Digital Painting Fundamentals with Corel Painter 12: Welcome to Painter 12 - Part 1
Now that you’ve got your canvas (and your feet) wet, switch to a few other categories and scribble a bit. You’ll try out some Pencils, Markers, and Pastels (pastels are like chalk, only softer and much more expensive). Choose Square Hard Pastel from the Pastels category. A close-up of the Dab and Stroke Preview is shown in Figure 1.11, along with the actual dab or footprint of the brush and two strokes. The strokes were made with different paper textures, showing how well this variant imitates the response to paper grain of traditional pastel sticks.
As your Wacom pen hovers over the canvas, you may want to see the “ghost” of the dab between strokes. There are a few other choices for the cursor, available in the Preferences > Interface panel shown in Figure 1.12. Enhanced Brush Ghost shows you the angle of your Wacom pen(as if you couldn’t tell) and can result in performance lags for some brushes.
The three small rectangles in Figure 1.13 show the colors I used to make additional strokes with Square Hard Pastel, then Thick n Thin Marker, and finally the Real 6B Soft Pencil. You might expect pastels and chalk to reveal the surface texture of the paper and digital dry media does not disappoint. Lighter pressure reveals more of the paper surface because heavy strokes tend to fill in the depressions. Painter uses the term grainy for this behavior. Chalk and pastels are opaque, so light colors can cover darker ones. By contrast, overlapping marker strokes build up, getting darker and denser. Painter uses the terms cover and buildup to describe these two basic methods for determining the behavior of a brush variant.
Make some strokes and squiggles with each of these variants, changing the pressure and speed of your pen. Did your strokes respond to pressure variations? Even more important, did the lines appear where you wanted them? Use the “Test Your Tablet” tip to confirm that your Wacom tablet is functioning properly. If pen strokes require more pressure than you’re comfortable with, or (on the other hand) if the pen seems too sensitive to pressure changes, recall that you can customize the tablet’s sensitivity within Painter by using Preferences > Brush Tracking.
Test Your Tablet
Make sure the tablet is mapped to your computer screen by doing the “two-point test.” Touch the point of your pen to any corner of the active area of the tablet and notice that your cursor shows up at the corresponding corner of your screen. That was one point. (If that didn’t work, you’re in trouble — see the Wacom tablet section in Appendix A.) Now lift the pen away from the tablet (don’t drag it!) and touch it to the opposite/diagonal corner. If the cursor shows up in the new position, you’re good to go. If not, see Appendix A.
To change from the default Basic Paper to a different type of surface, open the Paper Library near the bottom of the Toolbox, or choose the Papers panel from the Windows menu. Figure 1.14 shows the Papers panel with the current library of swatches. There are sliders to change size and other qualities of the paper grain.
Rhoda Draws, the artist formerly known as Rhoda Grossman, is the author of numerous books and video tutorials on the creative uses of Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop. She has taught basic drawing as well as digital painting and graphics techniques at several schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has earned a reputation for lively and humorous presentations. Rhoda began using digital media in 1990 and uses pixel-based software for commercial illustration and cartooning, as well as fine art projects. She has successfully transferred traditional figure-drawing skills to the computer and brings her MacBook Pro and Wacom tablet along to life drawing workshops. As "Rhoda Draws A Crowd," she is a pioneer in using digital media for live caricature entertainment at trade shows and events. Visit her website at www.rhodadraws.com.