New cover art for The Forever Knight, by John Marco, from DAW Books
Detail images on my website, here.
Below is a video I captured as I was working on part of the background of bones. Click on the image to open the video in another window.
I’m working here in Corel Painter 9.5, using the Digital Water brushes. Prior to starting this post, the entire area was colored a pale yellow, going darker and more purple as I went toward the top of the painting, off screen. That color will serve as my “highlight” color for the next step. Then using a Broad Water Brush, I washed the whole area with a middle value, the tan you see in the unpainted spot. I then used the Round Water Blender, as you can see in the upper right, for 99% of the work, alternating between a dark color for shadows and pure white. I pick the highlights out first with the white, essentially wiping out the middle value and revealing the highlight color. Then with the dark color adding shadow detail, back and forth. It’s a very expressive brush that acts more like a blending tool with a light touch, and punches in the color it’s loaded with when pressure is increased. I change colors with hot keys on my keyboard, so the painting goes very quickly and spontaneously, with very little time wasted visiting menus or changing tools.
Occasionally you will see me using the Pure Water Brush to adjust areas. In particular, at about the halfway point in this video, I use the pure water brush alone to reveal the paper texture; in Painter, the texture is in the ground or canvas, not in the brush. Initially I had a paper texture with very little grain, in order to get the flat washes, then switched to a robust, organic texture. It is lurking in the background and doesn’t really appear until now. Some brushes reveal the texture and others don’t. The Round Blender does not, but the Pure Water Brush, even though it has no pigment, will darken the troughs of the texture. I used it to get some happy accidents to build upon.
Later, with the Digital Water dried, I can add washes with the Broad Water brush to refine shadows, and use an Oil Brush to pop select highlights.