Corel Painter X : The Great Outdoors - Spring Flowers

8/22/2012 5:38:16 PM
Who knew when I went out for fresh bagels this morning that I would find the inspiration for a fresh project?
Figure 1. California blooms.

We’ll use the photos for guidance, but there will be no tracing or cloning and no attempt at realism or exactness. 

Layout Layers

Create a new blank white canvas with a vertical format. I’m working on a 2 × 3 inch canvas (dimensions always specify width before height) at 300 dpi. Of course the image will fill my screen and spill over a bit. You might want to use a lower resolution so you can see the entire image at 100 percent.

There is a custom palette called Watercolor Sketch available for this project in the Palettes and Libs (libraries) folder on the CD. Import it using Window > Custom Palette > Organizer. It has three variants: Flattened Pencil for preliminary sketching, Scratchboard Tool (a Pen variant) for line drawing, and Pointed Simple Water from the Digital Watercolor category to apply color.

Add a new layer to the canvas for a rough layout sketch. Notice that the stems and leaves of the daffodils are tall and strong compared to the fluffy bush under the California poppies. That suggests a layout with the poppies below the taller flowers. Don’t forget the tiny daisies at the base of the daffodils. The scribbles in Figure 2 indicate all of those elements.

Figure 2. Springtime for scribblers.

To change your color set, click on the Library Access button at the bottom left of the palette. Use the Open Color Set command and switch to Vivid Spring Colors. It’s found in a long list of color sets in the Painter Support Files folder, and it’s perfect for this project. Add another layer and use Digital Watercolor to dab in rich yellow, orange, and a couple of shades of green. Be sure to use the Gel or Multiply composite method for your color layer so the pencil marks can show through. I added a second color layer so I could overlay more color to suggest shading. Figure 3 shows my Layers Palette at this stage.

Figure 3. There’s always room for Gel mode.

Layer Management

Rename your layers with the Layer Attributes dialog. It’s available in the Layers Palette menu or by double-clicking the target layer. You can group layers by Shift-clicking to select them, then using the Group command. To commit a group to a single layer, use the Collapse command. Easy access to Layer commands is available with the left-most icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

On a new canvas, practice sketching some of the flared shapes of the poppies and the more complex structure of the daffodil flowers. Depending on your viewing angle, the poppies either look like bowls or overlapping triangles. Notice that the daffodils have a six-pointed star base and a central hollow tube with a frilly edge and a stamen or pistil (or whatever) sticking out (I know it’s a sex organ of some kind).

If you feel a need to start by tracing, make a Quick Clone of the Daffodils_2 photo and do a few quick blossoms with the Flattened Pencil. Then draw some from memory with Tracing Paper turned off. Simplify the structures as you work and use different viewing angles. Avoid any tendency you might have to achieve perfection! Figure 4 shows some practice flowers, both traced and freehand.

Figure 4. Cover your stamens or pistils, please!

Drawing the Line

Make a new layer for the line drawing. Turn off the visibility of your color layer(s) and reduce opacity of the layout layer to about 30%, just enough to serve as a guide for the sections of your artwork. Choose the Scratchboard Tool and make some practice strokes with it to get the feel of working with different amounts of pressure. You might want to make the tip smaller, so adjust its size either with the slider in the Property Bar or with the left bracket key ([). Don’t forget to use Preferences > Brush Tracking to customize the sensitivity of your Wacom tablet, as needed.

Sketch several flowers, daffodils above and poppies below. Keep it loose and lively. A cartoony style is fine. Some vertical strokes will establish the long stems and leaves of the daffodils. A few bushy scribbles will work nicely at the base of the poppy section. Figure 5 shows this work in progress, with the layout layer opacity at 30%.

Figure 5. Loose and layered.

Quick Eraser

Imperfections are charming for this kind of work, but if you must remove some bits, turn the Scratchboard Tool into an eraser by simply holding down your Option/Alt key while clicking on the background white. Sample black again to return to drawing more flowers. This is so much quicker than actually switching to an Eraser variant.

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