Getting my files to print the desired color on the Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer can be a real challenge. Repeated yelling at and name-calling of the printer has only yielded limited results. Luckily the nice people at Canon told me about a Photoshop plug-in called PRINT STUDIO PRO. Just google and download the software. It may even have come with the printer.
Here are a couple of quick tips and fuzzy screen images of how I use PATTERN PRINTS for the Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer.
This most useful feature lets me print a proof sheet to get an idea of how to color correct my file. So here we go:
1) Open the program under FILE - AUTOMATE - CANON PRINT STUDIO PRO
2) Access Pattern Prints on the right of the screen under MY SETTINGS - CORRECTIONS - PATTERN PRINT
I then print a sheet, and once I like a thumbnail, I will adjust the settings as indicated on that sheet. PATTERN PRINTS has helped me save on paper while keeping my language clean(er).
Since I am not qualified (and simply too lazy) to go into the nitty-gritty of using PRINT STUDIO PRO I've attached this link:
On November 10, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a featured speaker at Gnomon at the behest of the Corel Corporation, makers of the Painter software.
I focused my talk on my work as a digital artist, my thought process as I approach a painting, and a demo of the new Painter 17 and how several new features fit perfectly into my workflow. The talk was broadcast world wide via the internet. My wonderful wife was able to watch it from home.
“Called "the MIT of visual effects" by Fast Company magazine, we offer an unrivaled experience for our students and boast a 2015 placement rate of 94%.
For over fifteen years, Gnomon has educated many of the world’s best digital artists. Gnomon offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with full-time two- and three-year programs, and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment.
Our curriculum is distinguished by our innovative philosophical approach to technology. Though there may be ever more powerful software available to visual effects artists, our emphasis remains on the creative process instead of mere technical proficiency.
Gnomon’s campus is located in Hollywood, CA, within the Television Center Studio lot. Our classrooms have been designed to cultivate creativity and learning by mimicking the environments of real production studios. Our 30,000 square foot facility has seven state-of-the-art computer labs, a green screen stage, two cycloramas, dedicated sculpture labs, a drawing studio, lecture spaces, student lounges, a student store, and the Gnomon Gallery.”
Digital Lab at Gnomon
The Gnomon campus is located inside the historic Television Studio lot, originally the Technicolor building built in the 1920s.
An education at Gnomon consists of both digital and traditional courses to create well-rounded artists.
About Corel Painter
Corel Painter is the ultimate art studio for anyone ready to expand their definition of creativity. Working with the most advanced digital painting and natural media tools allow you to create distinct art every time.
“The most natural transition from traditional to digital art”
From custom brushes to custom palettes, Painter lets you import content from others, create your own, or select from built-in artist layouts to suit your workflow needs. Painter provides a personal experience that plays well with Photoshop and runs on Mac and Windows so that you can perfect your artwork in the way you’re used to working.
In the year 2000 I had a studio fire that destroyed 10 years worth of work. At the time I was making the slow transition to digital media but resisted it for my professional work because many of the software I tried looked sterile, too digital. I wanted my illustrations to look like my analog art. In 2001 I was introduced to Painter and I was hooked. It has been part of my professional career ever since.
Some time around 2007 – 2008 Corel became familiar with my digital work and used it to promote Painter at The //ADAPT Art Expo in Montreal. Soon after that the relationship was formed. I have beta tested an older version and have had my work showcased in their software. In 2015 I was named a Corel Painter Master and in 2016 was moved to the elite status.
Corel is a software for artists that is created by artists. I not only love this product, I thoroughly enjoy the people at Corel. This is a company that cares about the individuals that use their product. Tanya Lux is the best.
I broke my talk into 3 segments.
You guys can check out my work on my website.
Building a Painting
I talked about the key skills needed to build successful landscape illustrations in Corel Painter, including how to define composition, vantage points, and focal points, as well as tips for establishing shape, form, color, contrast, and temperature in your digital paintings.
Here's a video I showed in order for the audience to see that my approach to analog media is not much to my approach to digital media.
I wanted to emphasize the importance of the general to specific process to building a digital painting. Start with shape, the move to form, then to color, and then finally to detail. The shape stage develops and sets the composition. Form is where you determine where your light is. The color stage begins to set the mood, particularly when you are developing both temperature of light and temperature of shadow. Detail is the final and longest stage, but the first three are the most important in developing your story. Here is the demo that I did. I was able to demo two new features in Painter 17. The two additions are fantastic to my personal workflow: glazing brushes and texture brushes.
Finish – I finished it when I got home.
The event was a lot of fun. The folks at Gnomon were tremendous. Courtney, Lynnette, and Rey were extremely gracious and hospitable. They made this old guy feel very welcomed. Once the event was over they took the time to give me a tour around the campus. The facility is wonderful. Thank you Gnomon, and thank you Corel.
I'm working with the Corel Painter 17 and this upgrade in outstanding. There are a few brushes that I loved in the older version that were eliminate, but the new glazing and texture brushes are perfect for my workflow.
I was recently given the "assignment" by my agent to create a new piece for a postcard mailing. The Agency does this 3 or so times a year (as we all should!!) and they usually like to give their artists some kind of theme or prompt to work off of. This time it was "an act of kindness". Very broad, and the possibilities are endless! These are great prompts for artists to run with and really make their own.
Personally, I hadn't made a personal piece of art in quite awhile due to a lot of paid work, so I was excited for the opportunity to make something all for myself. I am usually the kind of person who gets going on a project pretty quickly and I have the problem of not spending enough time on the idea/concept of a piece and spend a lot of my time on rendering the final piece of art. This usually makes for a nice looking piece, but not with a lot of substance.
So this time I gave myself several days (instead of maybe 1 day at most) to brainstorm and researching what my idea was going to be. I googled "acts of kindness" and "random acts of kindness" and got a lot of very simple ideas that didn't lend itself to a very good narrative idea. Things like writing a nice note to someone. Although that can mean the world to someone who needs it, it doesn't really read visually as a single piece or 2 pieces at most.
I wanted to go for something a little more impactful and unexpected. Maybe something ironic? All I knew for sure was I wanted to draw animals – my favorite! So the question was what would a specific animal specifically do as an act of kindness. I came up with a few ideas, some usable, some not so much. In my research I came across a list of "acts of kindness" that listed "donating blood". I immediately thought of a vampire bat and laughed to myself at how ironic that was. I had my idea!!
Now to sketch out my ideas in the sketchbook. I tried several ideas of how I wanted to tell the story. In the end, I didn't want a lot of action because, well, when you give blood, there isn't a lot of action. Instead I wanted a still image so people could read it more slowly and let the idea of it sink in.
Then I picked a color palette. I knew I wanted to blood to really pop, so I let everything else in the image be cooler colors so they'd fall into the background compared to the bright red blood. I used the Adobe Kuler website to find my palette. It's a great site to make your own palettes or search for palette that others have put together. I also found some reference art that match the palette I was looking for.
After spending a lot of my time planning, and thinking, I finally got started on clean sketches, color sketches, and final paintings (done in acrylic). I'm happy how these turned out, and I think I have a better concept because I spent the time on the front end to allow myself to just think about it for awhile. Try it!
The presentation was directed to the students, but as a teacher, I found myself inspired beyond words. Imaginative Realism, one of James Gurney’s books about creating art, had just been released, filled with insight related to creating beautiful and compelling story telling images
James Gurney at CSUF
At Cal State Fullerton, I teach animation. My professional career as an artist before becoming a teacher was in animation; but I love to paint and I love illustration (and I also LOVE dinosaurs!). The most recent work I have been creating is an exploration of illustrative art: rendering, drawing, working in mediums not normally explored by a story artist or animator, such as pen and ink, oil, casein, gouache, and watercolor. The impetus for this exploration began with James Gurney’s visit. Illustration was the path not taken when I was young - and that is a story for another blog post - James Gurney revived the excitement and passion I had for creating a different kind of storytelling image than that provided by animation.
My youngest son made me this sign for my office/studio door many, many years ago. He depicted my classic Mini Cooper because it was shortly after we aquired it. It remains on my door.
At the end of the hall is where you will find me. The bookself contains reference books and the top has a few of the trophies our Mini won. I always recommend setting up your studio with the things you love. It makes it a place that you enjoy and want to spend time in.
As you can see, I love antiques. I run two 27" inch iMacs and a 22 in Cintiq and they set atop a 1910 Craftsman desk. I found the desk for $10 and restored it. It is super solid. The sturdy drawer slides out and the Cintiq rests nicely on it at the perfect angle for me. It has a bookself underneath that I keep all of the NYSI Annuals going back to #1.
A view of the other side of the studio. I've managed to find some incredible pieces of furniture over the years. The file cabinet with display case is my greatest find. I keep my story ideas and business paperwork in the regular file drawers. It's important to have a good filing system.
The flat files are stacked on the regular files. I keep my art in the top drawer, collected art in the second drawer, and papers and illustration boards in the third and fourth drawers.
Lots of relics in the display case. A church warden pipe (Gandalf pipe) sits on a craftsman tray. A picture of my dad is in the back of the case. The WW1 German scuplture is a bronze I did many years ago. Also in the case: Bibles from the 17 and 1800's, Model 2 Colt Derringer, WW1 goggles, and a bunch of other old stuff that I use as props.
More fun stuff sits on top of the case. I recently restored the helmet on the right to the exact one that I wore in the old days. Go Bears! I just need to find the right ear-pads. An original WW2 US helmet is in the middle.
Another cool cabinet that I found for practically nothing. It housessome of my art supplies and my antique pipe collection.
Some of my old pipes
This is where I sit and read, researching a latest project. The built-in book cases are invaluable. The second self holds all of my movie "art of" books while my how-to books are on the middle shelf. Artist books and reference books are on the bottom.
My 1880's watercolor easel. I got this for a song also. I used to deal in antiques on the side. This made me a great hunter of old things and paid off immensely. I do my casein, goauche, watercolor, and acrylic paintings on that bad boy.
Another cool barristers stackable book shelves.
More fun prop stuff. I love the dictaphone and the Kettle helmet.
Some friends graphic novels and some of the DVD covers I've done.
Another barristers stackable bookcase. This five stack houses my 1940, 50's SciFi pulp collection. Great cover art on all of these.
The built-in book shelves hold some of my most important books that I reference for my work. The bottom shelf contains annuals from Ballistic Publishing and Spectrum. The second shelf holds books by illustrators. The middle shelf is dedicated to books put out by Design Studio Press.
I installed a shelf that runs the length of the room that holds historically accurate original and reproduction helmets and hats.
The closet! Chris Pratt signed one of my prints, I had to display it somewhere.
Art supplies on one side.
Costumes on the other.
I had a studio fire in the year 2000 and lost ten years worth of work and a lot of collectables, antiques, and books. My studio is now in the house. I have crates of old costumes in the garage and make it into a photo studio when needed.
A studio is highly personal. It reflects the personality of the person that occupies it. Have fun building your studio space into a place where you enjoy working. If you enjoy the space, you'll enjoy the work you are producing in it - much of the time ;-)
Casein dries quickly, but sets better the longer it has to dry. While the value painting sets, I explore color. To explore the color, I reduced the size and duplicated the digital drawing, creating small thumbnails on which to paint my color studies. I created two such pages with different size thumbnails, both were printed onto 7″ X 10″ sheets of 140 lb cold pressed Arches paper.
Medium size thumbnails
Working with Casein, I selected different palettes to explore.
A color study
Color studies completed, I selected elements from two of the studies to inform my color decisions when creating the final painting.
Working thin, I glaze the color on, building up layers of color. Working back to front, I began with the sky.
Once the sky was completed, I moved to the tree and tree limb.
Tree and tree limb completed
Details showing the painted trees and sky
Detail of the tree
Detail of the tree limb
Continuing to work from the back to the front, I painted the most distant flier. The density of the highlights is evident in this detail - the thickest paint tends to be the highlights.
Distant goblin flier
Continuing, I painted the furthest hummingbird.
Entire painting developing
Continuing with the process, I painted the near hummingbird rider.
Near hummingbird rider
Then moved to the goblin flier. I painted the mechanism first, saving the goblins for last.
Detail of the in progress goblin flier
Another in progress of the entire painting
The smoke from the steam powered engine proved to be challenging and I repainted it a number of times.
Moving onto the goblins
Pretty much done! I review the entire painting, assessing values, refining details. I will even revisit areas with the pencil, drawing on top of the paint if I feel it necessary.
Once I finish painting, there is one more step that will affect the final appearance of the image. I varnish the painting with Liquitex Gloss Acrylic Medium/Varnish. The varnish changes the matte finish of the Casein, giving it a sheen; it also punches the values and saturation, the darks deepen, the highlights pop, and the colors glow.
First, I spray the painting with Krylon Crystal Clear to ensure I don’t disturb the surface when painting the varnish. I mix the varnish with a little water and paint a thin coat. Normally I repeat the process two more times for three coats of varnish. The varnish dries quickly so you must move pretty fast. The varnish is hard on brushes - clean your brush well and be prepared to replace the brush when necessary.
This is the digital drawing created using the photo reference:
Final digital drawing
And the drawing with value included:
Digital Value study
You can see cross-hairs on the drawings. The cross-hairs served as registration marks - the final image would be realized as an 11″ X 22″ painting, and the printer I was using would only print up to 8″X14″. I printed a series of images, using the cross-hairs to register them to each other, then taped these prints together. (Unfortunately, I failed to take a photo of the printed, taped together, printed piece.)
I transferred the digital drawing to 300 lb Hot Press Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. The watercolor paper was taped to a wooden drawing board and I rubbed a brown conte crayon on the reverse side of the print. The print, with the conte crayon on the back, was taped to the board on top of the watercolor paper; I then traced over the print with a ball point pen, transferrig the drawing to the watercolor paper. The process flows in exactly the same manner as when I painted the Isaacius and the Snake illustration, which can be seen here: https://chuckimation.tumblr.com/post/148447895991/illustration-master-class-2016-pt-2.
Detail of the transferred drawing
The transfer, like a tracing, has a dead and lifeless line. I redrew the transferred drawing, rubbing the transferred line back with a kneaded eraser and using, first a Colerase brown pencil, then further refining and strengthening the drawing with a brown Pablo series Caran D’Ache colored pencil.
The finished drawing on watercolor paper
A series of detail shots of the drawing:
The next step is to paint a value painting. Using Raw Umber, I paint the darks, leaving the paper for the white.
And I finish the painting in Part 4 which can be found here!
Dogfight would show an in air battle between the Hummingbird Riders and the goblins in their steam powered fliers. Designing the painting began with thumbnails, sketched in my sketchbook with old fashioned pencil and paper.
Thoughts on design and posing
More pose considerations
Working on the composition
A challenge I find when designing Garden Clan illustrations is the scale of the world and the characters that live within it. I imagine the inhabitants are about 1 3/4″ tall. Yet they live in a world in which everything else is pretty much consistent with our real world experience.
I moved to Photoshop to continue the thumbnail and design stage. I like to compose in Photoshop as it is very easy to adjust the composition. move elements around, reformat the image, etc.
Initial digital sketch
A series of images showing the design exploration
The thumbnail design I decided to use
The design of the goblin flier is directly base upon the sketches I had created much earlier.
Early goblin flier design
To ensure an accurate representation of perspective, volume, light, and shadow, I decided to build models of the elements within the illustration and shoot reference photos. I drew plans from which to build the models out of wood, Sculpey, and epoxy.
I decided to build the models in a 1:1 scale - a decision I would later regret as the small pieces were hard to manage. Next time I will build them larger.
Another shot of the raw materials and the plans
A wire armature, padded with aluminum foil and attached to a wooden base provides the internal structure for the Hummingbird. The Goblin Flier was constructed from paper, dowel rods, and wood, glued together with a hot glue gun and epoxy.
The goblin flier is glued to a stick of wood and stuck into the head of an old, unused Grendel sculpt. The side structure of the flier is a complex arrangement of wood, metal and rope. I cut the shape of the structure out of an old manila folder and glued it to the wood structure with hot glue.
The wings and tail of the hummingbird and flier were cut from paper and glued to wire supports. The wire allowed for flexibility in posing. The goblin flier measures about 10 inches from wing tip to wing tip. The Hummingbird is 3 ½ inches in length.
The characters were sculpted in Sculpey - each is between 1 and 2 inches high. The Hummingbird armor was sculpted after the hummingbird had been baked to ensure a good fit.
Once sculpted and with the Sculpey baked, I painted the models with acrylic paint.
I sculpted three hummingbird riders but just one hummingbird. Two of the hummingbird riders fit on the bird for the pose of the closer hummingbird in the sketch and another rider for the hummingbird further away. In the above image, you can see a hummingbird rider hanging on and another hummingbird rider on the wooden base, laying on his back.
Closer shot of the hummingbird riders on the bird
I purchased a metallic paint in hopes of simulating the metal of the armor. The results were not very successful.
With the models painted, I was ready to shoot reference. I used a piece of cardboard to simplify and isolate the background. A painted sky background or a lighter value paper might have served better, but these images still proved very helpful.
The 2X4 stood in for the branch over which the hummingbird’s shadow is cast in the illustration.
The same hummingbird with a different rider and pose.
The flier posed to represent the far flier in the compsition
Casualties occurred during the shoot! The little characters fell out of the flier and off their mounts. Arms, legs, and weapons were broke and lost. Poor little guys ended up without all the limbs with which they began, but they had served their purpose.
With help from my family, I staged myself in poses to use for referencing the various characters in the scene.
The process for creating the Dogfight illustration entailed a lot of sketching, story and world development, gathering reference imagery, building models, etc. so I thought it would be a fun illustration to revisit in a process post.
The initial visual for fairies riding on hummingbirds like knights tilting was inspired by the show actual hummingbirds were putting on for our family in our own backyard. One morning, as we ate breakfast on our back patio, the hummingbirds proved so aggressive as they fought, they tumbled across the patio, into the air, back onto the ground, and back up into the air! It was so fun to watch I was inspired to create this sketch!
First sketch created based upon watching the hummingbirds battle
The idea stuck and began to grow. The first fairy designs for the hummingbird riders were much more stylized (and I am still working to find a balance).
Early Hummingbird Riders
Another early Hummingbird Rider design
I explored other ideas for the Hummingbird Rider design, including bird elements like claws, feathers, etc:
Hybrid Hummingbird Riders drawn on the iPad Pro in Procreate
More hybrid Hummingbird Riders, Ink and Wash
But returned to the human form and the hummingbird riders eventually developed to look like this:
The goblins soon appeared, and have also developed in changed from their initial design. At first, they were very human, much like the fairies.
But took on more animal-like characteristics as they developed.
Another early Goblin design
And then the piggy Goblins who have populated my world appeared.
The first piggy goblins
War Pig - and my first test with Casein
The world of the Garden Clan continued to grow in my mind and then there were rabbits and owls!
Some of the first rabbits
Veteran of the Goblin Wars
I am not sure where the first owl came from, but he proved popular.
First owl I drew and a fairy riding a lizard
More owls soon followed.
Early on in the sketches, the piggy goblins took to the air in an effort to match the Hummingbird Riders. Unable to find an ally in nature such as the Hummingbird Riders have done with the hummingbirds, lizards, and other creatures, the Goblins turn to technology.
Another goblin flier. An early sketch, note how similar it is to the goblin flier realized in the Dogfight illustration
The world of the Garden Clan, which is the foundation for the Dogfight illustration, has continued to develop in my mind and my sketchbook.