New Digital Paintings in Ellifolks Etsy Shop



I have added two digital paintings to my Etsy shop.   This painting is titled "Shopping". It was painted on my ipad using the Procreate painting app. You can visit its Etsy page here.

Susie's Midday Dreaming
Susie's Midday Dreaming

This painting is "Susie's Daytime Dreaming". It was also painted on my ipad using Art Rage and Procreate apps. You can visit its Etsy page here.

I was Published in Somerset Digital Studio

Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue
Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue

I was very excited and honored to see my tutorial, "Using an IPad for Help with Painting Design Decisions", published in the Spring 2014 issue of Somerset Digital Studio.   In the article I talk about how I use the iPad for help with deciding the direction to take with paintings when I am feeling unsure about adding, changing, or deleting something.

Somerset Digital Studio article
Somerset Digital Studio article

The article is based on my blog post, "Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions" which expands on the article.

Thank you Jana Holstein for publishing my tutorial in this beautiful issue.

Recording Video of Your IPad Paintings - Procreate

Procreate - iPad painting in progress

There are a few iPad painting programs that either automatically record your paintings as they are created or that you can set beforehand to record as you paint. Procreate, SketchClub, Sketchbook Pro, are some current paint programs that allow you to create videos of your paintings in process.

In this post I'll talk a little about recording video in the Procreate app. While you are working on any painting in Procreate, Procreate is automatically making a video of your work in progress behind the scene. At any point, you can click on the little wrench (Actions) icon at the top left of the screen, then click on share and then send your video to email, Dropbox, ITunes, or even save it to your iPad Photos.

The video above shows an unfinished Procreate painting in progress. Watching the video, it is interesting and helpful for me to see my process. Sometimes I find a place where there was something I liked but got changed. sometimes I can go back and recreate it.

This painting started out in ArtRage, as do many of my iPad paintings, because I love to capture the oil brush and watercolor brush textures. Then I usually save the image and open it up in Procreate. Most of the ArtRage painting gets covered up, but I like to leave some of the texture.

The progress video shows me adding a second image on top of the first image and then keeping only parts of it. I used some copy and paste and transform in the painting. Near the end of the painting, I accidentally added a big green line across the girl's face when I was pinching out the screen to magnify the area I was working on. You can see me deleting it in the video.

I love using the videos as tools to help me remember my process and to help me remember how I got certain effects.

Tutorial - Getting Started with Procreate iPad Painting App


Procreate is my favorite digital painting app. The basic tools are easy to use, but if you want to delve into sophisticated, complex digital work, you can with Procreate. A 189 page handbook comes with the app and goes step by step through Procreate's various tools and techniques, including brushes, layers, iPad gestures for Procreate, transform (enlarge, reduce, or distort a layer), and selections (select area, then copy and paste).

When you open the Procreate app it brings you to the Gallery. Click on the plus on the top right corner. Pick the size canvas you want and the canvas view will open.

Gallery view
Gallery view

Below is the Procreate canvas with icons around the top and right sides. Clicking on Gallery takes you and your current painting to the gallery. Paintings are saved there with their layers intact. The second icon from the left, the little wrench is the Actions menu. Here you can import photos, export the painting, flip or copy the canvas, and get help with the app. You can also save directly to the photos app, upload to Facebook or Twitter, or even email a painting.

The next two icons, Select (lightning icon)and Transform (up angled arrow) are not needed for basic work, but are covered in the handbook if you want to explore using them.

Procreate canvas
Procreate canvas

Moving along the top of the canvas to the right, the next icon is Brushes. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu from which you can select the brush you wish to use. There is a large selection of brushes. Clicking on one selects it and a double click on a brush turns the menu over to an options menu for that specific brush. This gives you a lot of variety for each brush.

brushes menu
brushes menu

Next to the Brushes icon is the Smudge icon.  Clicking on Smudge, then rubbing on a painted part of the screen will smudge the colors.  The icon to its right is the Eraser icon.  It uses the same  brushes as the Brush icon and can vary size and opacity using the sliders on the side of the canvas.

Eraser icon drop down menu
Eraser icon drop down menu

After you select a brush, you can vary its size and opacity using the two sliders on the right of the canvas. The top one changes the size, increasing it as you slide up. The bottom one changes the opacity, increasing it as you slide up. Below the Opacity Slider is the undo arrow with 250 undos.

Size and Opacity Sliders
Size and Opacity Sliders

Clicking the colored square icon in the top right corner of the screen opens up the Color popover. There are hue, saturation and brightness sliders that can be adjusted to pick precise colors.

Color Palette
Color Palette

Now you have picked your brush type, size, and opacity and your color. You are ready to start painting. You can use your finger to paint with, or a stylus like the Wacom Bamboo stylus shown below. I like using a stylus, as it feels more precise than my finger and also lifts my hand up off the screen some so I can see the area I'm working on better.

Wacom Bamboo stylus
Wacom Bamboo stylus

The icon to the left of the color swatch is the Layers icon. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu showing all the layers. Your first strokes will automatically go on the first layer.

Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.
Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.

First strokes appear on Layer 1.

first stroke on Layer 1
first stroke on Layer 1

Here you can see the different effects you can get from using various brushes.

To add a new layer, click on the + icon in the Layers drop-down menu. The added layer has a black background meaning it is the active layer. Paint strokes will appear on the active layer. You can change the active layer by clicking on the layer you wish to be active.

Adding Layer 2
Adding Layer 2

Here I painted with different brushes on the second layer.  They appear above Layer 1 both in the Layers drop-down menu and on the canvas.

Layer two is on top.
Layer two is on top.

Here layer two has been moved down below layer one. It shows as under everything on layer one and now becomes the background. You can move layers by holding on the layer you want to move until it appears to lift up. Then drag it to the layer position you want.

Layer 2 moved to bottom
Layer 2 moved to bottom

Now strokes on Layer 2 are below layer 1 strokes.

Layer 2 on bottom
Layer 2 on bottom

Layers are very helpful in working in Procreate. I tend to use a lot of layers and like to keep backgrounds on separate layers and objects that are touching or on top of one another on separate layers.

If I am doing a face, I would keep the outline, the fill color, the face details - eyes, nose, mouth, and hair all on separate layers for working. Then if I want to change the hair, for instance, it is easy to do without messing up the face outline or fill.

When the layers are at a point where you are satisfied with them, then you can merge layers by pinching the layers together in the Layers drop-down menu or by clicking on the layer you wish to merge and click merge up or merge down on the Layers Options pop-up menu that appears. (Sometimes you have to click more than once for the pop-up menu to appear.)


A Few Tips for Working: Painting on such a small surface as an iPad makes painting details hard to do precisely. To magnify and get a close-up view, pinching out with two fingers works in the app as it does in Safari and many other iPad apps. I use this option for anything that needs precision.


Also a quick pinch together and then lift of two fingers sizes the painting to fit the shown canvas.

Have fun trying out Procreate. If you would like to show what you have created with it, you can leave a comment with a link to your painting.

New Prints in Ellifolks Etsy Shop

I have added three new prints to my Etsy Shop. In the Afternoon print

"In the Afternoon" is a digital painting made on the iPad.  It includes some of my favorite subject matter - a chair and flowers, and has a feeling of calm relaxing in the midst of some chaos.  Here is it's Etsy page.

Get Down Cat print

"Get Down Cat!" is a digital painting also made on the iPad.  Again there is a chair and flowers.  A mischievous cat is not about to give up her comfy spot on the back of the chair. Here is it's Etsy page.

6 Doll Heads - photo collage print

"6 Doll Heads" started out as a photo of one of my original dolls taken with my iPhone.  I manipulated the photo in several photo editing apps and combined six images into one iphoneography photo collage.  Here is its Etsy page.


Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions

painting in progress before putting into ArtRage app I like using the iPad for decision making when I get stuck on where to go next in the painting process in acrylic painting.  This technique can be used for any art medium. I  I use either the ArtRage or Procreate apps.   In this tutorial, I am using ArtRage.

To get the painting into the iPad, I take a photo with my iPhone or iPad of the painting trying to get close enough so the painting covers as much of the painting as possible.

I open a new painting in the ArtRage iPad  app.  Below is a screenshot of the ArtRage interface with a new blank painting.  As you are working, the row of tools and the color picker will disappear when you click on the active tool and color giving you more canvas to view and work with.

ArtRage canvas with blank document

Then I import the photo of the painting into ArtRage.  Click on the second to right bottom icon to import the photo.  It comes into the program as a tracing image at 40% opacity.   To see the painting at full opacity, click on "Convert to Paint" under tracing options.  Tracing options is the third icon from top in the same bottom icon.  It looks like three horizontal lines one below the other.

painting brought into ArtRage -click on "Convert to Paint"

Then click on the eye icon , and the painting will show at full opacity.

click on eye icon

I add a new layer above the painting so I am not working directly on the painting. The fourth icon fron the right on the bottom of the ArtRage interface is the layers icon.  I paint on new layers, keeping objects and new painted effects on separate layers.  This way I can turn on or off the visibility for each layer to see what I like or don't like.

Adding new layer to paint on

I generally use the watercolor or oil brushes, but may also use crayons and color pencils.  Each brush has several settings for different paint looks.  You can change size and properties of each brush by clicking the two left bottom icons.  Both control different brush properties.

For this painting, I was unsure if I wanted to add a planter and flowers.  I added a planter on the floor.  Then I added flowers and a plant -- all on separate layers.  I turned on and off the visibility on the various layers and saved versions or took screen shots of the various versions.  Although the added objects will not look the same when added to the painting, they are similar enough to help me decide if I think they will be good additions.

trying out pot and flowers - each object is on separate layer

Here is the finished painting.  You can see that I did add the planter, but not the flowers and plant.  I also experimented with adding layers of color to certain areas and did so on the painting itself.

finished painting


New Acrylic and Digital Painting Prints in Etsy Shop

Circus Dreams

Circus Dreams

I have added two prints to my Etsy shop"Circus Dreams"started with an acrylic painting for the background.  It was scanned into my computer and transferred to my iPad.  I used the paint app, Procreate to create the rest of the imagery.  Then I used two photography apps, Halftone and Blender to get the final image.

The second print, "Girl with Saucer Flowers", is a digital print made on the iPad using the paint app, Procreate.

I like to use many layers and a variety of brushes to get depth and complexity in my digital paintings.  I'd love to have you come take a look.

Girl with Saucer Flowers



Blending AutoPainter App (or any App that Reduces Resolution) with Original Photo – Tutorial

After much frustration trying to figure out why I could not successfully blend a version of a photo that has been worked on in certain apps with the original photo, I found these apps actually reduce the size of the photo when they save it. Then when you try to blend the altered image with the original image, they can't be aligned.   Although some of these apps create wonderful effects, their low resolutions decrease their usability. One such app is AutoPainter. Here is an easy fix for the problem. In this tutorial, I will be using AutoPainter, but the process will work with any app that reduces the photo resolution when it saves the photo.

I will use this photo of Boston townhouses and make a painted version using AutoPainter.

townhouse photo

Tutorial - Blending Autopainter Version with Original Photo


1. Apps:

  1. AutoPainter HD, AutoPainter, AutoPainter2, or AutoPainter 3
  2. PhotoSize (Danny Goodman)
  3. IResize
  4. Image Blender

2. IPAD or IPhone

3. Photo in Photos app Camera Roll


1. Open AutoPainter. Click on folder icon at bottom of screen. Select photo. Select artist style (or art style if using AutoPainter2).  Here I have selected Benson.

photo in AutoPainter

2. (optional) If you want to mask area to retain more detail, click on the brush icon. You are taken to a masking screen, where you can use the brush to roughly mask in areas. You have a choice of three brush and three eraser sizes. When you are finished with the masking, click the check mark on the bottom right of the screen. You are taken back to the painting screen.

AutoPainter blending mode

3. Then click the green circle icon with triangle. The program will start the painting in the style you have chosen. You can click on the "X" icon at the bottom of the screen at any time to stop the painting process if there is a stage you like. Here I let the program completely finish its painting.

AutoPainter rendering started
Here AutoPainter is further along in its painted rendering of the photo.
AutoPainter rendering further along

4. After AutoPainter is finished with its rendering, click on the down-facing arrow icon at the bottom right of the screen to save the altered photo.

AutoPainter rendering finished

5. Now open PhotoSize. Choose original photo and write down the dimensions. Then choose AutoPainter photo and notice that the resolution has been reduced.

original photo in PhotoSize
AutoPainter version in PhotoSize

6. Open IResize. Click on Photos at top left of screen and choose the AutoPainter version photo.

AutoPainter version in IResize
7. Click on Resize. Clear out numbers in height and width fields and type in the values from your original photo. Click Resize and Save.
Resizing AutoPainter version

9. Because you have resized the AutoPainter version of the photo, you can now go into Image Blender and both photos will be the same size for blending nicely. Click on the square box on the bottom left of the screen. Then select the original version of photo or the  resized rendered version for the bottom layer. Click on the square box on the bottom right of the screen to add the other version.

AutoPainter version in Image Blender

9. If you want to mask part of the top layer or move it, tap the screen to bring up the pop-up mask/arrange window. Click on mask or arrange to go into the masking or arranging mode. In the masking mode, you can use an eraser to erase areas where you only want the bottom layer to show. In the arrange mode, you can move and resize the image. Here I am leaving the top image image as is.

Image Blender showing mask/arrange window

10. As you are working in Image Blender, you have more options. If you click and hold on the screen you get another pop-up window with copy, switch, and flatten options. You can switch the top and bottom layers, copy the image you have blended on the screen, then flatten the layers. Then you can add a third image or add the copied image by clicking on the bottom right square. One of your options will be to select from pasteboard. That option will add the copied version. For this image, I am leaving the photos as is.

Image Blender showing copy, switch, flatten pop-up

11.   Moving the slider at the bottom of the screen will determine the opacity of the top layer. Moving it to the right will make the top layer more opaque. Moving it to the left will make it more transparent. Clicking on the Blend button at the top left of the screen gives you many different blending options. You can go down the list selecting them and saving the versions of any you like.

Image Blender showing blending options window

Here is my finished blended photo incorporating the original photo and the resized AutoPainter version.

Blended photo