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Blending and Feathering with Pastels in Painter 2015

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Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, author of The Painter Wow! Book, Tenth Edition, shows how to combine pastels with the Hard Media capabilities in Corel Painter 2015 for brushes that give you richer, more expressive drawings.
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Pastels are exceptional for painting rich, grainy textures, and for blending and modeling forms expressively. For more sensitivity and expressive strokes, this article explores how to use pastels with brushes that incorporate Hard Media capabilities in Corel Painter 2015. After laying in a sketch, we’ll build up a blended underpainting, and then we’ll use feathered strokes to enhance the modeling of the forms (see Figure 1). This technique employs optical color blending; because the feathered finishing strokes remain unblended on the painting's surface, the viewer’s eye must work to blend the colors.

Figure 1

Figure 1 My final “Pear Dance” image shows the expressively modeled forms and the blended and feathered pastel strokes that we explore in the following steps.

Step 1: Setting Up Brush Tracking

For a sensitive response when using your stylus, it’s important to set up Brush Tracking before you begin sketching. Brush Tracking is one of the most unique features in Painter—and one of the most important. Brush Tracking allows you to customize how Painter interprets the movement of your hand, including pen pressure and velocity.

With Painter 2015, Brush Tracking is greatly improved, and you can now save your own Brush Tracking presets. Begin by opening the Brush Tracking dialog box:

  • Mac: Choose Corel Painter 2015 menu Preferences > Brush Tracking.
  • Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences > Brush Tracking.

When the dialog box appears, make a stroke in the field that represents the speed and range of pressure that you want (see Figure 2). To save your Brush Tracking settings as a custom preset, click the Add (+) button at upper right in the Brush Tracking dialog box. In the Add Preset dialog box, type a name in the Preset Name box, and then click Save.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Making a brushstroke in the window.

The Brush Tracking pop-up menu offers several choices. If you’d like to experiment in detail with the Brush Tracking settings, the Default setting is a good place to begin. The Legacy setting is the default brush tracking that was used in Corel Painter X3 and earlier versions of the program. With the Linear setting, each small variation of pressure affects the brushstroke. Additionally, Wacom tablet users can now keep the Brush Tracking window open, testing strokes in the dialog box (and on the actual painting) while making adjustments in the dialog box to achieve the desired results. When you’re happy with your Brush Tracking settings, move on to the next section and step 2.

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