Make Your Own Magic.

Learn HUNDREDS Of Digital Painting Pro Workflows, Techniques & Time-Savers Step-By-Step!

Detail image from Chris Oatley's 'Animal Farm' digital painting for ImagineFX Magazine. [ click to enlarge ]

Detail image from my ‘Animal Farm’
digital painting for ImagineFX Magazine.
[ click to enlarge ]

Digital painting is powerful.

The various effects and moods you can achieve with Photoshop and a digital tablet now seem infinite.

The speed at which you can craft a beautiful image of an imagined world is mind-blowing.

Digital painting is unlike any artistic medium in the history of visual storytelling.

It can make you feel like a magician.

Unfortunately, most digital painters feel more like Ron Weasley than Harry Potter.

Ron Weasley Broke His Wand:

RonBrokenWandRemember when Ron broke his wand?

I think it was in the second Harry Potter book/ movie.

He could still cast spells but much to Ron’s dismay, the spells didn’t have the intended effect.

Lots of stuff went wrong but the most memorable consequence was when Ron spent an entire day barfing slugs.


Anyway, my point is that if you’re like most digital painters, then you often feel like Ron.

You know you could cast some amazing spells with the tools and techniques available to you…

…but the spells go wrong all the time and you end up barfing slugs.

Well, it’s time to cast a transforming spell and become a digital painting Dumbledore.

I’ve prepared an intensive art education designed to guide, inspire and equip beginning and intermediate digital painters.

And in true, Oatley Academy fashion, it has a snappy title.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you…

The Magic Box: Everything I Know About Digital Painting!

Everybody say “Ooooooooh!”

In The Magic Box, I will show you every workflow, every technique, every time-saver…

…everything I have developed over my past eight years of professional digital painting experience…

…including my past four years at Disney!

‘The Magic Box’ Will Empower & Equip You To:

  • Paint lifelike human and animal characters.
  • Control color, light and atmosphere.
  • Achieve a professional level of polish and dimension in your work.
  • Avoid overworked paintings and the flat “coloring book look” forever.
  • Increase your speed and efficiency with versatile techniques that will work in any painting.
  • Digitally create traditional painting effects.
  • Break through the overwhelm of working in Photoshop.
Detail of Chris Oatley's "Glimmer" VisDev Painting from Disney's Pixie Hollow Games.

Detail of Chris Oatley’s “Glimmer” VisDev Painting from Disney’s ‘Pixie Hollow Games.’

If you want a clear, step-by-step method designed specifically for concept artists and illustrators, then The Magic Box is for you.

Even if you’re a total beginner The Magic Box will equip you with expert knowledge of digital painting in Photoshop.

When you complete the course, you will have a varied and versatile set of digital painting techniques at your disposal: 

Atmospheric Lighting, Color Harmony, Advanced Masking, Texture Groups, Warp Tools, Adjustment Layers, Brush Economy, Fur, Feathers, Human Hair & Skin, Human Eyes, Folds, Clothes, Painterly Effects, Specularity, Textures, Impressing Clients and MORE!

…and you’ll have a whole community of passionate artists to connect and collaborate with.

More on the community later…

I’m Not Exaggerating.

As audacious as it sounds, the goal of The Magic Box is to teach you (literally) everything I know about digital painting.

(Check out the course syllabus below and you’ll see what I mean.)

While designing the course, if I felt qualified to teach on a topic that exists within the field of digital painting, I included it in the curriculum.

“The idea of The Magic Box felt daunting, but actually doing it is making me feel super-inspired. I want to draw and paint like crazy!” -@WayneBeam

Okay, so now that I’ve given you the bird’s-eye-view, let’s zoom in a bit and look at the course more closely…

Grab Your Pitchfork!

My "Animal Farm" Digital Painting for ImagineFX.

My “Animal Farm” Digital Painting for ImagineFX.
[ click to enlarge ]

In the first 7 lessons of the Magic Box course I’ll guide you step-by-step through the entire process behind the ‘Animal Farm’ painting I did for ImagineFX Magazine.

I recorded almost every single minute of painting and I broke those recordings up into individual lessons where we do a deep dive into the dramatic choices, the lighting choices, the color choices, the texture choices, animal anatomy, the character designs, the set design, set dressing, light and atmosphere.

…EVERY major artistic decision made at EVERY stage of the process.

I switch back and forth between Technique and Storytelling.

…between the “How?” AND the “Why?”

I reveal ALL of my favorite techniques, including the “Atmospheric Lighting Techniques” which I used to create the moody, ambient lighting.

I talk about controlling color and how to keep the visual energy alive for 25+ hours of design and painting.

And I share, at length, about everything I wish I had done differently…

“First lesson of the “Magic Box” included a tip I’d daresay is worth the cost of the whole program.” -@jennifermealing

Sketch Videos & Downloadable WIP Files!

Animal Farm: English Shepherd Character Study

Animal Farm: Character Study

As the sequence of ‘Animal Farm’ lessons wraps up, you’ll get a huge BONUS set of 5 video recordings which cover every stage in my preliminary work.

…including the abandoned concept that cost me a ton of time and adds a whole ‘nother layer of suspense to the story of the making this painting.

PLUS: You’ll get over 1GB of my Layered PSD Files so you can literally deconstruct the painting on your own.

…and you’ll get my SketchUp Models too!

“Hello, new #MagicBox students! Prepare for the OA magic to permeate your brain.” -@LaurenChaikin

Painting Lifelike Characters:

Detail Image of my VisDev painting of 'Chloe' from Disney's 'Pixie Hollow Games'

Detail Image of my VisDev painting of ‘Chloe’ from Disney’s ‘Pixie Hollow Games’

At Lesson #8 we raise the bar a bit more with the introduction of the Character Lessons.

I break down hair, fur and feathers, human skin, eyes and costumes into super-accessible methods that will give you such quick results that you’ll blow your own mind!

I mean it. In fact, I *guarantee it! (See below for more about the Spellbound Guarantee.)

I’ll show you how to analyze your reference in a way that will inform the painting of any kind of character, whether human, animal, beautiful or terrifying…

In The Character Lessons, You Will ALSO Learn:

  • How light reacts to organic surfaces.
  • Not to fear The Face.
  • How to avoid amateurish “soupy” folds and anatomy.
  • How to preserve the energy of your sketches in the painting.
  • How drawing is painting and painting is drawing and how that concept can really simplify your painting process.

…and LOTS more.

After the Character Lessons come Specularity & Surface Texture, creating Traditional Painterly Effects in Photoshop…

Again, you can check out the syllabus below for the most current specifics.

Homework Is Awesome!

Magic Box students are given one in-depth homework assignment per month and they are encouraged to post it in our private forum for group critiques and collaboration.

In the Magic Box Critique Lessons, I apply the course concepts (and introduce new concepts) by drawing and painting over selected student homework.

“Loving @ChrisOatley’s The Magic Box course! I’ve never been so excited about doing homework in my entire life.” -@ErinLFerguson

The Magic Box Is Full Of Surprises:

I love to surprise my students.

Just last month I held a surprise live session where I did a painting demo and Q&A just for my Magic Box students.

During my recent trip to Colorado for the Denver Comic Con, my Denver-based students and I did some live painting lessons based on works by Monet, Bierstadt and Bougereau.  We shot a ton of video and added that to The Magic Box as a bonus lesson!

Oatley Academy at The Denver Art Museum - Monet

How Does Enrollment Work?

You never have to worry about starting late or falling behind!

  • The course is work-at-your-own-pace. I encourage you to take your time and let the information-rich lessons sink in.
  • New students are enrolling all the time so you’ll always be in-sync with someone.
  • Enroll in The Magic Box today, you’ll get immediate access to the first set of lessons.  Each of the 18 lessons will unlock monthly until all lessons have unlocked.

This community is one of the most passionate and friendly groups of artists you’ll ever meet. They are super-encouraging and helpful.

We are genuinely excited to meet you and join you on your creative journey.

A Colorful Art School.

My dream for The Magic Box has been that it would be an online art course that anyone can afford.

The full realization of my dream to gather a passionate community of students from every country in the world is still a long way off.

…but I think we look pretty good for being less than a year old.

The point is, if we are going to be a one-world art school, we have to offer a wide range of pricing options in order to remove economic barriers…

But before I tell you the price, please indulge a little melodrama while I remind you of everything that comes with a subscription to The Magic Box…

What’s Inside The Magic Box?

  1. 6-12 Painting Lessons per month for 18 months.
  2. Access to The Oatley Academy “Secret Lab” where you’ll find The Think Tank (the private blog where I post bonus blog posts and podcasts exclusively for students).
  3. Access to The Centrifuge (our private community forum and collaboration space).
  4. Over 1GB of layered WIP Photoshop files, SketchUp models.
  5. The epic ‘Animal Farm’ Sketch Video Bonus Series.
  6. Oh, and I threw a few new Photoshop Brushes in there too…
Enroll in The Magic Box right now for only $18/month!

So click the “Enroll Now” button and start making your own magic…


You will be taken to the Checkout Page where you will create your account.

When You Make Your First Payment…

When you click the “Enroll Now” button you’ll be taken to the Checkout Page where you can pay with PayPal or any major credit/ debit card.

When your order is completed, you will be taken inside The Secret Lab at The Oatley Academy.

There you will be able to access your first months’ worth of content, The Think Tank (our secret blog) and The Centrifuge (our private community forum).

Email me if you have any problems.

Student Testimonials:

“First time I’ve looked at a painting I’ve done and not wanted to scrap it asap. Thanks @ChrisOatley!” -@Fredrik_S
“[The first] Technique Tutorial is AWESOME! I’ve never thought of designing a painting that way before. Love it!” -@tuftedone
“I have to say watching and listening to @ChrisOatley has really pushed my awareness of creating atmosphere in my work!” -@DamonDrion
“Loving The Magic Box so far, Chris. I want to express my gratitude and excitement! I’m already improving! Thank you so much.” -@KevoTheHero

*100% Spellbound Guarantee:

If you try the course and within the first 30 days you aren’t completely spellbound, I’ll give you a 100% refund – no questions asked.

It’s completely risk-free.  Plus, I think you’ll love it.

So click the “Enroll Now” button to open The Magic Box and start making your own magic today.


More Questions?