuous practice, it's going help. Obviously if you do it every day, it's going to help you even faster. Do it daily. Sure. Go for it. Our last question is, do you have a favorite piece among your own work? It might be the Obama family as The Incredibles. That's one of them. It's on the wall over there. You love that one? That one. That was probably one of the most fun pieces that I've ever done, and made so many people happy and laugh. Probably that one. But then there's so many more serious and important ones that I've done that it's hard to really pick a favorite. For so many different reasons, they're all important to me. A lot of portraits like ones of Chadwick or Tatiana Jefferson, where the family members of these people who are gone now have the artwork. Those types of pieces are huge for me as an artist to see how people embrace the piece and they gave them some therapy or some healing in a way. They're so many, I can't really pick one, but the Obama's as Incredibles was really fun, I would say. 12. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it and learned some things along the way. I just wanted to say again, don't be afraid to throw some paint on the canvas. For me, this started off as a therapeutic thing and I want it to be that for you. I don't want you to be too cautious and worried about it being just perfect. Just get the paint on the canvas and have fun with it. I've just been trying to encourage people to create the world that you want to see. If you look outside, there's a million beings that are broken. Just paint a world that you want to see. Sometimes, you have to paint the world as it is to wake people up. I think that's very important, but also, paint the future of where we can go because this is a very important time, and there's a lot of people who need to get motivated, to get out there, and help change it. Art has the power to do that, so I would say do that as much as you can. I would love to see what you guys created. Don't forget to jot your final projects into the project gallery, and maybe we can start a little artivist movement right here in Skillshare. If you want to dive deeper into artivism and digital painting techniques, feel free to check out my other class on Skillshare. Thanks again for being here. Bye.