Painter tips from Karen Sperling

200609bc_sperljuly06wcphotPainting watercolor hair

By Karen Sperling

In Corel Painter IX.5 I used Digital Watercolor’s New Simple Water and New Simple Blender to turn this photo by Scott Stulberg (left) into this Winslow Homer-style watercolor painting (below).

Caption: Photo ©2006 Scott Stulberg

I made some adjustments to get brush strokes that blend more like watercolors, based on some discoveries by watercolorist Nomi Wagner. I changed the Stroke Type from Single to Rake in the General palette (Window > Brush Controls > General palette) and moved the Opacity slider to 20% and the Wet Fringe slider to 50% in the Property Bar. (You can also highlight the fields where you see the numbers, type in the values, and press return/enter.)


Caption: Painting ©Karen Sperling

I also accessed the Angle palette (Brush Controls > Angle palette) and moved the Squeeze slider to 39% and the Angle slider to 199 degrees.

The secret to painting hair is just to suggest it rather than paint it strand by strand. Painting the girl’s hair was a three-step process.


1. Paint broad color with wide strokes (high Size slider setting in the Property Bar) with the New Simple Water on the above settings.

2. Paint strands with narrow strokes (low Size slider setting in the Property Bar), again with the New Simple Water.

3. Blend with the New Simple Blender. Blend the line ends into the big areas of colors by painting the ends with the New Simple Blender.


Artist, author and photographer Karen Sperling is the original Painter expert. She wrote the manuals for the first several versions of Painter, authored several Painter books, has had many Painter tutorials published in magazines and has taught Painter to artists and photographers at movie companies, design firms, universities and at PPA affiliates and schools.

Learn Karen Sperling's Painter techniques in person in southern California at the Artistry Corel Painter October 17-19, 2006. To see the full tutorial for creating this painting, see the July 2006 issue of Artistry Tips and Tricks. Visit for details.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 1, 2006 2:36 PM.

The previous post in this blog was School of Visual Arts to offer Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography.

The next post in this blog is Finessing Soft Light for Fashion.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 5.2.7