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Welcoming more than 2,225,000 visitors from all over the world, it is the only museum in the world dedicated to artist Georgia O'Keeffe.   More...

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Painter 12 opens up a world of creativity by offering progressive drawing tools and lifelike Natural-Media┬« brushes.   Look...

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One of the biggest challenges in digital painting is choosing the right colors. Each type of traditional media has limitations based on the pigments available. Watercolors, for example, have a limited color range even when mixing various paints. Paint software, however, offers an unlimited number of colors, regardless of the medium you are trying to emulate. Using watercolor brushes, but unrealistic colors, will not create a traditional looking painting.

An interesting feature in Corel Painter exists in the color swatch dialog. It can really help you build an appropriate color palette. The first step is to open an image, a scan of an actual watercolor or oil painting for example, that contains the type of color palette you wish to use. Then select the triangle at the upper right of the color swatch dialog. A menu appears with several options available.

Paint Swatch Dialog

Select "New Color Set from Image". Painter will sample and create a color set of the swatches available in the image. Providing you use an appropriate source, you should now have a proper color range that will allow you to create a more true to life traditional painting.

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If you are scanning in linework and want to create a color illustration from it, it is easy to do in Photoshop, here's how. Make sure the linework is on it's own layer. Set that layer's blending mode to multiply. Create layers underneath that layer and begin adding color. The lines will still show, but you will see the color underneath. If you want the lines to disappear, move your color layers above the line layer. Here is an example of an illustration created using this technique.

If you want to fill areas with color you can do that too. Choose the Paint Bucket Tool, and make sure the "All Layers" option is checked. Go to your color layer and fill. This method will keep the color separate from the line layer. If too much area fills, go to the line layer and close any "leaks" in the linework. Use as many color layers as you need, but it best to never add color to the linework layer. The reason is that each layer has it's own mask. By using color layers with a strategy, you automatically create selections that can be used for fine tuning your illustration later on.

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An inspiring book - "Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light" - written by Martha Tedeschi with Kristi Dahm, features many works by the great watercolorist, but more importantly, Homer's techniques and materials are discussed as they related to each piece.

If you have never seen the works of Winslow Homer, the online National Gallery of Art Exhibition is very well done. The Art Institute of Chicago Exhibition also has very informative resources. You may want to check them out as well as this book.

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  • Studio Painting from Sketches - Michael Chesley Johnson
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  • The Portrait Attitude - Peter Barnett, artid
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    Egyptian Temple

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    Hay Harvest

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    Key West Hauling Anchor

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    Toreador

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    Downtown Orlando; Metropolis in Paradise

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    The Dance Class

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    The Old Mill

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