How many of us still draw by hand? Graphic designers nor architects work with pencil and paper these days, but fine art artists still do. The tools of the trade include high-quality pencils, sharpeners, brushes, palette knives and more.
How do you become a professional artist in an age where almost everything we do is challenged by AI-driven generators, filters and what else is there? “Professional” means that you can live at least partly from what you create. If we hold on to that definition of the word, there are many categories of visual artists with some of them earning a lot more than others, so the first thing to decide when you’re thinking about making a career out of art is why you’re doing it and what you’re willing to sacrifice.
My second and probably last review of physical art medium covers Liquitex Soft Body painting on Hahnemühle’s hot-pressed Leonardo watercolour paper. Liquitex Soft Body can be used as a pouring medium but can also behave as a watercolour medium by adding Flow-Aid to it, while Leonardo is a lush 600gsm watercolour medium that you can literally soak. Leonardo is hot pressed and has a very smooth, satin finish.
Did you know the people at Serif have written, edited and published their own books for learning Affinity Designer and Photo? Well, they have and they’re both excellent books for learning the two apps. At the very least, you should seriously consider them as they contain invaluable information and tear-out cheat sheets.
Clip Studio Paint EX is the most complete suite of drawing and painting tools available from Celsys in Japan. It’s perceived as the biggest competitor of Corel Painter. Both these apps were designed for creators who love to draw and paint with a brush feel that comes close to the real-world thing, but Clip Studio is also a complete comic strip and animation creations tool.
A new summer means a new Corel Painter. This year around, we’re welcoming Painter 2020. The new version is an improvement over the previous ones in many ways and it’s not just about new brushes. It’s principally about performance and interface design. And that’s a good thing.
On the Mac, the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a newcomer, but the application suite has been around for many years on the Windows platform. The Mac version is a successful port in terms of feature set, but it probably won’t dethrone Adobe apps, nor kill the Affinity Photo and Designer apps. Corel has waited a bit too long and hasn’t fit out the Corel apps with a streamlined enough interface for that to happen, in my opinion.
I have a hobby that may surprise people and simultaneously make them think I’m bonkers… I love dabbling in astrology. I know, most people will say it’s rubbish, but I’ve erected enough astrology charts to think Hamlet was right when he said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I used to be a Kairon user, software developed by an Austrian astrologer/programmer who stopped updating the macOS application a few years ago. Then I started using iPhemeris on the iPad by Clifford Ribaudo, but that software gets updated very occasionally and you Ribaudo hides behind an alleged Apple bug in iOS that prevents users from exporting complete charts and tables. But in the week between Christmas and New Year I’ve found a macOS/iOS/Android software that might be the astrology app Mac users have been craving for a long time. It’s Astro Gold and it’s been developed by the same people who made Solar Fire the industry standard on Windows PCs. So, although it’s off-topic, here’s a review of Astro Gold.
Affinity Designer for iPad is the much anticipated competitor of Adobe Illustrator on the iPad. It’s a well-designed port from Designer on the Mac in terms of power and capabilities, and of integration with the iOS environment.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.