Page 2 of tutorial on using Corel Painter to produce child portraits
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Earlier pastel sketch and photos used for reference

The subject and pose

I painted this portrait freehand.  For visual reference I used a traditional pastel sketch I had drawn from life and photographs that I took at the same time the sketch was made (see above). It is also possible to trace a photograph or work directly from life. There is more on this in the notes in page 7 of the tutorial.

Tutorial page 2 of 7


I chose Dry media as the media type and Soft Pastel as the variant. This is done from the Brushes palette.

Paper: colour, texture, size

For a young child I often choose a paper colour close to the flesh tone, so the paper colour can show through on flesh areas. I chose a sand colour made from a light neutral tint of orange (R231 G182 B122).  You can type these values in the Paper Color menu.
I choose Sanded Pastel Board in the Papers section of the Art Materials palette. Choose any light textured paper.  It has a nice tooth to pick up the pastels. I painted the portrait on a 7 inch by 9 inch canvas. Best to choose a size that fits on your monitor at 100% at 72 dpi.  Printing looks fine for this texture up to about one and half times this size.  For larger printouts you will need a bigger canvas.


Paper colour: choose one that will work as a flesh tone.


I used various tints and shades of the same red. I have picked a greyed red. Madder brown is possibly the equivalent in ‘real’ art supplies. This red has a Hue value of 36%. I created a colour set in Painter (as I might pick out 5 or six pastels). I added the sand colour of the paper so I could use it like an eraser. These were the only colours used in the painting.

When painting a pastel portrait with ‘real’ pastels I have before me many pastels, over 100, to chose from. In digital work I have over a million. In both real and digital work I would carefully chose a handful, five or six. Costume demands more vibrant colours usually. For flamboyant costumes, I choose different, more vibrant colours.

The colours I used in HSV and RGB values were:
Shell pink H 36%, S 67%, V 85% R 243, G 301, B 191
Rose pink H 36%, S 55%, V 60% R 210, G 120, B 96
Burgundy H 36%, S 33%, V 43% R 150, G 90, B 74
Sand (paper colour) H 42%, S 69%, V 69% R 231, G 182, B 122
To get these exact colours you can set them in the RGB section of Art materials palette. For Black, touch the bottom left corner of the triangle, and, for White, the top left hand corner. To create the Colour set open the Color set section of the Art Materials palette, click on the Grid icon for a new set, then choose a colour on the Colour wheel then click on the + symbol.

Getting the brush sensitivity

Next I customize my brush sensitivity with Edit > Preferences > Brush Tracking.  Make a few sample strokes then click OK.

Tools and techniques

When you paint you can use Zoom to work on the detail as and when you need it. Zoom out to see the full picture.  In Painter 7 you can press the triangle to the left of the zoom slider for a preview.  To get a new view on the picture it sometimes helps to flip horizontally (Effects > Orientation > Flip horizontal). Try to reverse the process with Undo rather than another flip as each flip marginally reduces the definition. Set your Undo level (Edit > Preferences > Undo) high. Mine today is 25 (not quite high enough for me. Be aware though, that high values use more resources and can slow Painter down on smaller machines. Save the picture each time you reach a plateau to


Colour Wheel: Make a colour set by picking within the triangle with one hue value - my hue value was 36%.

Colour Set: Make one and keep to it - mine had 3 reds of the same hue, black, white and the paper colour.


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All artwork © Jeanie Mellersh