I’ve been using Corel Painter since 2011, and I have always had my favorite brushes (the air brush being the main one) but since I’ve been upping my floral game lately, I branched out and tried a few new brushes. Now by new, I don’t mean the fancy ones that I’ve purchased as additions to the program. These are just brushes I didn’t fully understand before. Quite honestly, I didn’t have the patience to try and learn them, but since the weather isn’t warm enough to play in the garden, I’ve been happily working on my art.
The one brush in my Painter arsenal that I have regrettably underutilized is the simple oil brush. Here are some examples with the one I customized and use most on the top:
Here’s an example of that custom brush used again and again and layering the strokes over each other. By changing the opacity, resaturation, and size, I can blend the colors and strokes without losing the painterly effect that the original brush has. When I’m creating petals on flowers, keeping the resaturation set to around 20% lets me add delicate color shifts to the petals – and if there’s too much of a color jump, I can set the resaturation to 0 and use it as a blender so the color shift is softer.
Adding touches of white on the tops of petals makes them pop and generally that’s how I build the center petals – I have the under petals built in one layer and then layer new petals on top of them, keeping each round of petals on a separate layer. I generally do the centers last, usually putting them under all the petals and use a blender to make the top layer (smallest petals closest to the center) with the bottom layer (the actual center). This way, I can keep them from looking like separate layers (I’ll explain that in another post).
So let me get back to that custom brush. I discovered it while painting my koala bear – then decided to try it on a floral because it was just sitting there in my palette begging to be used. Before discovering this brush, I would highlight the area I needed to accent with white by selecting it, then I’d use an airbrush to layer transparent whites/yellows over it to get the right shade. Once that was done, I’d deselect the area and blend any hard lines with the Just Add Water blender. Doing it this way generally resulted in me accidentally touching an area that I was happy with and I’d have to erase the blend where it wasn’t wanted…then go back and do it all over again. This resulted in me having each petal take about three separate layers. It was a pain.
The oil brush I customized eliminated this need. I have cut down on my layer usage (which makes it easier to find exactly where that stray mark is – if you paint digitally and are familiar with layers, you know what I mean). I have also brought my flowers into a whole new realm of realism – which I think sets my Chinoiserie apart from others. No, I’m not a traditional chinoiserie artist – it’s more like if fine art and kimono textiles had a baby.
So if you’re using Painter – try customizing one of those oil brushes for your floral work. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.