Illustrating with Soft Pastel

by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

... continued from the previous page.

Tracing, sketching and coloring.

Wells opened the flat composite file in Painter, and then she made a clone copy of the image to use as a guide while she created the sketch.

3 Filling and coloring Open your reference image and choose File, Quick Clone. The default Quick Clone feature is set up for tracing. It creates a clone copy of your image, removes the contents of the clone copy document and then turns on Tracing Paper. Save your clone image and give it a descriptive name.
(For more information about cloning, see "Coloring and Cloning" in Chapter 3 and "Collage with Cloning and Brushes" in Chapter 5.)

To sketch as Wells did, choose the Soft Pastel Pencil variant of Pastels and draw a black-and-white sketch on the Canvas of the blank clone image. Make sure to create solid lines so that you can use the Paint Bucket to fill areas with base colors, in preparation for modeling the forms.

Soft Pastel Pencil

When her sketch was complete, Wells used the Paint Bucket to fill areas of the sun with a yellow-gold color directly over the drawing on the Canvas. (center above) Then, using the Soft Pastel variant of Pastels, she began to develop the forms. As she worked, she mixed color using the Color panel, occasionally sampling colors from her reference collage using the Dropper tool.

Dropper tool Wells works completely on the Canvas without the use of layers. She likes the paint interaction that is possible when working on the Canvas because it is more similar to traditional painting, working on a conventional surface. When the sun’s basic forms were blocked in, she used the Paint Bucket to fill a few of the flowers with their base colors.
Pop open steps 3 and 4 enlarged

Choose the Paint Bucket (Toolbox) and fill an area of your drawing with its base color in preparation for painting. Then, use Soft Pastel (Pastels) to build the highlights and shadows. As you work, vary the appearance of the grain by adjusting the Grain slider in the Property Bar.

For a grainier look, move the Grain slider to the left, and for a smoother look, move the Grain slider to the right. For a softer look similar to blended traditional pastels, continue to work over areas with the Soft Pastel until they are smooth.
(For more information about the Grain slider and grain penetration, see the "Grain Penetration" tip on page 60 in the Painter Wow Book.)

4 Modeling the forms. (Above, right) When she had most of the color for her composition laid in, Wells began to gradually develop more three-dimensional form and color on the flowers and other elements in her composition. Carefully observe your reference, and then use the Soft Pastel to refine the forms in your composition. Wells recommends cloning or painting directly over photo references only to gain practice with how to develop color and anatomy.

After creating a drawing, she prefers to work from scratch, referring to the reference, rather than cloning in color from her reference. As she models the forms, she leaves the reference composite open on the screen to the left of her working painting so that she can refer to it. For Wells this approach is less confining than cloning (or continuing to trace over a photo).

Now view the extraordinary piece "SUN" by Pamela Wells

BEST PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK FOR 2011 Excerpted from The Painter Wow! Book, Tenth Edition by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis -- a BEST OF 2011 AWARD winner from The Designers Bookshelf and DTG Magazine!

The Painter Wow! Book, now in its tenth edition, continues to be an inspiration to Painter fans everywhere, novice and pros alike. Author and renowned artist Cher Threinen-Pendarvis uses her clear, instructive approach to get beginners up to speed and provides more advanced users with additional insight on a variety of cool, creative, and productive techniques.

coverThe Painter Wow! Book, 10th Edition
By Cher Threinen-Pendarvis
Dimensions: 7-1/2" x 9-1/8", 424 Pages. 10th Edition
The Painter Wow! Book Paperback with CD/ROM Included
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Cher Threinen-PendarvisCher Threinen-Pendarvis, an award-winning fine artist, author, designer, and educator, has influenced thousands of artists in her many years of teaching and writing about electronic design tools. Her paintings and photography have been exhibited worldwide, and her work is featured in numerous books including The Painter Wow! Book, The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book and Beyond Digital Photography. In addition to creating hundreds of brushes for Corel Painter, Cher teaches at workshops and conferences worldwide. You can find her online at

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