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July 2011

• Nathan Smith • Watercolours • A Blast From The Past

Hello Everyone! I hope your summer is going well and that you are able to take time to create. Inside the magazine this month, you will find a number of nice lessons and tutorials. Our cover artist, Nathan Smith, has graciously provided two tutorials that will give some insight into how he creates his unique imagery. I have been following Nathan on Deviant Art for a few years and was finally able to get him in the magazine. We also will be having a webinar in September with Nathan. Be sure to check out the ad in the magazine that will give you more information about his webinar. It is sure to be a hit. If you do have interest in learning how he creates his images don’t wait too long to regsiter as he does have a big following at Deviant Art. Other areas to note are: Fall Open Studio at Digital Art Academy is open as well as Session 5 which has Skip Allen’s Painter 12 class. We also have opened up the seating and registration for our live fall print transfer and embellishment workshop. This workshop is for those who may be interested in transferring your paintings to wood, plastic, stone, metal or other substrates. We also will cover sealing and embellishment of your paintings using acrylics and oil paint. If you know of an artist that you think we should profile please let us know. As always we areinterested in seeing our readers work. We did not have any for this month’s readers’ gallery. You can send your images to Have a great month.

Tim ONeill

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Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


In This Issue 4

Nathan Smith True Colours



by Joan A. Hamilton

The Old Masters

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Camille Pisarro By Nadia Lim


by Victor Lunn-Rockliffe

A Blast From The Past The Evolution of an Animal Portrait by Scott Deardorf


Right Click Make Custom Libraries for Your Custom Brushes by Skip Allen Cover

Shine By Nathan Smith

Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

Marketing Buzz: A Good Marketing Technique? by Tim O’Neill

At this point I began to add some colors and vegetation to the background – to give the feel of a natural rainforest habitat. First, I went over the background with my smoothing brush to smooth out the effects of the over-sharpening I did at the beginning of the process. I then used my brush tool in color mode here-and-there to add some cyans, blues and greens. For the grasses, I used the same brush, the texture1 brush, sometimes in finger-painting mode, sometimes not. I used the brush at different sizes and strengths to simulate differentsized blades of grass. All in all, a tenminute painted background – easy, but still effective, I think.

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Close to the finish line now, I wanted to apply a few more adjustments before moving on to the final stage. First, I used the dodge tool to build up some of the shadow areas – on the side of the face. Next, I wanted Digital Paint Magazine - July 2010


to adjust last time give a se surround back into cyan, and +20. I the

only to th history b With the as I want move int process. sharpeni give this a traditio The first to apply painting, once aga 100/.7/0. Next, I ap filter, not Photosho but one I that can

Nathan Smith Nathan Smith is Director of Technology for the College of Education & Human Services at Utah State University. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University in 1980, where he also minored in Art. He taught for twelve years at Santa Clara Elementary School in Santa Clara, Utah. He worked with community artists to expose children to the various arts, as well as teaching and producing art himself. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology from Utah State University in 1990. He was honored by his department as the Graduate Student of the Year at graduation ceremonies. In 1992, Utah State University hired him in his current position, which includes Directing the Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center, a resource center for the College of Education & Human Services that includes a K-12 curriculum materials library, a large student open-access computer lab, and a NASA Educator Resource Center for Utah teachers.

Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

Nathan has also served on the Board of Directors for the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) since 2004. His main role is to maintain the UCET website ( and to write the newsletter for the organization. One of Nathan’s passions is to share the many wonderful resources available to educators made possible by the Internet and other new technologies. He has written more than 800 pages of resources he has shared with teachers through the UCET newsletter. Nathan, and his wife, Phyllis, currently reside in Smithfield, Utah. They have seven children. Nathan enjoys playing with technology toys, teaching, reading, music, art, nature, and more. He has an internationally known gallery of his computer artwork and photography at http://nmsmith.


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Understanding the Brush Controls: It looks kind of complicated when you first lay eyes on it, but if you break it down to individual settings and examine the results of changing the controls in this organized fashion, making these adjustments as you are painting, will become second nature.

Traditional watercolour painting doesn't let you get away with dipping your brush in the paint and just making any old stroke. You have to patiently learn how much water, how much paint, what angle to hold the brush at, how hard to press .... etc. In digital watercolour (by that I mean painting digitally with all the watercolour variants as opposed to painting traditionally) you need to learn to control your brushes as well, before you even touch the stylus to the tablet. Painter 12 has a new panel called Brush Calibration which allows you to calibrate the speed and pressure of brushes individually. In Painter 11 and earlier you would have to go into the Preferences, Brush Tracking and set it globally for all the brushes. You can do it each time you change a brush as well, but not as easily with the panel open in Painter 12. The following strokes were made with the same brush with a similar motion. See how different they appear depending on the Brush Calibration.

Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Using the Digital Watercolour Variant Pointed Simple Water to Illustrate Basic Brush Setting Controls

Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


The Old Masters Camille Pisarro By Nadia Lim The French and Dutch communities have a great influence on how art is recognized today. Many great artists started in these places where art is a highly regarded form of individuality. One of the most popular artists known in the history of fine arts is the great Camille Pisarro. Pissaro’s career as an artist is probably one of the most colorful and adventurous life ever lived as a painter. On his younger years, his talent was set back a little because he had to work as a cargo clerk for his father. Later on he decided to move out and pursue his craft. His subjects usually involve sceneries and the usual rural life. He, like other painters, also explored the different approaches in painting. He used Impressionism, and then became Neo-Impressionist, and Revolutionist, then returned to the Impressionist style. But in whatever genre of painting he did, the uniqueness of his works lies in the honesty and simplicity of his work. He didn’t persuade or exaggerate the tone of his craft. Pisarro enjoyed doing his masterpieces outside a studio. He preferred feeling the sun, the wind and hearing the surroundings. He said that it helped him see the true colors rather than envisioning them in his mind. Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

“Hay Harvest”


painting suggests the sun is about to go down. Again he used minimal shade of colors and yet captured the relaxed vibe of the scene. The ‘Landscape at Pontoise’, done in the year 1874, also exemplifies the rawness of his works. He captured the scene in an unbiased way and yet created a truthful blending of shades and colors to express the theme. Doing his work outside he was able to come closer to the colors of the world and use that instead of envisioning the scene. Pisarro had lived a very successful and influential life an artist can have. His passion for arts even transcended to his children and grandchildren. Pisarro revolutionized the way art was regarded to during his time. He pushed artists to leave their comfort zone and explore the world outside so they may discover the genuine beauty that already exists in life itself.

“Two Women chatting by the Sea” Like Renoir, Pisarro was well-known because of the passion he puts into his craft. He had influenced many other artists, including Cassatt and Degas, who are his former friends on the Salon. One of his works is called the ‘Hay Harvest’. He completed this oil painting on the year 1887. You can see here the contrasting shades he used to emphasize areas where the sun’s luminance is dominant. This is the king of themes that usually appear on his art. He expressed about the common and marginal life of the rural areas. Even on the color he used you can feel the lowliness of the scene. The painting ‘Two Women chatting by the Sea’ is one his earliest accomplishment. In the year 1856, just a year after he decided to pursue his career as an artist, he completed this piece of art. This proves that ever since he started, he already had his eyes set for beautiful sceneries involving people and nature and the usual cycle of life that runs on it. You can see the detail of the women’s clothing and so is the setting which seemed to have taken place during sunset. The shadow he created on the back of women and the colors he used on this Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

“Landscape at Pontoise” 28

http: // Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

“The Battle of the Quotes�

Victor Lunn-Rockliffe 29

The Evolution of an Animal Portrait Adobe Photoshop provides lots of creative tools for the digital painter. In the latest version, CS5, we’ve been given some new toys to play with and experiment with – and I hope to be able to share some of my own experiments with you in due course. For now, my favorite Photoshop painting method continues to be – the smudge technique. And the evolution of this wonderful image of a bonobo chimpanzee from photograph to painting was accomplished in this way. Primates are among my favorite subjects to paint – they’re sort of

half-animal, half-human. In fact, painting a portrait of an ape is a lot like doing a character study of an old man. I chose to paint this image – photographed by Derrick Neill – for the beautiful, cool light it captures, the mood it conveys, and most importantly the magnificence of its subject. The goal in painting this image was to preserve and enhance these features while transforming the photographic information into painted brushstrokes. The photo seems to have been taken at a zoo, but with the out-of-focus blue-green background, it’s easy to

A Blast from the Past Digital Digital Paint Paint Magazine Magazine -- July July 2010 2011

imagine the rainforest that might have been its home in other circumstances. With some subtle changes to the colors and luminosities, and the addition of some foliage, the background transformation was fairly simple, as you’ll see. So let me take you through the basic steps I took in creating this painting. There were a few things I wanted to address before I started in with the smudge tool. Although I like all the green of the grass on the left side of the image, I felt a tighter crop would work better. With that accomplished, adding to the top of the image using the clone stamp was a quick and easy task. I then made a few adjustments inside the selective-color dialog box to reduce the strong cyan cast on the subject. I like the blue look of the image, so I didn’t want to eliminate that entirely, just reduce it somewhat on the subject. In selective-color I targeted cyan, reduced the cyan (-25) and increased the yellow (+10), then applied that transformation only to the subject using the history brush (by making this last step the history brush source and backing up to the previous step in my history panel). Following that adjustment, I over-

sharpened the image – as I always do before I start painting – using unsharp-mask settings of 300/1/0.

At this point I began using the smudge tool to paint the subject, starting with the face (except for the eyes), then moving on to paint the rest of the body. For this process I used just one brush, the texture1 brush, which is a favorite of mine. The goal in this step was to brush over the entire subject (excluding eyes), replacing the photographic detail of the image with painted brushstrokes. Note: Anyone who wishes to download and use the brushes I discuss in this tutorial can go to: viewtopic.php?p=46443#46443. What I call the texture1 brush can be found in SarsaHairBrushes.abr (it’s the one that opens at 15 pixels), and

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the smoothing brush I use can be found in LindaBrushes.abr (it’s the one that opens at 65 pixels). For the head area I worked mostly with a brush size of 15 pixels and a strength setting of 65%. For the body I increased the brush size to 20-25 pixels. As I painted, I stroked in the direction of the lines of the image in order to preserve the forms and features of the subject. One of the downsides of using the smudge tool in this way is that both highlights and shadows are compromised, but as you’ll see, this is something that’s addressed in a later step.

To complete the basic work to the subject I worked the eyes with the same texture1 brush – this time sized down to between 5-10 pixels and used at strength settings of 8085%. I first worked the brush over the eyes to simplify the photographic detail. I then created some painted detail by adding colors in the fingerpainting mode – brown and black Digital Paint Magazine - July 2010 2011

for the eye color, white and blue for the reflections. The eyes are one of the most important parts of any portrait – animal or human – so my recommendation is that you take whatever time is needed to get them right.

With the foundational painting to the subject complete, it was now time to begin the process of adding some painted detail to the face and fur. By using the texture1 brush in fingerpainting mode (at various sizes and strengths based on the width and length of the desired brushstrokes), I applied bright and dark colors to bring back the highlights and shadows that were reduced during the first smudging step. I added white and black, blues and browns to enhance the forms of the subject and give the portrait a more “painted” look.

Next I made a series of adjustments to the colors and luminosities of the subject. When I work on a painting, evaluating and adjusting these elements is always an ongoing process. As much as possible, it’s good to get the colors and tones right from the start, but you’ll always need to carefully examine your painting, and then make the necessary tweaks as you go. I started with a curves adjustment to increase the contrast of the subject. I raised the highlight end of the curve to produce an input value of 246, and then lowered the shadow end to produce an input value of 15. Then I went back into selective-color and made a few changes. To give some strength to my highlight brushstrokes, I targeted white and moved the black slider to -25. Then to reduce the cyan level on the subject, I targeted cyan and moved the cyan slider to -20. I applied both of these adjustments only to the subject using the history brush (except for the eyes, where I didn’t like the effect).

The next task was to begin work on the background. I liked the colors present in the original image, but I really wanted them to be darker – to make the subject stand out a bit more and to create a feeling of early morning. To accomplish this I made a general levels adjustment, moving the white output slider on the bottom to 145. I followed this up with a 100% levels luminosity-fade (Edit>Fade Levels) to bring back the colors of the background. Then I went back to my history brush and applied the pre-levels step to the subject and (at 50% opacity) to some areas of the background, so the darkening effect was only present in the background (and a bit around the subject edges).

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At this point I began to add some colors and vegetation to the background – to give the feel of a natural rainforest habitat. First, I went over the background with my smoothing brush to smooth out the effects of the over-sharpening I did at the beginning of the process. I then used my brush tool in color mode here-and-there to add some cyans, blues and greens. For the grasses, I used the same brush, the texture1 brush, sometimes in finger-painting mode, sometimes not. I used the brush at different sizes and strengths to simulate differentsized blades of grass. All in all, a tenminute painted background – easy, but still effective, I think.

Close to the finish line now, I wanted to apply a few more adjustments before moving on to the final stage. First, I used the dodge tool to build up some of the shadow areas – on the side of the face. Next, I wanted Digital Paint Magazine - July 2010 2011

to adjust the color of the subject one last time by adding a little green – to give a sense of light reflected from the surrounding foliage. To do this, I went back into selective-color, targeted cyan, and moved the yellow slider to +20. I then applied this adjustment

only to the subject, again by using the history brush. With the painting looking essentially as I wanted it to, it was time to move into the final stage of the process. This involved adding the sharpening and texture that would give this digital painting the look of a traditional oil-on-canvas painting. The first step in that direction was to apply some sharpening to the painting, and I used unsharp mask once again, this time with settings of 100/.7/0. Next, I applied a canvas texture filter, not the one that comes with Photoshop (I never use this texture), but one I created. A similar texture that can be used is available from

Scott Deardorff A husband and proud father of two young boys, Scott Deardorff is a portrait artist who takes a modern approach to creating paintings of people and animals. His medium of choice is digital paint applied to a digital canvas. His tools of choice are his Macintosh computer, Wacom tablet and stylus, along with Adobe Photoshop. Scott’s background is in Photography. When he graduated from Cal State Fullerton’s School of Communications, he was honored as the outstanding photo-communications student in his graduating class. He has worked with both digital and traditional photographic media in every format from SLR to mediumformat to 4x5, both in-studio and outdoors. Most of his work in photography has been in the wedding and portrait field. This background, along with his great appreciation for the work of the traditional portrait masters, has guided the development of his digital-art technique, portraiture skills, and unique painting style. In recent years, as Scott has worked to master the art of digital portrait painting, he has worked to fully understand and utilize the creative potential of Photoshop – and to share with others what he has learned. To find out more about Scott, his art and his educational projects, please visit:

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Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Right Click Skip Allen

Make Custom Libraries for Your Custom Brushes

Corel Painter 12 comes with two “Brush Libraries.” I believe this is the first time that Painter has had more than one brush library. One is called Painter Brushes, which contains all of Painter 12 brushes, and the other is Painter 11 Brushes, which contains the brushes as they were in Painter 11. When Painter 12 opens, it loads all of Painter Brushes into memory, which is fine. But, if we continue to put all our custom brushes into Painter Brushes, a common practice, then all of those brushes get loaded into memory, too. Since most of us are brush junkies, Painter Brushes can get unwieldy and our memory can be compromised. Instead, if we create our own brush libraries for our custom brushes or brushes we have obtained from others, we will reduce the strain on our computer’s memory. In my class, Painter 12, A New Beginning, one of the videos talks about making your own brush libraries. Instead of writing it out, I decided to provide this sample video from my class about brush libraries. I hope you enjoy it. Painter 12, a New Beginning Week 2 – Video 6 Cities, Public Libraries, Stacks, and Books…or How To Make A Brush Library The music on the video was done by an accomplished musician, Michael Moore-Kelly. You can find his wonderful album at Skip

View Video

Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


Marketing Buzz By Tim O’Neill

Innovation, the Spark that ignites creativity The power of innovation. It’s a talent that everyone has yet that talent many times lies dormant and unused. If you’ve ever marveled at somebody’s creative prowess, guess what, you can create and innovate too. It just takes time. I believe everyone is born creative. The box of crayons in kindergarten was not limited to those who possessed potential; because the truth is everybody has potential. Children in grade school are still starry eyed and open to possibilities; they have not heard often enough what they can or cannot achieve. Do you remember how long it took to learn to ride a bike or drive or learn any other skill? It’s the same with innovation. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of time before this mind function comes easily when called. We will look at a few tips on how to bring innovation into your life. Don’t listen to what other people say. Follow the beat of your own drum. While I still get criticized for this often allowing for the input of other people will only bring cacophony to the music you are trying to make. If you have an original idea, don’t waste your time and effort trying to make people understand. They won’t and the help you will probably get comes in the form of negative feedback. If all those geniuses listened to their peers, we would probably still be living in the middle ages. That is not to say one shouldn’t collect data or listen to peers and loved ones during the due diligence process of a project. What I am talking about here is your original untested idea. Many people will say it won’t work and perhaps it won’t but....the process of finding out that it won’t work is where the alchemy takes place. We have talked about so called “failure” before. My stance is that failure is necessary and a huge part of the discovery process and honestly more important than success. Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011

When trying things that don’t quite work out we come across many other opportunities to try different combinations that we may never have thought of. Another area that I believe is critical is exercise. Take a walk. Run a mile or two. Send all those endorphins coursing through your veins. Exercising certainly clears and relaxes your mind and allows for anything to pop up. Oxygen to your brain is a good thing and a good balance of diet and exercise just makes sense. Did you know that there is a ton of data out there today that proves that our brain size is inversely proportionate to our percentage of being overweight? That kind of scares me a tad. That means the extra 25 or 30 lbs I am carrying actually has caused a decrease in the physical size of my brain. Ouch! That is serious motivation for the treadmill to become my new best friend. Record your dreams. Arenʼt some of them just the craziest events? Things that your conscious mind would never have thought of? If you’ve had whacked out dreams before this shows you the untapped innovative power you have lying within. So jot down those notes. Those dreams may just create an innovative spark in you. Also one thing I do know about dreams once I become more cognizant and aware of my dreams by journaling it opens the door for me to remember even more going forward. That subconscious dream state during REM sleep is a huge reservoir of creativity and innovation. Find your own style. You can always tell a Van Gogh from a Matisse. You’ll know Hemingway wrote something by the choice of words on the paper. So it is the same with you. People will appreciate your innovation more because it is uniquely yours and that no one else would have thought of what you were thinking. 35

Don’t hide behind nifty gadgets or tools. Hmmm. This is something I need to consider carefully as a visual artist. You don’t need the most expensive set of paints to produce a masterpiece. Do you think Van Gogh, Turner or Renoir could have produced a masterpiece with a crayon or just one brush? I do. The same way with writing. You don’t need some expensive fountain pen and really smooth paper for a bestseller. In fact, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series on bits of tissue. So what if you’ve got an expensive digital SLR camera if lack vision? Who cares if you’ve got a blinging laptop if you can’t write at all? The artist actually reduces the number of tools he has as he gets better at his craft. He knows what works and what doesn’t. Nothing will work without passion. What wakes you up in the mornings? What keeps the flame burning? What is the one thing that you’ll die if you don’t do? Sometimes people with talent are overtaken by the people who want it more. Think of the hare and the tortoise. Ellen Degeneres once said, “ If you’re not doing something that you want to do, then you don’t really want to do it.” That is true. Sometimes you just want something so bad you become virtually unstoppable. And that is passion. Passion will keep you going. In our most recent webinar with Barney Davey we talked a bit about ambition. Perhaps ambition is not at all the same as passion but I believe they are closely related. Finally, be prepared. Inspiration and innovation creep up on us, many times in the most unexpected circumstances. Always have with you a journal, notebook, sketch pad, digital audio recorder, ipad or whatever your tool of choice is that will allow you to jot down a note so it can be looked upon, mulled over and thought about at a later date. For me ideas come often when I am sleeping. I have a pad and pen on my night stand so I can capture those nuggets if I get awakened by the dog, the kids or a passing storm. I have also found that setting the alarm for odd hours will allow me to capture some of what goes on in my brain at night. Usually for me the click of the clock directly before the alarm goes off is enough to wake me, no need for music or buzz. I am the only person I know of that doesn’t use an alarm to get up in the morning but uses it as a key to unlock some of the creative ideas floating around in the gray matter. Unconventional perhaps but effective. Those are a few ideas that may help a few people find ways to capture the innovation the resides in all of us. Digital Paint Magazine - July 2011


July Issue of Digital Paint Magazine  
July Issue of Digital Paint Magazine  

Artist Nathan Smith has some great tutorials on how he creates his unique imagery.