Sam has perfected an approach to picture making that works for any level of experience. The absolute beginner will rise quickly and start creating bold energetic paintings within the first couple of weeks of this online self-study. The experienced professional will learn the simplest way to break down a scene and only paint what is necessary to communicate the story. This class will not be covering tightly rendered paintings, but instead focus on quick color sketching to tell the entire story.

BIO: Samuel Michlap began his animation career in 1992 as a layout artist on Walt Disney’s Classic “The Lion King,” and key set designer on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Sam was influential at DreamWorks as a Lead Visual Development Artist, Art Director, and ultimately Production Designer. He contributed to “The Prince of Egypt”, “The Road to El Dorado”, “Sinbad”, “Shrek”, “SharkTale”, ”Monsters Vs. Aliens”, “Tusker”, “Madagascar 3″, “Turbo”, “MegaMind” and “The Rise of the Guardians”. Sam has been recently working on the Guardian of the Galaxy feature films for Marvel. He is an accomplished Fine Art Gallery Painter. His clientele includes: Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Sony, BlueSky, IDT, Imagi Studios, Universal, IM Digital, EA Games and Buena Vista Visual. He shows at Howard Mandville Gallery, Trailside Gallery, Ann Hughes Fine Art Gallery and Settler’s West Gallery.


Course Curriculum

Free Preview
Dynamic Color Sketching For Entertainment | Preview FREE 00:05:00
Preview for Dynamic Color Sketching For Entertainment with Samuel Michlap.
Section 1
D.C.S. | Introduction 00:30:00
Sam introduces Dynamic Color Sketching as a tool to create powerful cinematic paintings. We will use cinematography as a study aid, and discuss using film for reference. Sam will review why certain palettes and combinations of lighting, composition and values just work better than others.
D.C.S. | In-class Exercise 00:34:00
An exercise will demonstrate how to begin the quick-pace thought process of creating thumbnails.
D.C.S. | Abstract Thinking 00:39:00
Flat thumbnails are developed into volumetric designs working with color. Homework assignment is to copy at least 50 frames from "The Third Man" and make abstract shape compositions using a maximum of 4 values.
Section 2
D.C.S. | Study Aids 00:45:00
Color study demonstrations will be done using a shot from a film as reference. Indicative painting is a fast approach to bold value and shape design through color.
Dominant Idea FREE 00:33:00
Two demos will be done using film shots for reference. Learning to identify big ideas for how colors relate to each other will lead to successful paintings. The homework will be a minimum of five 5-minute film frame studies working with color temperature.
Section 3
D.C.S. | Color 00:34:00
A homework critique will demonstrate how to balance color and composition simultaneously. Breaking down film compositions is a great exercise to help find the big idea in a shot.
D.C.S. | Composition 00:39:00
A film frame color study will demonstrate how to quickly break a composition down using subdivision of large tones. The goal of the exercise is to build color while maintaining color harmony and the simple statement.
D.C.S. | Q and A 00:32:00
Sam answers questions and begins discussing how to create quick color comps from movie frames.
D.C.S. | Pen Tool 00:42:00
Building strong graphic shapes will demonstrate the versatility and speed that is possible with the pen tool. Lighting keys will be used to show how easy it is to make an composition into a shot for a movie.
D.C.S. | Pen Tool Exercise 00:51:00
A film frame color study will be done with the pen tool. The homework will be to make variations of the final exercise that was done in class.
D.C.S. | Homework 1 00:08:00
The directions for the homework assignment are given.
Section 4
Color Comps 00:50:00
Emotional palettes are discussed in creating the "big idea" in a composition. A variety of color schemes will be used to balance dominant simple shapes with subdominant shapes.
Green vs Blue 00:41:00
An in-class assignment will be given along with a demo. Color sketching exercises will done with speed and bold thinking.
D.C.S. | Critique 1 00:42:00
A critique of the in-class assignment for each student will be given.
D.C.S. | Homework 2 00:08:00
The directions for the homework assignment will be given.
Section 5
D.C.S. | Critique 2 01:48:00
A critique and paint-over demo is done on student homework assignments, developing them into cinematic moments. The importance of layout is considered in designing space.
Layouts and Backgrounds 00:56:00
A presentation of layouts and backgrounds from classic animated films are analyzed. The color schemes are broken down and discussed in relation to storytelling. Sam will cover how to breakdown a shot and study from great cinematographers.
Copying Disney Backgrounds 00:54:00
The in-class assignment will be to make 4 copies from frames within 5 minutes; and 1 at 20 minutes. Quick decision making and thinking boldly with color is an important part in creating strong compositions.
D.C.S. | Q and A 2 00:54:00
Questions on color harmony and color vibration are answered.
Section 6
D.C.S. | Review 1 00:42:00
Review of last weeks lesson and a critique of the homework will be done with a painting demo over student work. Sam will cover the basics of how to use these tools to capture a specific emotional response for your audience.
D.C.S. | Color and Light 00:50:00
Color paintings are presented to show the different ways and possibilities of using color in your paintings. Psychology of color, composition, design, and lighting all factor into every scene we create as visual storytellers.
D.C.S. | Color Comparison 00:39:00
A demo will be done showing how to push the color we see in photography by comparing colors.
D.C.S. | In-class Assignment 1 00:58:00
In-class exercises will be done to help see and push color possibilities by using color comparison. The goal is to look for the right gray harmonies and relationships by comparing color.
D.C.S. | Homework 3 00:06:00
Continue the in-class assignment pushing color photos or film frames by comparing color.
Section 7
D.C.S. | Review 2 00:58:00
A review of last weeks assignment will be done with a demo over student work to help develop strong compositions. Paintings will be dealing with color in more complex settings.
From Layout to Paint 00:27:00
A lecture showing examples of what the class assignment will be is presented.
D.C.S. | In-class Assignment 2 01:05:00
Students will create a fully realized emotional color sketch from a selected layout. A demo will be done simultaneously to show the possibilities in pushing the lighting and composition from the reference image.
D.C.S. | Final Painting 00:29:00
Sam will explain his decision making process with his paintings. A critique of student work will be done. The homework assignment will be to prepare a layout for next weeks class.
Section 8
D.C.S. | Notes 01:09:00
In the final class students will create compositions from their stories. Sam will recap the most important things to think about while sketching in a critique of last weeks work.
D.C.S. | In-class assignment 3 00:45:00
Short demos will be done while students develop their layouts. Sam answers questions as he looks at student work.
D.C.S. | Final Critique: Part 1 00:51:00
A critique of the in-class assignment will be done with paint-over demos.
D.C.S. | Final Critique: Part 2 00:48:00
The critique continues with paint-over demos.
D.C.S. | Final Critique: Part 3 00:41:00
The final critique of remaining student work will bring the class to an end.

Course Reviews


8 ratings
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  1. This has definitely been my favorite class I have taken online.


    Sam Michlap has been an artist I have followed for quite some time. I have always enjoyed the way he captured mood with colour in both his animated illustrations and gallery work. When I came across LAAFA and noticed that he was going to be teaching a painting class I did not hesitate to sign up. Being that this course was a live online instructed course I felt like I was in a class room setting with Sam every step of the way. Sam went in depth with every lesson he taught us and always created fun yet challenging assignments. He always filled in the gaps that many teachers skim over by doing live demos while explaining his choices and decisions with color. His expertise and high quality bar pushed me to improve my skills and become a better painter. His passion for teaching was evident in his detailed feedback on all our homework assignments. By the end of this course I felt more confident in making quicker decisions and colour choices. This has definitely been my favorite class I have taken online, I look forward to taking more courses taught by him.

  2. Great class!


    Sam Michlap is a very talented and personable teacher. The insight he brings to his classes, founded upon his love for painting and illustration as well as his tremendous industry experience, proved fantastic. I greatly enjoyed the live demonstrations – which helped to make the concepts discussed in class become more accessible and real as Sam demonstrated the thought process and concepts he would discuss. The projects, both in and out of class, I found to be challenging and I felt I grew a great deal over the course of the class. I continue to implement Sam’s ideas and practice what I learned since the course has ended. Sharing his experience, his discipline in studying film, creating color sketches every night based upon recorded films, working as a background painting for traditional animated film, the transition he made to mastering digital painting tools, as a vis dev artist and art director, as well as his personal gallery and plein air art proved inspiring and further expand upon the significant foundation that Sam has to offer as a teacher.

  3. Worth Every Minute


    I cannot express enough how great my experience was with Sam’s class. His teaching style was the perfect balance between challenging and encouraging. I was impressed that despite the range in artistic style and skill, Sam met each student where they were at with critiques and encouragement. I feel like I learned so much in such a short amount of time. His passion for his work and for teaching really shines through, and the depth of his knowledge and skill is invaluable! Taking his class has changed the way I see and use color as well as my approach to beginning a painting. The class was in the middle of the night my time, but Sam’s teaching was so engaging that I was not once tempted to fall asleep or miss class. It was worth every minute!

  4. Exceptional Teacher


    Sam Michlap is not only an exceptional artist, he is an exceptional teacher. His lessons are organized and inspiring. Sam has an abundance of patience and gives strong and honest feedback that makes the next assignment that much more successful. I highly recommend his class for anyone wishing to got to the next level with their art.

  5. One of the best classes I have ever taken!


    Honestly one of the best classes I have ever taken. Sam is a wonderful teacher who genuinely loves to help bring his students up to the next level. Doesn’t matter how long it takes to explain, Sam will make sure you GET IT. He explained color to the class in ways I’ve never heard. His fresh perspective really helped me crack some long term problems I’ve been having with color. I can now say that I am on my way to becoming a better and more confident painter. Would definitely take the class again.

  6. Definitely Recommend It!


    Sam Michlap’s Dynamic Colour Sketching for Entertainment has completely changed the way I work and approach my painting.

    Looking at the progression of my work from between week 01 and 08 it is obvious to see the vast improvement of technique and confidence. Sam Michlap’s knowledge, experience and energy has had a massive impact on the way I approach painting. Sam’s demos and feedback was always constructive, as a teacher he was clear and happy to answer any queries and break down ideas in the live class.

    This course teaches the fundamentals of composition, design, painting, colour and how to apply them to create powerful cinematic paintings, I would definitely recommend it and am ready to participate in the next Sam Michlap class.

  7. Absolute Blessing!


    Taking this class with Sam was an absolute blessing. As lucky as I’ve been to have gone through an art school with a very strong program, I will say that taking Sam’s class really took it one step further and “connected the dots” for me. And that alone is more than worth the price of admission. In general, to take this class is to sign up for a wealth of information in composition, design, painting, and most notably, color. But far beyond that, it’s also a class that will help you to actually apply that information – in an immediate way. Chances are, you’ll be seeing very visible and very real jumps of improvement that will end up startling you. From the career tips, the numerous resource recommendations, the extremely informative lectures, and the amazing demos, Sam’s dedication and passion for imparting his knowledge is unmatched. I would recommend this class to anyone and everyone!

  8. This self-study works!


    I loved this class. Sam’s experience and knowledge of the field seems comprehensive. His enthusiasm is infectious. Not only is he generous with his process, he is very organized and articulate, and he presents material in a way that was easy to digest. There seems to be a vast amount information to learn in the field of painting for animation, but the process Sam shares in this series gave me a foot-hold, and a way to move forward. Doing five minute color sketches is a skill that is useful to all artists.

    I have a whole library of “how-to” books and instructional videos. What sets this “self-study” apart is the participation and interaction with the students. For a once a week class, these students busted out a large volume of quality work, and Sam really rose to the challenge to provide them feedback. It’s great to watch a master at work, but I also get a lot out of watching a master break down and rework student paintings. It made the information more accessible. It brought Sam’s expertise more down onto my level where I can use it.

  9. color sketching review


    Sam does a great job of consolidating a large amount of instruction in a very fast paced and demanding 8 weeks. He makes the process both fun, inspiring and motivating. The critiques of the student work that he gives is a wonderful way to learn from the mistakes of others. He demonstrates how to solve the common pitfalls and improve the painting significantly. This class is well suited for self-study given that it is already an online class and Sam makes you feel as though you are a participant even though the video was recorded a year ago. The instruction is specifically designed for the entertainment industry, but any painter could benefit from his teaching.

  10. Akemi


    I took the self-paced course. I’m very happy with the visible difference in my personal work and my thought process about colour and finding ‘opportunities for colour’. The course was packed with information and I found myself watching each video a few times to absorb the information before I did each lesson. It was fun, enjoyable, and I did not realize how much work I was doing until I saw the significant improvement in the art I produced from the start of the class to the end. I will apply these principles to all my work. My new personal favourite phrase is “sneaking up on colour!” This class was well worth it and I honestly find more to think about and apply each time I watch the videos.

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