What's New in Corel Painter 15


The three software programs that I use regularly to draw or illustrate are Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Corel Painter. When I want to design with a more traditional feel and reach a painterly look my choice is Corel Painter.  I have been using it since 2007 when it was available in an actual paint can and known as Painter X. It has evolved since then and their latest is Painter 15 which is an artist's dream! 

When you pair it with a graphics tablet you can reproduce the effects of painting and drawing in real time. There are a multitude of brush categories including gouache, watercolor, acrylic, oils, pencil, charcoal and chalk. The interface itself has transformed over time to pretty much match the interface in Photoshop. The ability to work on layers like Illustrator and Photoshop creates a flexible workspace for designing and editing. 

For the most part Painter 2015 has focused on improving its best features. In the latest release one of the most obvious improvements is speed. It is 40% faster than its previous version and it is especially noticeable when you use the Real Watercolor brushes. A new feature is the Particle Brush which emulates the look of smoke, fur or just swirls of color. Another new introduction is jitter smoothing which allows finer control over jitter. Adjusting brush strokes is vital and this is an improvement that will allow your brush strokes to look just like you want them to. Finally, the addition of Palette Arrangements is a new way to stay organized in a feature heavy environment. Check out their full list of features here.

Out of the three I think it has the steepest learning curve but it is well worth the effort. As I have mentioned previously, I spent many hours sitting in front of the computer viewing videos from lynda.com when I decided to transition to digital designing. It is a great way to learn at your own pace and become the designer you want to be!

Here is a short video from lynda.com introducing the new Painter 15 interface.

My Creative Process: Digital Illustration

Over seven years ago I made the leap from traditional illustration to digital design.  Many times I am asked what methods I utilize in the creation of my illustrated pieces.  Today, I will walk you through what has become one of my favorite methods for illustrating digitally.  It encompasses three software programs, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. 


This is the final illustration which in its creative entirety utilized a traditional pencil and the three above mentioned software programs.

Pencil Sketch

This is my initial pencil sketch which is hand done and scanned into a digital file.

Line Art

Here is the next step in the process which entails taking the scanned sketch and placing it into a new Adobe Illustrator file.  Next, I create a line drawing with color in mind.  Every area that I know will be a different color is place on a different layer.

Color Image

Now I take each layer and fill it with a base color that I will work with in Corel Painter.  It is key to keep the pieces on separate layers with unique names.  This is really helpful especially in highly detailed work with many layers. The next step is important for the transition of importing it into Corel Painter.  Export the file as an Adobe Photoshop .psd with layers.  

Now it is time to open the layered .psd file in Corel Painter. 

Corel Painter Process

And then the fun begins.  It is a tedious process which entails creating custom brushes to suite the subject matter and style. Then it is all about "painting" each layer to achieve the desired texture and detail. Once the piece is completed it can be exported in any number of formats.

One trick I have learned is how to create a Corel Painter file where the end result is a transparent background.  If I just wanted to use the image of the giraffe from the final version of this illustration I would export the Painter file as a layered .psd.  I open it in Photoshop and eliminate all of the layers I don't want to use and leave a transparent background.  Once again I re-save it as a new .psd file and then I am able to place it into an AI file that utilizes a totally different background.  

I have never looked back when it comes to making the leap into digital design.  In the beginning I spent many hours on www.lynda.com viewing learning videos.  It was well worth the time and effort. I would have to say that my steepest learning curve in the process was Corel Painter.  In the end the combination of using these three programs has served a great purpose. After all, this particular workflow has provided a great foundation for the creation of our dogs from the Barkley & Wagz collection of wall art

Let's Start from the Beginning

When I first started blogging I just jumped in without giving any background on how this whole thing started.  Since we are looking at a new year ahead I thought it would be a good time to give you a bit of history about Julie Bluét. As a mother of six children it was difficult at times to have that space in my life for my creativity but somehow I did it. Over the years I kept a hand in freelancing as a graphic designer, took a shot at web design and when my children were in school I tried to offer my artistic services for events that may come up.  Finally when we moved to Virginia in 2006 only our youngest was at home and it seemed to be a perfect time to start thinking about putting my artistic senses to work full time.  I realized if I was going to do it right it was time to jump in head first and go from traditional media to the digital world.  What better way than to work on children’s illustrations.  I dug up a short story that I had written about a giraffe and a grasshopper that became friends.  The computer became my best friend and since then it has evolved from art licensing into the wholesale world and now adding the online retail world.  It has become evident that I have found that place where I am doing what I truly love and the rewards are amazing.

So here is my first digital illustration from 2006.  This is Ginger the Giraffe consoling Gracie the Grasshopper. It was done with Corel Painter and many hours were spent working and reworking it.  In the end it all quickly evolved and the picture book still sits unfinished.  Maybe this year I can find a window of opportunity to finish it up and publish it.  Sounds like a new year’s resolution!