Secrets of Corel Painter Experts: Pete Revonkorpi
The Creative Process
I often start with little idea of what I am going to do. I might have a certain shade of color that I want to use — but anything beyond that is a mystery to me. I usually just start to slam colors and shapes together without care, and pretty soon some blob of color starts looking like something — maybe a boat. Next, I ask myself questions about the boat. Is the boat sinking? Is it just drifting, or is it going somewhere? Who are the passengers? And so on. So, actually, I don't really paint a painting; I just try to find it under all that white.
As an illustrator, the most important thing to me is that the image gives new life to the text it illustrates — that it gives a new and clear angle to the subject matter and evokes emotion or thought.
In Painter, I use mostly the oil and acrylic brushes — especially the Thick Wet Oil and Wet Acrylic Brushes. I like the textures I get and the way colors blend with the oil brushes.
Two of my biggest and simplest timesavers have been to learn the shortcut keys for the actions I use the most, and to use as many layers as possible when I paint.
These may seem like obvious things to do, but for someone like me, who usually starts painting without advance thought, they are things I have to constantly try to remember — especially when I am working on an illustration for a client. For instance, if a client wants an object to be on the right side of the image rather than on the left side, by using layers and shortcut keys, I can simply move the object to the right and show my client what it will look like. Having everything painted in different layers helps me a lot when adjusting the image later on — this way I don't have to repaint the entire image.
My finished work is usually displayed either printed on paper or as an image on the Internet.
When did you start using Painter?
I started using Painter about six years ago.
Do you integrate your work in Painter with traditional artists’ materials?
No, I do all my work in Painter — from start to finish.
How has it been for you to learn about using art tools in a digital setting?
Learning is easy in a digital environment because it is so flexible. I find it is much easier to experiment digitally than using traditional art materials.
Has Painter helped you define your own style?
Like I said, Painter has helped me experiment. The painting process is so fast and flexible, compared to traditional media, that it is much easier to try different things. Also, using Painter is much cheaper because you don't have to buy new canvases, brushes, and paints after you have wasted them on failed experiments. With Painter, you can afford to fail as many times as you want.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by the need to understand and explain. My works, or at least my personal works, are very personal. But I try to turn the personal into universal. And I am interested in the invisible side of life: things that are lost, and things that are not yet found. For example, a chair, no matter how beautifully crafted it may be, is not that interesting. But an empty chair — the fact that there is nobody sitting there — now that is interesting and inspiring! Why is it empty? Has somebody just left, or was there someone who never arrived? I don't think I could ever paint a still life of fruits in a bowl, but I would probably be ecstatic to paint just the bowl. So I guess you could say that I try to visualize the invisible.