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


Using the Digital Camera as a Design Tool

Most of my art is designed at least to some degree as I work on it.  When I am working on a teddy or other artwork, I frequently come to a place in the making, where I am stuck on a design decision.  I may have several options I am considering, but am having trouble picking the right one.  I try adding the different options temporarily and going back and forth looking to see which I like best, but it is hard for me to tell this way. Recently I started taking digital snapshots of my various design options.  This way I can quickly go from one to another and view them in the camera.  This also puts an extra step in the viewing (like looking at your work in a mirror) so your view is less biased and more distanced.  I have found this so helpful.  If I am really still stuck, I can upload them to my computer and view them at the same time in a photo-editing program.

Here are some snapshots I used when designing the face of a mohair rabbit and the accessories for a bear.

rabbit line mouth

rabbit upside-down v mouth

When I was making this rabbit, I couldn't decide what type of mouth to make, even after trying out one then the other using pins to hold the mouth in place.  Finally I took a digital snapshot of both variations and by comparing the photos was able to choose the upside-down V mouth.

isabel bell

isabel enamel ingle bell

isabel flower

isabel button collar

Here is Isabel before her accessories were added.  I tried two types of bells and a flower with a tarnished copper chain, and then a fabric collar with a large vintage pearl button.  I took digital photos of each variation and was intrigued to see that they all (except the flower variation) seemed to give her a boyish quality.  I had already decided that Isabel was a female bear.  My final solution came from a combination of ideas from the flower pendant and the button collar as you can see here.