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Painting Inside

Painting with Bristle Brushes & Draw Inside


Advanced Technique

Overview: Start with a placed image as a reference; create a line drawing made of closed paths; use a variety of bristle brushes and the Draw Inside mode to paint the sketch; add a rectangular background with a Charcoal art brush edge.

Draw Inside mode makes it easy to create a painterly illustration with bristle brushes. Lisa Jackmore drew this sketch of an artichoke using a Wacom tablet with her Art Pen and several modified brushes. After drawing a simple outline of the artichoke leaves and the stem with the Pencil tool, she utilized the Draw Inside mode and painted with a range of bristle brushes.

  1. Drawing the outlines. Jackmore used a snapshot as a basic reference, but if you prefer to draw directly on top of a photo or drawing, use File> Place and enable the Template option. To create an accurate line drawing she double-clicked the Pencil tool to open Pencil Tool Options, where she chose the most Accurate Fidelity and then disabled Edit Selected Paths and Keep Selected. Into one layer she created a 1-pt line drawing using the Pencil tool, making sure that she closed each leaf and stem path so that she would later be able to add detail and color to the loosely drawn paths using the Draw Inside mode.


    The closed path line drawing created with the Pencil tool using a 1-pt stroke

  2. Setting up for painting using the bristle brush tool and a tablet. So she’d be able to paint freely and easily, Jackmore planned ahead and first set up her tools. She opened the Brushes panel, the Bristle Brush Library (from the Libraries menu), and the Layers panel. She also set the Wacom tablet’s Touch Ring to auto scroll/zoom.

  3. Painting with bristle brushes and the Draw Inside mode. To draw inside a path, she selected it, pressed Shift-D (the Draw Inside mode), then deselected the path (so the bristle brush wouldn’t be applied to the outline, but would be constrained within the path). She selected the Paintbrush tool (B) and then chose a bristle brush and a stroke color. When she finished drawing inside a path, Jackmore pressed Shift-D to switch back to Normal drawing mode. She switched between the Paintbrush tool and the Selection tool by holding the common01.jpg/Ctrl key to temporarily switch to the Selection tool and toggled between drawing modes with Shift-D. Jackmore created a number of variations of the Round Point, Fan, Round, and Flat Blunt bristle brushes. To customize parameters for opacity, Bristle Length, Stiffness, and Thickness, she’d open Options by pressing the upper switch on the Intuos4 Pen (or double-clicking the Paintbrush tool). With the Paintbrush tool selected, she decreased/increased brush size with the [ ] keys, adjusted opacity with the number keys, and zoomed in or out by turning Wacom tablet’s Touch Ring clockwise, or counter-clockwise.


    Some of the bristle brushes in the Brushes panel; selecting a leaf to Draw Inside; bristle brush icon while drawing inside the leaf

  4. Organizing layers and finishing details. To reveal the correct part of the leaf as it overlapped another, as she worked, Jackmore moved each leaf into its appropriate layer. As each leaf and stem became painted enough to see the entire path, while in Normal drawing mode she set the stroke to None. To fine-tune the painted area for a particular leaf, she double-clicked that leaf to automatically enter into isolation mode while already in Draw Inside mode, allowing her to continue to paint and modify brushstrokes. For the background, on a layer below Jackmore drew a rectangle, with the same fill and stroke color and applied a 3-pt Charcoal art brush stroke. To more fully distribute the brushstroke, she slightly rotated a duplicate of the stroke by first clicking the Add New Stroke icon in the Appearance panel (to add a stroke), and from the fx menu she chose Distort & Transform> Transform and entered 180° for rotation.


    Detail of the lower right corner of the background before and after adding a second, rotated Charcoal art brush stroke

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