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My Digital Painting Addiction

Art Theory, Digital Painting, Painting, Tattoos| Views: 555

“Glimmer” done in Corel Painter 2020

I discovered Corel Painter over a decade ago when I was still a tattoo artist. I wanted a faster and easier way to manipulate, twist, and shape my designs, and to be able to present the proposals to my clients mapped onto actual photos of them.

My digitally painted tattoo proposal.
My proposed design in the process of being inked on skin.


I’m not a vector gal. Never have been. Never will be. I’m a painter, an illustrator, a tattooist, and much more. I’m very hands-on. I needed a program that would allow me to use my drawing hand the way that I use it with brushes, pencils and a tattoo gun. Corel Painter is the closest thing to actual painting that I’ve been able to find to this day.

Sometimes I just paint for fun. I created this character just for practice and as a vacation from work.

My first purchase after Corel Painter was a designated drawing screen. I went with a Wacom Cintiq. I use it still.

To transform all of my pen and ink art into colorable adult pages for my newest book Inkandescence, I worked in Corel Painter on a Wacom 24″ drawing monitor.

The first version of Corel that I got was Corel Painter X. I used that version for about eight years before upgrading to CP18, and today I’m enjoying Corel Painter 2020.

“Wish you were here” – one of my first digital paintings done in Corel Painter X

These days I create a lot of line art and grey-scale colorable art for the adult coloring community. Frequently, I actually create a full color digital painting, and then transform it into a coloring page.

One of my recent digital paintings that later became a coloring page

One of my favorite things to paint in Corel is portraits. Here’re some of my latest that I’m preparing for a new Udemy course on skin tones.

My latest portrait work in Corel Painter 2020
Another portrait done in Corel Painter 2020

As much as I love it, I don’t always work on my giant Wacom screen. Some nights I like to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and an ipad, and work on my designs on a smaller scale.

There’s a popular misconception that making art digitally is somehow cheating. This way of thinking comes from a lack of knowledge. People who are not familiar with digital painting software assume that to create digital paintings we punch in a bunch of computer commands, press some buttons and BOOM – art appears. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When I paint digitally, I use all the same skill sets as I do when drawing on paper, painting on canvas, or inking on skin. What the program does is it gives me a boost in magical powers. For instance, I don’t need to wait for paint layers to dry, yet I can customize my brushes and even pressure sensitivity. I can work on a virtual canvas of any size, while in reality I’m limited by physical space. I can work in media forms that are not available to me in real life. And my ultimate favorite – I NEVER have to clean my brushes.

I started using a painter program when I was already an accomplished artist, as a means to speed up and fine-tune the delivery of my art, so that I can spend more time on the creative process and less time on, well, watching paint dry.

Working digitally did not prevent me from continuing to make classic analog art. I draw and paint daily, and find that the two ways (digital and analog) only strengthen one another.

If you’re a creator, give digital painting a shot. There’re lots of programs out there. Find the one that’s best for you.

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