Among artists who work in the medium of digital painting, most notably visual development artists, comic book artists and illustrators, the two most popular applications for painting and drawing directly on the computer with a ressure-sensitive stylus and tablet are Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.
Photoshop, because of it’s much broader range of use in photo manipulation, compositing and prepress, is the subject of far more instructional material than Painter, which is much more focused on the direct creation of digital art. Those of us who love to work in Painter are always interested to see books on the subject, and are always hoping for a greater range of instructional topics and approaches.
Secrets of Corel Painter Experts by Daryl Wise and Linda Hellfritsch is a welcome addition to that list.
The book is subtitled “Tips, Techniques, and Insights for Users of All Abilities”, but I think it’s best suited for those who already have a grasp of Painter basics and are looking to take their skills to a more advanced level.
The book calls on a range of digital artists who are working in Painter and are recognized for their expertise in their field. Each chapter in the book is devoted to one of the 17 artists and focuses on an aspect of Painter techniques in which they are proficient.
Each artist is profiled, with background on their work and influences and a brief question and answer, as well as relevant links. The main feature is a step by step instruction on the technique or process that particular artist has been called on to demonstrate, along with a gallery of the artist’s work.
In addition, the artists also frequently contribute more general tips about their Painter working process.
Many of the artists included are familiar names in digital painting circles, drawn from the fields of comic art, illustration and concept art, as well as fine art and photography, and include John Derry, one of the original team that worked to develop Painter in its early stages at Fractal Design.
The accompanying DVD is a bit less that I might have hoped for, with mostly mid-resolution and a few high resolution images of the artists’ work, but not conveniently arranged for browsing. It is nice, however, that the DVD sections for each artist include clickable versions of their “Favorite websites” links from the book.
Corel Painter is a very powerful and flexible application, and can also be complex and somewhat daunting, with over 900 brushes by someone’s count and numerous other tools and settings. Secrets of Corel Painter Experts is not meant to be a comprehensive manual, but a focused series of instructions on specific techniques from working professionals.
(Images above, Andreas Rocha [main cover image], Waheed Nasir, Wonman Kim, Brian Haberlin, Benjamin, Thorston Wolber [2 images], Chet Phillips, Mike Thompson, Dwane Vance, John Derry, Pete Revonkorpi)