Holiday Open Studio Starts November 8, 2014; Register Today

Hey Everyone,

It is that time of year again.  Holiday Open Studio, a tradition at Digital Art Academy, starts day after tomorrow, Saturday, November 8, 2014.  As usual, it will be a fun packed few weeks.  Do join us and click the link above and register for this session.

A beautiful image created by Corel Master Painter, Karen Bonaker.

A beautiful image created by Corel Master Painter, Karen Bonaker.


This year, I start the party with lessons on calligraphy.  OK, I’m not a calligrapher or a scribe, but I created some cool brushes and show you the basics of calligraphy.  I teach a type style called Foundational Hand, which Edward Johnson developed from a 10th century manuscript.  Want to see a quick video of me starting the alphabet with Foundational Hand.  Well, it is below, but fair warning…it is really a shameless advertisement for the class…but you do see me making part of the alphabet.

Elaina Moore-Kelly reserved the second week for an old-fashioned nostalgic look at Christmas.  She explains how to create a Christmas card that looks like a chalkboard card.  It is very cool and  this type of image is very trendy in craft circles this year.  Elaina provides written and video lessons.

Elaina Moore-Kelly's Chalkboard Christmas

Elaina Moore-Kelly’s Chalkboard Christmas

Next up is Aaron Rutten with something fascinating.  Aaron demonstrates how to paint totem art in a traditional Native American style.  Totemic art is found in cultures all around the world, which allows the student to draw inspiration from a variety of places.  Aaron encourages each student to choose their own totem animal or symbol, and paint it abstracted instead of in a realistic way.

Totem Art by Aaron Rutten

Totem Art by Aaron Rutten

Corel Master Painter Karen Bonaker takes the lead for the two final weeks.  She developed a wonderful technique to create digital Japanese woodcuts.  I have seen some of her images and they are stunning.  She is very excited about the process and I can tell it will be a lot of fun.

What color is snow?  Karen tells us in her second week.  I can’t wait to find out.  I thought snow was white.  Didn’t you?  Karen paints snow scenes in a glorious rainbow of colors; after the class, we can too.

Winter Road - Digital Woodcut by Corel Master Painter Karen Bonaker

Winter Road – Digital Woodcut by Corel Master Painter Karen Bonaker

OK…that’s the skinny.  Check out Holiday Open Studio at the Digital Art Academy.  Register today and join us for this years seasonal fun.




How I Set Up My Wacom 24″ HD Touch Cintiq for Corel Painter 2015

Hello Everyone,

I am now the proud owner of a Wacom 24″ HD Touch Cintiq.  I have to admit I really love it, and I am having so much fun with it.  Previously, I have owned an Intuos 3, 4, and 5 touch, and I have loved them all, but this is the first time I have spent a great deal of time and put a lot of thought into setting up the Wacom Tablet Properties.  I hope the effort I made will prove useful to you.  I have 9 videos showing each step and explaining the reasons behind my decisions.  And then I have a quick 10th video making an image using my settings.  I show you how to use the Corel Painter Customize Keys functions to add shortcut keys to Painter commands that do not have them.  And, I offer an HTML document with the shortcuts that I created, which I hope you will use when setting up your tablet.

In the last video I said I would do a quick painting using my settings for my Cintiq, but I ran out of time.  I had to go to Mississippi to help my sister transition from rehab back to her home.  I promise to do a video as soon as I can after I get back.  But for now…here are the “how to” videos.

Video 1 – An Introduction…I talk a bit about what I will be covering in all the video tutorials.

Well, that was a mess…I just hit the publish button by accident and released an incomplete post on the unsuspecting public.  My apologies…I’ll try to finish the post before I publish again.

Moving right along…the second video isn’t about setting up the Cintiq…nope…it is about an enhanced feature in Corel Painter 2015 called Arrange Palettes.  This feature has a simple arranged palette that is new to 2015 and it is fabulous.  So, to understand why I have used the setting that I use, you need to understand Arranged Palettes.  Check out Video 2:

Video 3: I continue with Arrange Palettes, but this time I have created my own using the Simple Palette provided.  I explain how you can switch between two different arrange palettes, which is very sweet.  I promise, after this video we will actually start setting up the Wacom.

You know, I just realized that I didn’t make a pretty picture to show on these videos to make them look more interesting in the blog.  I forget about that sort of stuff…oh well…the meat and potatoes are still here.

Video 4: I set up my Wacom Art Pen and Grip Pen for use in Corel 2015.  It doesn’t matter what Wacom device you have, these settings should work for your.

Did I mention that there are nine videos…way too many, right?  Well, the videos are very detailed.  Fast forward through the videos you don’t find interesting…or not.

Video 5: I configure the Express Keys.  It is probably now that I should mention that my settings may not be the best ones for you.  Each person should set up their Wacom tablet to work with their workflow.  I do tell you why I use the settings that I use…hopefully that will be of interest to you.

Video 6: I talk about the Touch Ring and I think I found some cool ways to use the Touch Ring.  But you know, it doesn’t matter how cool they are if I don’t actually use them.  One of the most important aspects of setting up your Wacom device is to practice using it…make it a part of your painting experience.  I’m practicing a lot with mine…and frequently changing settings to find a more efficient way to use the Cintiq.

At the end of Video 6, I realized that I was using a shortcut key that I had created using Painter’s Customize Keys function.  You must have a shortcut key to program a command for your Wacom tablet or Cintiq, so now I need to show you how to do that in Painter.  BTW, Photoshop has a similar function.

Video 7: Learn the power of Corel Painter’s Customize Keys.  At the end of this post, I will provide a list of all the shortcut keys that I am using.

Video 8: In this video I talk about Display Toggle.  This Wacom function allows you to use multiple displays.  If you only have one monitor, then you can skip this video.

And finally, I saved the best for last.

Video 9: I cover the Radial Menu in this video.  For my money, the Radial Menu is the most powerful function available for Wacom tablets and Cintiqs.  The Radial Menu makes it possible to program a huge number of commands and have them at your fingertips.  It is very cool and very useful, but most folks do not use it much.  To create a useful Radial menu, you must give it a bit of thought and time.  Program it in a way that will work for you.  I love using the Radial Menu.  Check out the video.

Okay, as promised, here is an html file that lists the Shortcut keys that I used to set up my Cintiq.  You can use the list to program Painter’s Customize Keys and set up your own Wacom Device.

Skip’s Shortcut Keys

I have mixed emotions about posting my Wacom backup settings.  I have no experience with giving these to anyone.  If you have a Wacom 24″ HD Touch Cintiq and are using Windows 7, the file might work for you.  I do not believe it will work for anyone using a Mac, nor do I think it will work with any other Wacom device.  But, if you are foolhardy enough to try it, be sure to back up your current Wacom settings before doing anything.

Skip’s Cintiq Settings

Well, that wraps up this blog post.  I hope you find it useful.




Special Pricing for Corel Painter 2015!!! $99.00 for registered users of Corel Painter X3

Hey Gang,

Just found out that Corel sent an email to all registered X3 users offering  Corel Painter 2015 for $99.  That is a very good deal.  I wouldn’t download the trial…just go for the full version at $99.00.  Everyone, that is all I know.  If you didn’t get an email and you are a registered user, first check your spam folder.  Then contact sales.  I’m just passing on information I received.



Another quick sketch I did with 2015 using a custom particle brush, which I will make available sometime in the future.

Quick Flowers, Corel Painter 2015, Custom Particle brushes

Quick Flowers, Corel Painter 2015, Custom Particle brushes

The New Corel Painter 2015 Launches August 12, 2014! Check it out.

Hello everyone,

I am so excited to announce that Corel Painter 2015 is available for download today.  Go to Painter Artist, Corel Painter’s new website for your copy.

I also want to let you know that I will have a class at the Digital Art Academy starting on August 19 called Corel Painter 2015 – What’s new.  This link will take you to the Digital Art Academy new site.  When you get there, click on the Advanced Painter Classes or the link on the side to my class.  There you can read the syllabus and register for the class.  I hope you join me.

Corel Painter 2015, like its predecessors, is a very complex program.  There are lots of new and exciting enhancements to the program.  Let’s hit a few high spots, but do take my class for an in-depth look at what is new in Corel Painter 2015.

Corel Painter 2015 is by far the fastest version so far…and the most responsive.  Native 64-bit is available for Macs, but there is also significant cross-platform CPU performance optimizations.  Mac users will notice a significant increase in processing power, all platforms will notice brushes, on average, are 40% faster.

There are tons of added features.  Here is a quick video showing the enhancements to the welcome screen.

There are some cool new preferences.  My favorite are the Simple Toolbox and the Command Bar.  I will tell you all about them in the class as well as some stuff about new arrangements.

This might be a good time to show you some of my artwork done in Painter 2015.  I did a series of wheat fields; some done mostly with the new particle brushes.

Morning Wheat Fields, Corel Painter 2015, Real watercolor with jitter smoothing and particle brushes

Morning Wheat Fields, Corel Painter 2015, Real watercolor with jitter smoothing and particle brushes


Corel Painter 2015, Simple Wheat Field, Real Watercolor with jitter smoothing

Corel Painter 2015, Simple Wheat Field, Real Watercolor with jitter smoothing


When painting, Painter’s brush tracking plays a big role.  Corel Painter 2015’s totally revamped brush tracking amazed me.  Check out the video:

I’ve mentioned the new particle brushes.  What are they?  Corel describes them this way, “…new physics-inspired brushes produce rich, chaotic strokes by emitting particles from a central point that create lines and patterns as they move across the canvas.”  I’ll simplify that definition in the class and show you some great ways to use the brushes.  Here is a sneak peek:

Beside particle brushes, there is a new feature that works with all brushes called jitter smoothing.  Remember the enhanced jitter introduced in Painter X3, well, this is an added feature that helps control jitter.  It is now a favorite of mine.  Here is more on brushes:

In the next two paintings, I used particle brushes almost exclusively.

Wheat fields and Mountains, Corel Painter 2015, Real Watercolor with jitter smoothing and particle brushes

Wheat fields and Mountains, Corel Painter 2015, Real Watercolor with jitter smoothing and particle brushes


Golden Wheat and Sky, Corel Painter 2015, particle brushes

Golden Wheat and Sky, Corel Painter 2015, particle brushes


Do go to Corel Painter’s new Website and have a look around.  And, I hope you will join me in my class, Corel Painter 2015 – What’s New.  This link will take you directly to the advanced classes where you will find my class.  While you are there, do check out the other wonderful classes at the Digital Art Academy.  Look for a link to Jason Maranto’s online free Painter 2015 Manual…it is fabulous.