The Poppy Maiden - A painting in Artrage 5

The image above is a painting I recently did in Artrage 5. I love painting in is one of the easiest painting programs available, and is great for people just getting started in digital painting. Of course, it is also awesome software for the experienced digital painter.

I was reading the Artrage forum one day, and came across some brushes in the Art Supplies category, made and generously given by Lord Whinknshire. There are a lot of great art supplies shared in the Art Supplies category made by people outside of Artrage staff.

My workflow went something like this:
I have been wanting to practice my sketching skills (which are greatly lacking) so, first I found a reference image that I wanted to use from I had no idea where the final painting would go, but I liked the profile on this image.

First I went into Photoshop and expanded the image canvas so that I would be able to paint the top of her head and gave myself some room on the bottom, too. 
I made my canvas in Artrage the same size as the image I had just expanded in Photoshop.
I brought the image into Artrage as a reference image.

I added a new layer above the main bottom layer and brought in a brown texture background image. I blended that layer some so that it looked more painterly.

I created a new layer and sketched the main elements of the girl.

On a new layer below the sketch layer,  I roughly blocked in the main colors with the texture paint brush in the Zed-Ink category.
I then blended the blocked-in paint with a palette knife>just blend color brush.

On a new layer just above the background, (but below the girl) I added some sticker spray accents in yellow and brown. 

I decided I needed some flowers and chose poppies. I found some images of poppies on the internet (there are many!) and brought them into artrage.

I painted and blended the poppies, then, as shown in finished painting, I added some ink outlines and more sticker spray accents in yellow over the flowers. I also added a few black ink spatters here and there.

The colored dots in her hair were achieved by (on a separate layer) adding some yellow paint splats and setting the blending mode to color dodge.

These are the brushes I used to make the finished painting:
Zed-Ink Brushes>Texture Paint>loading>60-75%
For blending:
Palette knife>just blend color
For accents:
Sticker Spray>Art Clippings>Paint Splats
Inked Lines:
Just a regular ink pen

I hope you enjoyed my journey from an image to a painting in Artrage 5.

Thanks for looking! xxx


How to get rid of "moire" and clean up poor quality in an image

Above is the original image that I would like to clean up and get rid of the moire and the poor quality. Doesn't look too bad on the screen, does it? Well, take a look below at the actual closeup of the moire and poor quality in this image.

 There are several ways you can do this, but today I'll cover three possible ways for you.

One of the ways is to use an action that turns your image into a watercolor painting. I used an action called Watercolor Portrait Effect PRO

This is how the image looks after running the action in Photoshop. I like this action and I think it makes a nice watercolor effect on most images. It all depends on what you want to use the image for, of course. This method takes about one minute.

The second way is done in Photoshop using the smudge tool. I only did a portion of the image so that you can see the difference.
I used the basic soft round brush set at 50% strength.

This is how the image looks after smudging. Again, I only did part of the image so you can see the difference. You could follow up and better define some of the outlines to make this look a little more clear.

And the third way, is done in Corel Painter using the grainy water brush set at 0 saturation. There is no paint on the brush (0 saturation) so it just blends the pixels. Again, only partly done to show the difference. This method could take several hours, depending on the image and the detail you want to achieve.

This is how the image looks after using the grainy water brush in Corel Painter, set at 0 saturation. I'm using Painter 2018, but the grainy water brush is one of the standard brushes that comes in all Painter versions, as far as I know. This method could also take several hours, depending on the image and the detail you want to achieve.

If I decided not to use the watercolor action, I would probably prefer the grainy water brush in Painter, rather than the smudge brush in Photoshop. I think it gives a more painterly look. I know I would definitely add a layer above and paint in some more detail on the edges and eyes.

There are other ways to clean up a poor quality image and I hope to cover those in another blog post later on.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to clean up a poor quality image.

Thanks for looking! xxx


Be My Valentine - Page Art

It's almost Valentine's Day so I thought it would be a good time to show some page art for the holiday. This was made in Photoshop CC.

I made this page last year and I no longer have the links to the background or the pretty lady image. The background was a freebie somewhere and the pretty lady is from a vintage postcard I found online.

I cut out (digitally) the lady from the postcard image and got her ready to go. This step took the most time...the rest of the page was very easy to make.

I used a heart-shaped brush on a mask to punch out a transparent heart on the background.

Then I added a rosy-pink fill layer under the background layer to color the heart. 

I then added a grungy black border from Vicki Robinson on a layer above the background. 

Next, I placed the pretty lady on a layer, resized, and aligned her so it looked like she was writing on the heart.

And finally, I added the text on a layer under the pretty lady. Lots of fun to make and except for the time it took to extract the lady from the vintage postcard, it was a quick and easy page for Valentine's Day.

Thanks for looking! xxx


In the beginning - an artful journey

This begins a sharing of my artful journey in digital painting and graphic design. 
I hope you will find inspiration, resources, tips and tricks, and ideas for your own digital journey.

The digital painting I did of the Siamese cat above, was inspired during a class I was taking from DAA (Digital Art Academy) with Karen Bonaker, using Corel Painter software. 

The inspiration for my cat painting, was on the screen of one of the class videos. The cat painting shown on the class video screen, was not covered in the class. But, it really struck me as a beautiful painting. It looks like Karen used a pallet knife for the cat, but that's just a guess. Could have been a Sargent brush.

I was going to request that she might have a class on that technique, and then I thought, well, let's give it a try without a class.

I didn't use a pallet knife or a Sargent brush. I went another direction, which often happens when you are an artist.

The above image was my inspiration. I know our paintings look nothing alike, but the point is, of course, the inspiration.

First I needed an image of a Siamese cat to use for my reference. I like to use to find reference images. This site has over 350,000 free images you can use any way you choose, including for commercial use.

 Siamese cat

The above image was available for free download and was perfect for me.
I used the Schmid luscious, Sargent womc and expressive oil brush included in the class and a couple of Karen Burns brushes in the background around the cat. The Karen Burns brushes are from an online class I took with her. 

I'm pretty happy with how the image from turned into the painting I did and it only took about 30 minutes to paint.

Thanks for looking! 


Dolls to Make for Fun and Profit by Edith Flack Ackley 1938

Embroidery Iron On Patterns YOUR CHOICE Nursery Rhymes Southern Belle Beautiful Peacock Kittens Bedroom Ensemble Butterflies Set 003

Embroidery Iron On Patterns YOUR CHOICE Dutch Girl Hillbilly Romance Flowers Southern Belle Musical Butterfly Set 005

Embroidery Iron On Patterns YOUR CHOICE Christmas Birds Southern Belle Colonial Girl Butterfly Set 004

Embroidery Iron On Patterns YOUR CHOICE Christmas Santa Merry Christmas Victorian Floral Flowers Nursery Rhyme Set 001