Digital Painting Fundamentals with Corel Painter 12: Welcome to Painter 12 - Part 2
Here are some exercises for developing skill with the Wacom tablet. Use them as a warm-up before you begin a session, and to check whether you need to reset the Brush Tracker for your pressure and speed. Do the exercises in the order given. If you save your practice canvasses, you can observe your progress from one session to another.
Start with a new white canvas about 6 inches square at 72 ppi. Choose Pen > Ball Point Pen and use black as the main color. Refer to Figure 1.22 as you work. Make a long mark at the angle natural for you. I’m right-handed, so my strokes will slant slightly to the left. There is no width variation in this pen, just like its real-world counterpart. If you need too much pressure to get a strong line, use using a light touch. Your second stroke should be parallel to the first and reasonably close to it. Add several more strokes the same distance apart. Go for accuracy the first few times, and then increase your speed.
Next, use the Rotate Page tool and make another series of lines at right angles to the first set. After that, tilt the page so you can add lines at a 45 degree angle. You can probably guess the next step. Crosshatching skill comes in handy when you want to develop shading and volume in drawings.
Make a new canvas for the next exercise or simply clear this one, using Select All (Cmd/Ctrl+A) followed by Delete/Backspace. Switch to the Dry Ink brush, which was used in your sampler painting. This is the ideal variant for practicing pressure control. Make a long stroke that begins with very light pen pressure and gradually increase pressure to the maximum width, then taper off as you end the stroke. It might take several tries to get the right touch for a smooth transition. Check out the practice strokes in Figure 1.23, some of which are more successful than others.
Making smooth transitions in line width will be easier if you are using a Wacom tablet with greater pressure sensitivity. The Intuos 4 models have 2,048 levels, and Bamboo Fun has 1,024 levels. The entry-level Bamboo pen has “only” 512 levels. Fewer levels of pressure makes it even more important to tweak the settings in Preferences > Brush Tracking.
You’re off to a good start. You have a basic understanding of how to choose and organize Painter brushes and how to show your Wacom tablet who’s boss. In the following lessons, you’ll practice skills and learn concepts for improving your mastery of drawing and painting. I promise to take you way beyond scribbling!
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.