I've done a few projects so far, but I thought I'd share my process on one for those thinking of getting into digital art. I wanted to do a digital watercolor of a photograph I took a couple of years ago at Mission San Miguel, a place I enjoy visiting when traveling up and down the California coast. Here's the original photo:
I love this photo so much that a textured version is featured on my business card. At this point, I could have cloned a painting from the photo in Painter, and would have gotten a very pale image that you then can paint over (kind of like paint-by-numbers). Or, I could have chosen "auto-painting," and gotten something like this:
I stopped the process part-way through so you could see how it fills in the painting, stroke by stroke, and if you're super-good at setting the autopainting up (which I am not), it can come out looking very good. But that wouldn't be something I painted, so I don't want to do that. Instead, I began by making the painting into a sketch:
A little hard to see, but I think you can get the idea -- Painter creates a sketch that you then can paint over, on a blank layer (or many layers) placed on top. (Note: I have no worries about the sketch being "cheating" -- even Rembrandt had some kind of system (mirrors, lenses) that would project whatever he was painting onto the canvas.) So this is what I leapt in and started to do. I did clone colors from the photograph, so as not to spend all my time mixing colors and comparing them to the photograph. After many hours I was maybe 50% done, and it looked like this:
Pretty sketchy, right? And you can still see the sketch is very much part of the painting. The colors are blotchy and not blended well, but I wanted to get the idea of it (and turn in my required 50% version). I had another week to make it perfect. I messed with the colors some more, figured out how to blend them together (that was hard to figure out) put in a lot more details, went back to the sketch layer and erased most of it, worked on the lighting and then went back over everything with a fine-toothed comb. What I ultimately came out with is this. I'll include the original again so you don't have to scroll back:
What do you think? I think it came out pretty well, especially for a first-time watercolor on Painter. We'll see what my teacher thinks!