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Book Review: Digital Painting Fundamentals With Corel Painter 11 by Rhoda Grossman

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Corel Painter 11 is the software program that is used for creating art work using digital brushes that replicate their real-life counter parts. It is used by traditional artists, concept artists, graphic design, and more.

Rhoda Grossman's Digital Painting Fundamentals With Corel Painter 11 was written for the traditional fine artist who is ready to take the plunge to digital as well as for the novice who user who has little to no art background. It contains projects that range from still life, landscape, portraits, and abstracts. This book is 239 pages in length and has ten chapters

Chapter 1, "Welcome to Painter," is all about stretching your muscles and getting to know how to work with Corel Painter 11 and a Wacom Tablet. To work effectively with Painter you really have to use a tablet and the Wacom Tablet is the most widely used one on the market. In this chapter you will get acquainted with techniques like doodling, working with the pressure sensitive pen, color palettes, and brushes.

Chapter 2, "Basic Drawing," begins with a simple subject and you will practice drawing it using several methods so you can get the hang of working with your tablet. You will start with tracing the image which offers you an easy way to get started. You begin by creating an outline. Next you move to a more tonal drawing that adds some depth and then you fill in with some textures and cross-hatch contours. Finally you will see how to use cloning to enhance your artwork.

Chapter 3, "Working with Layers," gives you the ability to separate the elements of your project. This will allow you to draw your outlines on one layer and add color to another. In this chapter you will see how to create, use, and organize your layers in order to efficiently manage your artwork.

Chapter 4, "The Great Outdoors," examines working with more complex subject matter; doing landscapes and street scenes. Starting with landscapes you will see how to create color sets with which to work, determine the medium and brush you will use to create your work, as well as pick up a little know-how  about artistic license. Then you will do the same with a cityscape.

Chapter 5, "Painting People," takes you off the street and into people's faces. The drawing and painting of the human face is a much greater challenge than that of a landscape or still life. Here you will again learn different techniques and brushes for working with creating portraits.

Chapter 6, "Graphics Techniques," goes beyond the basics and shows you how to work with more advanced tools and features of Painter. Here you will learn about masking, airbrushes, printmaking, silk-screening, and liquid ink for creating new and different types of art.

Chapter 7, "Mixed-up Media," refers to artwork that combines two or more techniques that are traditionally separate. In the past that might mean adding oil to a watercolor painting. In Painter it can mean so much more. Here you will look at brushes that have special effects, using graphics, cutting and pasting images together, painting with liquid metal, or even chocolate.

Chapter 8, "Fine Art Challenges," now examines two forms of fine art: figure drawing and abstract art. The challenge is that with the former you want your image to look like the subject, usually a person posing. For an abstract it is pretty much anything goes and the resembling of an object is not necessary. Here you will examine the techniques for doing both.

Chapter 9, "Pixel-Based Animation," describes how Painter can imitate traditional cellular animation. Using a Frame Stack and the Onion skin feature, you can create individual cels that can be played back within Painter. This gives you the ability to work much in the same way the cartoon animators used to do only here in digital.

Chapter 10, "Illustration Projects," are ones that are meant to be published as opposed to being hung on a wall and that is what this chapter focuses on. Here you will work with type and how to turn it into a rasterized image. You will do this so that you can create a poster as well how to create images specifically for publication.

There is also an appendix that will look at some topics that better help your understanding of Painter and digital imaging. These look at what a pixel is, what a color gamut is, and more about the Wacom tablet. You will also examine where you can go next to further your Painter education.

Included with the book is a CD-ROM that contains all of the source images that are used within the book, custom palettes and libraries to use with some of the projects, as well as samples of the author's digital art using Corel Painter.

Grossman writes in a very down-to-earth, conversational style that is easy to understand and easy to work with. Although the publication states that it is for Painter 11, for the most part it will work with Painter X as well.

The big focus with this book is the fundamentals and working with basic drawing skills, painting, and learning techniques that will have you painting in no time. Digital Painting Fundamentals With Corel Painter 11 will be a boon for those who are new to working with the Corel Painter and a Wacom Tablet. It will also be of major benefit to those who are trying to make the move from traditional art into digital. If you want to learn to paint digitally then I highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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