Even though I have a career as a teacher, I find it to be a challenging endeavor to attempt to explain what exactly I do to create the graphics I share daily. But I will give it a serious try.
Starting from the basics, the first thing I do is to open the program I use, which is at this point called Corel Painter 12. That's the latest in a long line of programs I have used since I started making the graphics in the mid-1990s, upon learning that I was suffering from cataracts (I now have artificial lenses in both eyes).
What Are You Working On
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I choose to create a New Image. I am currently using an 800x800 pixel black canvas. Below is a look at the program layout.
Color tools and layer selector are to the right. There are many other tools to the left.
It all really starts with the selection of a general color scheme. I usually select a gradient (which I can create myself, but there are also many pre-made gradients) to dump on the canvas with the bucket tool. I may spill several different buckets before I have what I think I can work with. And I always keep in mind that I have an Undo button if I don't like where it is going.
Here is today's example.
Now there are a lot of manipulations I can do with these colors. I can spin them:
I can put them in a spheroid...
…or a rhomboid shape.
Or I can apply marbling:
Most often I do a combination of those:
Sometimes I repeat at least one of those processes:
Then maybe add a bit more color:
I can adjust the tone scale if I find something I would prefer:
I might apply some surface texture and/or a lighting affect.
All those are just the tip of the iceberg of what can be done. I didn't touch any of the brushes for this piece.
The last thing I usually do is try to come up with a name. I shall call this one