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The Painter Wow! Book: Donal Jolley Gallery

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This excerpt from the Painter Wow! books shows how artist Donal Jolley achieves his photorealistic painting meticulously but very traditionally—although electronically.
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Artist Donal Jolley usually begins his paintings by shooting reference photos. “The painting was done meticulously but very traditionally—although electronically,” Jolley explains.

For Wreck, Jolley chose a photo from his collection and opened it in Painter. Then, he made a clone by choosing File, Clone and deleted the contents of the clone image by selecting All (Ctrl/Command-A) and pressing Backspace/Delete. He saved the clone image by choosing File, Save As, giving it a new name. He enabled Tracing Paper in the clone file by pressing Ctrl/Commnd-T.

Next, Jolley created masks to constrain the paint. He carefully built masks for all of the important elements on the car. To read about working with selections and masks, see Chapter 5, “Selections, Shapes and Masks.”

Next, Jolley added a new layer to his image by clicking the New Layer button on the Layers panel. He loaded a selection (Select, Load Selection) and used the Digital Airbrush variant of Airbrushes to paint the larger shapes and to develop the color palette in the painting. He added more layers for the intermediate brushwork and detail, each time using masks and selection to constrain the paint. As he developed the painting, he toggled Tracing Paper on and off as he worked. Once the composition was developed, he dropped the layers to the Canvas. When adding painterly brushwork to the forms, Jolley used Acrylic brushes, for instance, the Dry Bristle, which incorporates Artists’ Oils capabilities. The smeary brushes allowed him to apply new color and blend it with the -existing pigment, just like working with wet paint. To soften areas, he blended using the Just Add Water and Grainy Water variants of Blenders. To finish, Jolley added a few crisp details with a Pencils variant.

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