With Layers

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Regardless of subject matter or style, it's often a good idea to separate elements of your art work into layers. For example, draw outlines on one layer and create color on another. You'll be able to make changes to either layer while protecting the other.

The Chair

You'll see how layers work with a simple drawing of a chair. We'll use the one shown in Figure 3.1.

Open the file beige_armchair.jpg, found in Things > Furniture on the CD that accompanies this book. Use Canvas > Resize if needed to fit the image on your screen. Make a Quick Clone to access the Tracing Paper feature. Choose a pen variant that has some thick-and-thin response to pressure on your tablet but no variation in opacity. I suggest either the Scratchboard Tool or Croquil Pen 5.

Working with black, make a loose sketch of the chair's basic shapes, similar to Figure 3.2. Use heavier pressure to create stronger lines, such as on the outer edge of the chair's shape, and a lighter touch for inside shapes and creases. Ignore shading and texture for now—we'll use additional layers for that. Also ignore the shadow under the chair, the table next to it, and (very important) the price tag!

Figure 3.1

Pull up a chair.

Figure 3.2

Have a seat.

Figure 3.1

Pull up a chair.

Figure 3.2

Have a seat.

Adjust Visibility

It will be easier to see the clone source (chair photo) with the opacity of your drawing turned down to about 30 percent. Painter X allows you to do that by holding down the tracing paper icon at the top-right edge of your image window. (Figure 3.3 points it out, as well as another item you'll use later in the lesson.) You'll be able to see your work just fine because you're using black lines instead of subtle painted strokes.

Figure 3.3

Takes two to toggle.

Figure 3.3

Takes two to toggle.

Add a Color Layer

You'll make a new layer for color. If you don't see the Layers Palette on your workspace, launch it from the Window menu. Figure 3.4 shows where to click to create a new layer and where to change the composite method for determining how the layer will interact with the Canvas image (or with other layers).

Composite method

New layer

Sample a peachy beige color from a light part of the chair, but not the brightest. Choose Pens > Flat Color and begin to paint on the new layer. If your work looks like the left side of Figure 3.5, your layer is still using the default composite method, and it is covering up your line drawing. To change that, switch to either Gel or Multiply.

Figure 3.4

Have another layer.

Figure 3.4

Have another layer.

Figure 3.5

Composite method matters.

Figure 3.5

Composite method matters.

The Flat Color variant is too big for this project, so reduce its size with the Size slider in the Property Bar at the top of your workspace. Are you able to see a "ghost" image of the brush size when your Wacom pen hovers over the image? If not, you might want to choose Enable Brush Ghosting in Preferences > General menu.

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