This tutorial will primarily focus on how to use some of the great brushes available to you in Corel Painter 12. These techniques are also available in versions 10 and 11. I really love Corel Painter. I know quite a few digital artists create amazing digital paintings with Photoshop. I'm a self trained artist and I did start out with traditional media (acrylics, charcoal, pastels and oils). Corel Painter's brush engine very closely approximates these traditional tools. I started with Corel Painter 10 and was hooked!!
The inspiration for "Walter" came from watching the amazing AMC television series "Breaking Bad". The show has such interesting characters that I felt I wanted to do a whole series of caricatures of the characters from the series. The logical starting character had to be Walter White played by Bryan Cranston.
The first step was to download reference images. One of the cast and crew shots were the image I used as my primary reference. I studied this picture, focusing very closely on the eyes. My idea was actually to create a series of caricatures for all the main characters in the series. Emphasizing some quality of their personality in their features. With "Walter" it was the intensity of the eyes and pushing the top of the head to be much larger to emphasize he was the "brain" of the show. Also, my idea was to give each key character some tattoo that said something about them as well. The show's periodic table logo seemed the best choice for "Walter".
The next step is a very rough sketch emphasizing the main shapes. I use a 2B Pencil Brush setting it's opacity to about 10% (this may vary depending on what you set your brush sensitivity too in the Brush Tracking preference). I started with a basic rough sketch of his regular features. Then I start roughing in the features that emphasize the caricature components.
I use the Wacom tablet's function keys to help speed things up. I program the function keys in the Wacom Tablet Properties Panel to the keyboard commands I use the most in Corel Painter. The most common commands I use are pan (<space>), rotate (<alt><space>), increase brush size (<]>), decrease brush size (<[>), undo (<ctrl><z>) and the pick color (<alt>). These are PC keys. It's a good idea to set your Wacom tablet's function keys to keyboard shortcuts you use the most. I prefer to rely on the keyboard as little as possible.
For all the brushes I use in Corel Painter, I use pen pressure to control the opacity. But I normally set the brush's opacity to pretty low like 10-20%. This allows me to build up color and achieve variation in my images (otherwise the painting looks very flat).
Now that I have the basic shapes in place, I start sketching in some of the details. I deliberately keep the sketch kind of loose since I know the sketch is not the final image and not meant to stand on its own. It will just be a guide for me when I start laying down paint. This is not a very accurate sketch. It's not capturing subtle shifts in skin texture, etc. It's only acting as a guide for outer edges and direction of the light.
I've decided in this image there are 3 lights: one primary light in the mid to lower left, a dim light from above and a very dim light on lower right. I indicate this in the sketch with cones. This image will sit on a layer above my canvas with layer opacity set at about 50% and the method set to Overlay.