As I started to think of things to blog about for Artisans of Colorado, I thought about digital art for people with a formal art background. I am one of those with formal art training. My training began as a young child. I remember going to the old Jeffco center in Arvada on Saturday morning’s for art classes while my friends were playing basketball. At the time I resented it. But it has paid dividends later in life. I found I was only able to play basketball for a short time while I can do art my whole life.
I took art all through school and ended up going to the Colorado Institute of Art in downtown Denver. I later went on to Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado for fine art. Over the years I’ve been in several art shows, I’ve had a 1 man show and have painted hundreds of paintings. Pastels, watercolor, acrylics, color pencil and even air brush were the tools of choice. I used these skills but found that I needed to support my family and went into commercial art. I found my art space was quickly taken over by kid toys. I found it was really difficult to pick painting up again. A few years later a friend mentioned Adobe Photoshop to draw digitally. Of course being a formally trained artist, that was below me. I tried drawing with a small 4″ x 5″ drawing tablet with Photoshop but quickly became frustrated. Later Corel Painter (http://www.corel.com/) came along (at the time it was owned by MetaCreations). All I can say is wow! All those tools I have used can now be replicated digitally. They performed much like the tools I was used to but without the fumes and mess. The thing I like is if I have only an hour, I can open my painting in Corel Painter and get started. Not only that, unlike like real world painting, the digital world has an undo button. In the digital world I don’t have to concern myself with a child spilling grape juice on my painting – it’s all saved digitally (the kid spilling grape juice on the computer is a different story though).
If you are reluctant to consider digital art, I would encourage you to at least try it and then make a judgment. Corel offers a 30 day trial of Painter for Mac and Windows. Although I would warn you to borrow a drawing pad from your technical illustrator friend because if you try to draw with a standard mouse it will feel like you are trying to paint with a bar of soap. I have heard that Adobe Photoshop has some really good drawing tools – but I have not experimented with them to know. I do use both tools together but have been content with the tools in Painter that I have not experimented with Photoshop. I’m also finding that printers have become so much better that you can do your own printing in some cases and there are many options for higher quality print outs from shops that are really affordable. At a later date, I will blog more information about this tool. There is a magazine for Corel Painter that is worth viewing that has some great tips and resources. (http://www.paintermagazine.co.uk/)