I have taken a brush making class at the Digital Art Academy (DAA). The DAA is an on-line school that teaches art while using Painter, the app I use to make my art. Jason Maranto taught the class. It has been fantastic.
First, let me explain about brushes in Painter. You don’t just grab your mouse and paint. I use a stylus and tablet that plugs into my computer.
Painter comes with over 700 brushes. These brushes are in many media, such as oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pens, pencils, watercolors, conte, markers, crayons, inks and others. The brushes actually mimic real world media. The brushes work with paper textures. So one can take charcoal or pastels and draw on a rough surface or smooth surface. The brushes will show the textures of the rough papers and be smooth in the others.
The brushes in Painter have a number of adjustments. Painter calls these adjustments the Brush Engine. It is much like an engine, very complicated. For each brush, there are setting about how the brush will interact with paper, opacity of the paint, the saturation of the paint, the paper grain, the angle the brush is held, and many more settings for each brush. Users of Painter can make brushes in addition to making adjustments to the brushes that come with the program.
In my art, I want as much as possible to have every part of it my touches, my strokes, my decisions. In order to do that with digital art, I needed to understand the brush engine.
I have attempted to understand and learn Painter’s brush engine for two years now. I had a handle on it, but really didn’t totally understand it.
Jason Maranto’s class has been a real eye-opener for me. I finally understand how to make brushes do what I want them to do. I understand that if I change slider A in grain, then I also need to go over to opacity and change slider B. I may also need to change three or four other sliders in other panels. It used to make my head spin. But now, after Jason’s class, it is all becoming intuitive. He has an incredible way of teaching. He is straight-forward and very organized.
If you ever want to learn anything about Painter, Jason Maranto is the person to look for. You can find his blog here. He has done an incredible set of videos explaining how Painter works. They are available at his blog, as well as a great set of brushes for Painter. I watched Jason’s videos and have learned many new things. Corel, the manufacturer of Painter, just doesn’t seem to be able to put out anything that really explains how the program works. Using their help file is an exercise in futility. I finally feel that I am finally controlling Painter instead of Painter controlling me.
This is a huge leap forward for me in my art.
I feel that 2015 is going to be a really exciting year for me artistically. I took Tracy Verdugo’s class (see that blog here) to get new ideas about all the media available in Painter, and now with Jason’s class, I’m ready to PAINT!
I decided that the first thing I wanted to do after Jason’s class was keep things very simple. I don’t want a lot of complicated brushes getting in the way of moving forward with my abstracts. There is so much I want to explore. I want, for now, some simple tools to start my journey.
I didn’t get to do much of any art for over 15 years because I was stuck flat on my back in bed with undiagnosed lyme disease. I have a lot of time I want to make up for.
I also have neurologic damage from the lyme disease. My brain has been injured much like I had a stroke or head injury. I have had to learn to write again, as well as draw again.
Recently, I have been very excited because I can draw a circle again. Most marks I make, I have to practice before my brain “remembers” them. However, I’m finding that my brain is rewiring itself quite a bit lately. I can see improvement in what I’m drawing. I am now at a point where when I “see” in my brain what I want to draw, I’m able to draw it.
This abstract, Look In My Eyes, is done with some very simple camel’s-hair brushes and some great pencils I made for Jason’s class. I used a wee bit of liquid inks. I’ll talk more about them in another post. I am very excited about what I have been able to get the liquid inks to do and how they are working in my art.
I had a lot of fun making this abstract.
Last Fall, I told myself that there would be no more angst-filled drama over each piece of art. I had grown weary of listening to “that woman” in my head who doesn’t like my art. I made a decision to put her on a time out. I believe that engaging her, just makes her stronger. Every time she tries to come back, I sent her back to her time out. It is working. She is becoming less and less. I also made a commitment that I would have fun and enjoy painting. No more dramatic angst there either. Just lay back and have fun. That also is working.
I used to make such a dramatic production out of every piece of art I did. It was getting ridiculous. I’m now having fun and enjoying myself. If something goes wrong in my painting, I acknowledge it, and work my way out of it, calmly. Art feels so much better this way.