Visitors Book 4
Visitors Book 4
Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

30 May 2006   I really appreciate the artistry you put into your pictures. Anyone can run buZZpro and get a decent picture but you take it to a higher level using your talent and experience with other digital products. I hope you share your knowledge by posting tutorials for those of us in awe of your work. M. Ballard

Thank you.  buZZ Pro is a useful tool but as you imply, it has such a characteristic look that pictures which rely on it alone are not satisfying.  I would do a tutorial if I had workflows that I know will guarantee decent pictures.  I use a number of techniques and combinations of software, almost all digitally brushed now, and I experiment a lot.  But I will try to do an oil tutorial.  It would be good for me to do one.  Thanks again.  David

23 May 2006  These are an inspiration. I've been fired up to do something along these lines and came across your page when checking out BuZZ .
17 May 2006  Very good site.
24 April 2006  I recently started photopainting and am looking forward to learning the techniques you and others I've seen on the various art sites ie innographix, retouchpro, etc. Your art is quite an inspiration.   Bill Snyder

12 April 2006   I just found you through either innographix, or retouchpro, or somewhere. Anyway I have followed T Shelbourne, Ben Willmore, and a bunch of Painter rank right up there with all of them. I will be watching for tuts from you.   Bill Snyder

Thanks Bill.  I must have a look for the artists you mention because I have not heard of them before - have a look at the work of Richard Noble from the link on my links page - great compositions and colour - he is a photo manipulator too.  I enjoyed your website and pictures very much and hope you get plenty of work.  I see you print your pictures onto Epson PremierArt Water Resistant Canvas, what printer do you use for this?  David

10 March 2006  I work a little with Adobe Photoshop CS2, Illustrator, and Painter IX  and help in a non-profit center for Seniors in California. Your work is Wonderful, I will highly recommend your site as creative inspiration for everyone! When you publish a book please put me on the mailing list.  Eleanor Çetin

8 March 006  Discovering your work has shown me another rung of the ladder. I have recently discovered the Buzz filter and was browsing to find some instructions or comments on its use. I am now captivated by your images.  The previous rung was which is a great site to discover new techniques. Roger Fry (Weston-super-Mare, England)

Thanks, Roger.  I find BUZZ a very useful tool used selectively.  The Simplifier is quite seductive but it has a very characteristic look with which many photo retouchers are now familiar and I think it is good to use it with other filters in Photoshop or some hand made brushstrokes in Painter.  I think my most successful use of buZZ here is in the picture of rowing boats half way down the middle of Artwork 4.  It's a great filter and you can do quite a lot with it.  David


7 March 2006  My God I love your stroke. I'm sure it is because you are a wonderful drawer and you use the brush like calligraphy. What type of brush do you use boar bristle or sable? etc. Love your work especially the soccer players on Robert Genn's sight. It would be wonderful to see more figurative action paintings from you since compliments your stroke. Very inspiring. Have a great day, Janet Vanderhoof

Thank you, Janet.  I think you may misunderstand my pictures.  They are made digitally using a photograph as the original source and a digital pen tool and tablet with software.  They are not actual paintings, though my aim is to try to make them look like real paintings.

I did not know one of my pictures is on view at Robert Genn's website.  Can you please send me the url for this?  I do not have a picture of boys playing soccer - only one of boys playing rugby.  You definitely saw one of my pictures and not another artist's?

I have had email contact with Robert recently.  He kindly gave me some assistance when I discovered that a Chinese company were (without my permission) selling copies of 9 of my pictures on their website.  This is the first time this has happened to me but no doubt won't be the last.  I was tipped off about this by a regular visitor to my website here who had seen my pictures on the Chinese website and kindly emailed me about them.  Thanks again.  David

24 January 2006  Excellent work.  Inspirational! [anon]

18 January 2006    David, I put your beautiful pictures as background on my computer at work and people always make complimentary comments about them and they cheer me up as well. Thanks Kate

Kate, I'm very glad to hear that.  Which pictures do you have on your desktop?  It's interesting to know what people like.  David

19 January 2006   I love the flowers paintings best, because I love flowers Kate.
17 January 2006  The second time I have visited your galleries...and realize how much I have missed by not coming here more often. Always enjoy and learn from your frank comments on your work. You are an inspiration for my feeble attempts. Alan

13 January 2006   Thanks for the reply below. I have realised that I was being awfully rude and should show a little more respect. Your work is excellent whatever the means to the end.  I also 'brush stuff to death' and get told so! as can be seen here.  Again, your work is excellent and I should have more coffee before I comment.  Regards, Craig.

No problem.  David


13 January 2006  I just wondered how you justify this as 'artwork'? It's all achieved from a base photograph with a combination and accumulation of plugin filters applied. I know this because I do it all day for fun. I don't however claim to be an artist. Just my thoughts of course, no insult intended.

...and no offence taken.  At one end of the spectrum of photo manipulation there is what you apparently do - rely entirely on filters and plugins to achieve the effects you want.  At the other end, I and people like me, whose work you can see if you follow some of the links on my links page, combine filters with a lot of hand brushing using a digital tablet and pen tool.  Indeed, we do so much hand brushing that we are sometimes criticised in photo retouching forums for "painting" rather than retouching.  My watercolour manipulations which use mainly Photoshop rely largely on hand brushing (generally the Wow technique) with a limited use of filters or plugins, and most of the oil or acrylic simulations are done in Painter 9 again with very little use of filters.  It is one of my irritations that so many people think you can achieve decent natural media simulations by pressing a few buttons or with a few mouse clicks.  Moreover, I find I have to make exactly the same creative choices when undertaking a photo manipulation as when I make an actual painting: Is the composition right? What will be the focus of interest?  Where will detail be softened and where made more crisp?  What colour scheme shall I use?  Are the tonal values ok?  Does the image have a strong graphic quality and if not can I do anything about it?  etc.  I now judge my pictures much more on the extent to which they work as artwork than on how far they precisely mimic a particular natural medium (though this is still important to me).  Sometimes I get it right, often I don't.  But like you, I do it all day for fun.  David


11 January 2006   As you might say in your neck of the woods, "brilliant!" Here in the South East of the US, we just say, "Wow!"  A very nicely designed web site which offers the viewer a chance to easily view your wonderful pieces. Needless to say I enjoyed it. I am beginning to get into photo-art and saw a link to your site from  I almost hate to ask, but are you selling any of your pieces. While I think they are lovely I'm not wanting to buy, but rather trying to determine what the market is like or how you approach this. All the best,  PJ

Thanks, PJ.  Glad you like the pictures and website.  I sell very few images and receive very few commissions.  I'm not sure there is much of a market for these photo manipulations.  As I said below, people often think that the computer does all the work and I am sure this puts them off.  Incidentally, the best photo manipulations I have seen, the very best technically and artistically, are by an American artist called Richard Noble.  There is a link to his website on my links page.  Have a look at his work - terrific stuff.  David

6 January 2006  David - enjoying another visit to your Galleries. Inspirational as always and looking forward to seeing your new stuff this coming Year. Wishing you a Peaceful and Prosperous 2006 Regards Michael Edward

13 December 2005  Dear Mr Cole, I so much appreciate the wealth of information you are willing to share on your website. I have been a garden designer and photographer for the last ten years. Recently some photos I took elicited very positive comment and I began to play with them using ArcSoft. I showed some of my efforts to a gallery owner here in Kansas City and got helpful criticism and an offer to show my work in January so that I could get more feedback. I was researching the web to see what others were doing with this wonderful new tool of digital developing when I came across your website. I have been using your before and afters as a teaching tool for myself and have found it invaluable. Thank again for your generosity in sharing tips. Sincerely, Linda Hartong

Thank you, Linda.  I'm glad you like my pictures and congratulations on getting a good response to your own work.  It's very nice when this happens, particularly in this area of photo manipulation, because the reaction is quite often "Oh, the computer did it all" which of course we know is not the case!  I have not heard of ArcSoft - I must look into it.  Thanks again and good luck.  David


1 December 2005   I enjoyed your web site. I am in search of a printer capable of printing larger than 8 by 10. I live in Toronto Canada. Any ideas?? J Lewis

I continue to use an Epson 1290 inkjet printer.  This can make A3 size prints and gives results with which I am generally happy - it has one colour and one black cartridge.  I use mainly Epson heavy matte paper and have had no success with watercolour paper made for inkjets.  I probably should move to the new Epson 1800, their new A3 inkjet printer, but I am put off by the basket load of ink cartridges which this takes.  David

9 December 2005  Hi David:  Beautiful, beautiful work. It's great to see how your technique has evolved. I've been following your postings in the retouching forum at dpreview, where we have all learned so much from you. Thanks for sharing your art and your knowledge. Heather (aka yduckie)

19 November 2005  Hello David -  Woweee.  Your new work is such a monumental treat - great spectrum of colors, fun diversity of subjects, lively technique, neat range of applications  - this new stuff is just a whole bundle of astonishing creations that soar above the earlier ones that were already so wonderful.  Having the new work to analyze is going to be fun.  Even not being able to figure it out is still great thought-provoking exercise for all the rest of us trying to earn our Junior Grade Art Wings.  Thanks for providing the actual photographs!  You really are the true world's master of graphic art.  No one else's work equals yours.  Thanks so much to making all this available to us.  John Fielder

Thank you very much John.  I’m glad you like the recent work I have done and it is kind of you to let me know.  As you appreciate, producing the work is good fun but a solitary business so it’s very nice to get feedback.  The newest pictures are the bottom right and centre on Artwork 2;  far right, third row on Artwork 3, and also row 8 - outside left and right pictures; then Artwork 4, penultimate row, far left image, and bottom row - left and centre images.   All these pictures, except for the beach scene in Artwork 4 use Painter brushes extensively.  I recently lost my customised Painter brushes in a hard drive reformat and everything-reinstall and recreating them is proving very troublesome.  I thought I had them saved but I obviously hadn't - must get it right next time.   David

7 November 2005  David, Thank you for the link. I am enjoying your work immensely. It has truly provided a lot of inspiration and your suggestions will be taken and put to good use. You are way ahead of me in your photo illustration, David. Regards, Dick

26 October 2005  Hello David.  A quick note from another of your long-time, dedicated fans - never had the nerve to submit a comment before, but after reading the good words of James and Harry, I'm compelled to say hurrah for you. I am positive you would be pleasantly surprised at the response from all of your silent admirers, such as myself, who would immediately purchase any CD tutorials you created. I carefully follow your work in ReTouchPro and here. The fruit of your skill is such a joy for all of us to receive! Kind regards from Ventura, California to you and to all of your other fans.  John

Thank you, John.  I will see what I can do over the next couple of months.  It will probably be an oil simulation done mainly in Painter.

8 October 2005  Hello David, Just to support Harry in what he proposing. I really don't think that the responses you received in DP review etc. necessarily means that there is no call out there. It is a question of getting the digital painting world to beat a path to your door (I speak as an ex Marketing Manager!). At the right price people will not think twice about putting their hands into their pockets for such an instructive tool. The beauty is that you can impart some of the details of your work flow and other peoples' results would never be the same as yours. After all digital painting still requires drawing and analytical skills (and add into that pot fluency with the chosen software). I am afraid that there are people who think a digital image lacks validity because of the way it is produced: however any advances in technology have always produced such responses: 'twas ever thus. Kind regards, James.

29 September 2005  Hi David - I am nearly sure, that I have asked you this before, but just in case - here I go again.  There is nobody, imho, on the web that is as good with "painting" as you are, and I really mean it.  What does it take for you, if needed with someone's help, to produce a Video movie tutorial, say of your procedure on that Stand Pipe? It is so great, as all your other postings on this subject, of using Photoshop and Painter. I am so sure that such a Video movie, showing exactly how you do these effects, would sell a lot of copies--at a reasonable price, say £10?  Please, Please, David--what about it ?  Let me hear from you. Harry Ellerton

I replied by email to Harry saying that this was very flattering but that I did not think there would be much interest in an instructional or demonstration video - I have come to this conclusion because comments on my posts in DPReview and other retouching forums are usually few.  Nevertheless, I will see if I can produce something. I'll have to get hold of software to do this and would have to charge something for it to cover postage and other costs.  Anyway I'll see if I can produce something.  David

25 September 2005  Very nice work! I especially enjoyed the third piece down on the left in Artwork 3, and all of Artwork 5 & 8.  Best of luck.  Joe Joe Smith
20 September 2005  computer simulated art always just bad clones of the real thing. Some of your pictures looked good, but mostly just photos which had a couple of filters from photoshop on them, nothing very artistic about them.  I think you should try get more ideas and feeling in them, like there's no emotion in the portraits. They look just like tourist photos, painted with computer on them. I liked the flower & fruit pictures tho.

9 September 2005 Hello David, I'm rather relieved to hear that you find Painter watercolour brushes not quite up to the mark. Yes, I do mean transparent watercolour and I agree that the wow technique is excellent (you put me onto that one). A thing I find difficult is when I want to lay down a large area of even colour, say for the start point of an expanse of water or sky (I build up detail and texture on subsequent layers): if one takes the stylus off the tablet then one gets the build up of more saturated colour where one strays over previous edges. In this instance I do not want that. At present I keep the stylus in contact with the tablet the whole time until I have completed the fill. Ridiculous!. I could go out of pattern mode and start cloning but it would rather break up the workflow. In truth I like Photoshop's own watercolour brushes. By the way I had a picture framed the other day (a watercolour manipulation of a photo of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. I told the framer it was ! completely computer generated which surprised her so much that she showed it to her husband who is a professional water colourist. Apparently he studied it from all angles for a long time and pronounced that He could not tell that it was not a watercolour: ruined his day and scared the life out of him, I gather. Kind regards, James.

I know exactly the pen-pressure problem you are talking about and I know no way round it.  I think it may be possible to create a Wow-like brush in Painter (not with a Painter "Watercolour" brush) and I am going to do some experimentation on this.  Glad Wow has worked for you.  David

Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,