Carlos Felipe Leon

Tactical espionage action


Had so much fun painting this one. Really soft transitions from one color to another and from light to shadow. Also, the oldest trick in the staging book: the spotlight.

The green room


Green is such a tricky color. I guess there being a lot of green in nature (depending on where you live), we are really sensitive to it. When using oil paint I prefer mixing green out of different blues and yellows rather than using one from the tube, I can control its variations more accurately. So here we were going for a very intensely saturated, artificial green light, which is even trickier than the local color of the natural landscape. I felt way out of my comfort zone, as these aren´t colors that I would normally choose. In the end I was happy it did end up looking like a decent green lighting scenario.

So now that I´ve eased you into this, do you guys want MORE green? Ok here you go:


Wow that is green. Isn´t green the color you get rid of in visual effects? I rest my case. OK I´ll stop now.

Food market


In this sequence, mutant Rico has to quickly pick up some stuff from a food market. To me, the banality of the action is what makes this funny. I therefore went for the most straightforward lighting of the shop interior. I also wanted to play with exposure and temperature from the light outdoors, so we don´t forget there is still exciting action taking place outside.



Sky, sea and snow

Here are some paintings I made mainly for matte painting reference. A lot of fun studying water, clouds, snow etc.

I seem to have the same problem at the beginning of each production: The first images of glaciers, seas and skies that I was painting were a little too realistic and didn´t fit the cartoony style of the Madagascar series. This one for instance felt a little too real:


In the end we tweaked it like this, a little more simple, stylized and saturated:


A couple more panoramas:





Urban sketching

I have found doing quick black and white acrylic sketches is great. Very often I want to paint something but if I’m hanging out with people, I don’t want them to have to wait for hours. I think this is a great compromise,takes very little time and makes good opportunities for study. Also, it goes WAY faster than doing the shading with pencil as I was doing it before. I still prefer oil for its “buttery” quality, but this does the trick in terms of practicality, and I’ve started to really enjoy some dry brush effects.

Outdoor abstraction


Lately I’ve been feeling that studying color and light pushes me into a corner. I don’t want it to be just about capturing the subject; There are so many other things to explore, expression, abstraction, texture (to whatever degree it can be done digitally). I tried to mix light and abstraction here, and it ended up looking like an outdoor installation! Lots more to explore over here. -Digital

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

downloadI worked on this project most of 2013. I had a such great time on it!

There were a lot of interesting challenges to tackle, and I had the pleasure of getting to know and work with an amazing team of artists. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this a wonderful movie!

I definitely had to push myself out of my comfort zone, having to go for a much more cartoony and colorful look that I am used to! A LOT of lessons learned.

I hope you have fun looking through these. All images copyright DreamWorks Animation.



This sequence marks the emotional climax of the film. To illustrate the inner conflict of the characters, I tried to raise the level of intensity with strong contrast and very hard, sharp light, splitting most things down the middle.


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