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  Corel® Painter™ Wow! Tips

Build your own custom palette for painting with pastels in Corel Painter IX.5
by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

The Pastel brushes in Corel® Painter™ IX.5 are some of the most sensitive, textured brushes in the application. To paint Vase of Flowers, shown here, I used several of my favorite Pastel brushes, including Square Soft Pastel 30, Round Soft Pastel 25, Square Hard Pastel 40, and Pastel Pencil 3. Vase of Flowers was sketched directly from life, using loose, textured strokes. While working, I was able to focus my attention on the subject and on painting because I had organized my desktop for the workflow. This included creating a custom palette with my favorite Pastel brushes, Blenders, and textures.

Here's how you can make your own custom palette for your favorite Pastel brushes, Blenders, and textures.

Step 1. Starting the new custom palette. Begin by choosing Pastels from the Brush Category selector on the Brush Selector bar, and then choose a favorite Pastel variant from the Brush Variant selector. (I chose Square Soft Pastel 30.) Next, drag your chosen variant thumbnail out of the Brush Selector bar and release it. A new palette labeled Custom 1 will appear.

Insert caption: Dragging the Square Soft Pastel 30 variant icon out of the Brush Selector bar creates a new custom palette. To view the name of an art material, hover your cursor over its icon and Corel Painter will display a ToolTip.

Step 2. Enlarging the palette. You can enlarge the custom palette to make room for more brushes. To enlarge it, grab the lower-right corner and drag it out into a horizontal shape that will easily fit at the bottom of your screen.

Dragging the bottom right corner of the palette enlarges it.

Step 3. Adding more brushes and arranging them on the palette. At this point, continue to choose variants, and then drag them onto your custom palette. I dragged items onto the palette in an organized order. For instance, I added the Round Soft Pastel 25 variant, then the Soft Pastel Pencil 3 variant, and then the Square Hard Pastel 40 variant, the Round Hard Pastel 40 variant, and finally the Pastel Pencil 3 variant.

Next, you can rearrange the icons on the palette. To reposition an icon, hold down the Shift key and drag the icon to a new position. I organized my palette with larger variants on the left and smaller variants in the center with enough space in-between so that I could grab them quickly.

Holding down the Shift key and dragging an icon lets you reposition it on the palette.

Step 4. Adding new media to the custom palette. To make the palette complete, I added my favorite Blenders and paper textures. First, I selected Blenders from the Brush Category selector on the Brush Selector bar, and then one by one I added the Grainy Water variant, the Just Add Water variant, and the Pointed Stump 30 variant by using the same method described in step 3.

The in-progress palette with Blenders added.

Next, I added a paper texture by selecting it from the Paper Selector in the Toolbox, and dragging it onto the custom palette. First, I chose Sandy Pastel Paper.

Choosing the Sandy Pastel paper texture.

You can continue to add paper textures that you want to use. I added Hard Laid Paper and Thick Handmade Paper.

When you are satisfied with your custom palette, give it a name. First, choose Window > Custom Palette > Organizer. In the Custom Palette Organizer dialog box, select its default name (Custom 1) and then click Rename. In the Palette Name dialog box, type a name for your palette, and click OK. I named mine Pastel Painting.

Selecting the unnamed custom palette in the Custom Palette Organizer dialog box.

The custom Pastel Painting palette with Pastels, Blenders, and favorite paper textures.

Now that you've worked through this Wow! tip, have fun making a custom palette for your favorite brushes, blenders, and paper textures. Happy painting!

Content and images: © 2006 by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

An award-winning artist and author, Cher Threinen-Pendarvis has always worked with traditional art tools. A pioneer in digital art, Cher has created illustrations with the Macintosh® computer for two decades. She has been widely recognized for her mastery of Corel® Painter™, Adobe® Photoshop®, and the Wacom® pressure-sensitive tablet, and she has used these electronic tools since they were first released. Exercising her passion for the artist tools in Corel Painter, Cher has worked as a consultant and demo-artist for the Corel Painter developers. Her artwork has been exhibited worldwide, and her articles and art have been published in many books and periodicals. Cher holds a BFA with Highest Honors and Distinction in Art specializing in painting and printmaking, and she is a member of the San Diego-Museum of Art Artist Guild. She has taught Corel Painter and Photoshop workshops around the world and is the principal of the consulting firm Cher Threinen Design. Cher is the author of The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting and all seven editions of The Painter Wow! Book. The Painter IX Wow! Book is the latest edition of this highly praised volume of techniques and inspiration.

To learn more about Cher, please visit her Web site at

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