Secrets of Corel Painter Experts: Tips, Techniques, and Insights for Users of All Abilities by Daryl Wise and Linda Hellfritsch, is a new title from Course Technology PTR. It is printed in their familiar 7×9″ horizontal format. This book makes it a bit hard to read, holding it in your lap, but it works very well lying open on a desk. The spine design allows the book to lie flat quite efficiently without damaging the book. This tip and tutorial book is a dense, 314-page, color-filled book, with lots of great paintings to look at and inspired. Inspiration is what this book is all about.
The book highlights the work of 17 artists currently using Corel Painter as part of their workflow. The range of styles is quite diverse, which is one of the book’s strengths. The majority of the works here are paintings created from scratch. Only a few artists here use Painter to modify photographs. Mostly what is presented here are what I would call illustrations or fine art paintings. The artists, for the most part, are new, to me at least. It’s nice to see some new blood. The stable of Corel Painter Masters is getting rather tired at this point.
Each chapter includes information about the artist (software and hardware used, education, clients, and awards), a short interview section, a gallery of work, and a Technique section. This tips and tutorial book is where you’ll find one or two tutorials by each artist. These vary in level of detail. For instance, Chet Phillips’ tutorial is just that: a low-level, what-settings-to-use sort of tutorial (it’s excellent, too, by the way); most of the tutorials are more high-level. You’ll gain an understanding of the artist’s approach and workflow. For the most part, these are not follow-along projects.
For this sort of book, that’s perfect. As the title indicates, there are some “secrets” here: you’ll pick up quite a few clever tricks and new ideas browsing through each chapter. It’s fascinating to see how differently various artists use the Corel Painter software program. Of course, nearly all of the artists here use Adobe Photoshop and other programs and Painter. This is typical of artists in the world of professional art: no one program does it all.
The printing quality is first-rate. The DVD attached pretty much contains nothing more than the same works shown in the printed book. These images look better in the book than in the tiny JPGs on the DVD. Be warned–the back of the book states that the DVD contains video tutorials, desktop wallpaper, and Painter movies.
I found only two artists who had additional content. Still, the book itself is very worthwhile. You’ll be happy to have it on hand next time you need some inspiration and new ideas.