Creating Mockups for Art Portfolios

Mockups are an easy way to help your Portfolio stand out among the thousands being reviewed (by your prospective client or university). The idea is that instead of just slapping your latest creation in your portfolio, you insert the image into a stock photo so it looks like it's displayed in real life. This is a pretty popular idea and if you search for "Art Portfolio Mockups" you will find a whole bunch of sites that offer PSD templates that you can add your images to.
Only problem with this process is it's way too time consuming - you need to find the right template, edit it in your chosen software, insert your image, tweak the placement so it makes sense and so on. Surely you don't want to spend more time staging the piece than it took you to create it. But there's an easier way! 
There are a lot of Print on Demand sites that let you upload an image, preview it on available products, and place an order for the customized item. There are also sites that allow…

Drawing Tablet Review: Huion 1161

Here's a quick review of the Huion 1161 drawing tablet. 

Here's how it compares the Huion 950P which is a more portable version of the same tablet.  Both are just 8mm high making them easy to carry around. The 1161 is 14" x 8.5" with a drawing area of 11" * 6.5". The 950P is 12.5" x 7.5" with a drawing area of 9" x 5:5". The new tablet comes with a USB C connector compared to the Micro USB connector the

It uses a battery-free pen with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support.

The best part is the new touch strip which makes zooming in/out a breeze. I'm also testing it with the brush size shortcuts which seems to work better in some software (Photoshop) than others (ArtRage). 

The other upgrade is the 16 soft Express keys (top of the drawing area) in addition to the 10 Express keys on the side. This is super helpful in software like ArtRage which lets you add shortcut keys for its brush types. 
The drawing experience on both ta…

Painting Tips: Edge Control

One of the key tips I learnt from an art teacher is how to create better, expressive paintings by focusing on edge control. This is true for traditional painting too but becomes more important in digital painting where you can get static, paint-by-numbers effect if you don't have enough variation in your brush strokes (not just your brushes).

Edges in a painting differentiate between one object to another, and within the object, between one shape to another. There are three major types of edges:
Hard edges: a sharp transition from one form to another, for eg. the corner of a cube or the shape of a building in a landscapeSoft edges: a smoother transition where the edges fade into each other, for eg. the transition of shadows within a sphere or the glow around the moonLost edges: are transitions where you cannot determine where one edge ends or begins; for example where part of a face fades into the background. These allow the viewer to fill in the gaps created by the "missing&…

Setting up your Workspace

One of the easiest ways to improve your digital painting experience is to customize the workspace in your painting software. The workspace, simply put, is a collection of tools, panels, and menus that are displayed when you open the software. You can personalize it by adding and removing panels, customizing the tools that show in the panels, and by creating shortcuts for actions you commonly use.

Here's the default workspace for Corel Painter 2019 and what it looks like when it's been customized for Digital Painting. I have quick and easy access to all the brushes I need (depending on the type/medium of painting I'm working on) and have shortcuts that save me a lot of time when I'm juggling a few dozen layers. Here I'm using a workspace created by Corel Painter Master Aaron Rutten, but you could (if you don't mind spending a few hours) also personalize it yourself.

My favorite parts of the workspace are:

'Search Brushes' widget: Have you ever tried to f…

Choosing your Software

In traditional painting, the art supplies you use are just as important as your expertise in using them. Use low quality paper/paints and you'll end up spending hours struggling to get the effect you are looking for.

In digital painting, your "art supplies" are the tools you use to create your painting - your laptop/tablet and the software you use to paint with. I'm going to mainly focus on the software today since that will cover nearly 80% of your painting experience.

The advantages of painting digitally is you have the entire universe of art supplies at your finger tips. Want to paint with Oils? Just tap a button to switch. Want to try a different texture for your canvas? Switch your canvas mid-way through the painting (try that in traditional painting!). This also comes with the disadvantages of having too many choices but that's a topic for another post.

While choosing your software, I usually look for:
- availability on platforms (will it work on your lapt…

Software Review: Krita

Krita is an open source tool which looks and acts way beyond it's price (It's really Free!!). It's chock full of features and is an easy replacement for Photoshop. If you are a teacher planning to introduce your students to digital painting, this should be the easiest to get your school board to approve :-)

It's one of the few tools that offer Symmetry (horizontal and vertical) and is an amazing tool to use if you are into creating rangolis, mandalas or anything with repetitive motifs.  Another thing that sets it apart is you can also use it for Animation!

Cost: Free!!!!!
Download Krita

[Image from since I don't have it installed at this time]

Software Review: Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop needs no introduction; this is the go-to tool for photo edits and is commonly used by digital painters because of it's availability. Some of the must haves in this tool, namely customizable brushes, personalized workspaces etc, are standard features in new tools now which makes this stand out less. This is still one of the most used tools for Portrait paintings; its Liquify feature allows you to tweak your sketch to fix minor issues.

Cost: $20 per month
Download Adobe Photoshop