February 2017

Visitors Book and Email
If you have any comments on my pictures, or any tips on technique, or if you know of any good web sites featuring digital painting or manipulation, it would be great to hear from you. I have been running a guest book for some time but recently spammers have discovered it and I have had to discontinue the Form element.  Instead, please either email me , or if you use Hotmail or another web based email service, email me at david.cole12[at]btinternet.com replacing the [at] with @. I will post your comments below in the usual way, and respond when that seems helpful. My Visitors' Book was started in January 2005 and over time it will form a history of my web site - so do please leave some comments or questions if you'd like to.
Thanks for visiting.
Visitors Book 1
Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

18 November 2015 David, Your art work is amazing!  I ordered your book from Amazon, and I am looking forward to trying your photo enhancement techniques.  I’v scoured the web looking for tutorials you may have produced on You Tube etc.  I use Corel Painter X3 and PS as well as Lightroom to create dog portraits from photos, hopping for a retirement business.
Thanks for your work,Clarence Perry

Thanks, Clarence.  I did three tutorials (long ago) for the now defunct Corel Painter magazine.  They are still showing on the Painter website here:




The picture quality in the pdfs is terrible but I think the tutorials still work. Hope you find them useful.  Good luck. David


18 July 2014 Hi David! I’ve enjoyed your paintings for years! Quick question for you – have you been able to run your BuzzPro within Photoshop CC? Darn if I can figure it out. No matter where I put the files under my Plugins folder it doesn’t show up.Thanks David, Ron

Hello Ron Glad you still like my pictures. Yes, Buzz pro works fine under Photoshop CC.  Indeed, I have it running under Photoshop CC 2014. First point is that you need to install it in the 32bit version of CC/CC 2014 - it won't work in CC 64bit (I have both 32 and 64 bit versions installed). Then follow these installation instructions:

-install buZZ
- go to Control Panel/User Accounts and turn off "Use User Accounts.." (Never notify). Restart when requested.
- open PS, then an image, then buZZ.  Enter the serial number when requested. Then click AUTHORISE. DO NOT try to use it. Just leave buZZ and Photoshop open.
- ReStart.  Force closure. 
- Go back to the User Accounts Control and turn it back on. (default level)
- PS and buZZ  should not ask again for your serial number."

I didn't have to mess around with individual files or folders. Let me know if that works for you. Best David

16 July 2014 I was indeed attempting to use it within my 64bit version. It works just fine using the 32bit version. Thanks so much for your help and I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work! Sincerely, Ron


10 April 2013 Dear David, I recently purchased your excellent book. It is an absolute treasure trove, and I am enjoying it immensely. I would like to start having a go at some of the techniques, and have downloaded the zip file you link to in the introduction. Unfortunately, I am unable to load the Photoshop brushes into my program, as I am using [Photoshop] Elements 2, and brushes are apparently not backwards compatible. I'm hoping you might be able to suggest a possible workaround, but if there isn't one, well, the book is wonderful anyway. Kind regards Louis

Hi Louis. I'm glad you are enjoying the book.  Sorry to hear that the book's brushes won't load into PE 2.  That is, of course, a very old version now and my advice would be to buy the latest Photoshop Elements which is at version 11 and is a powerful program.  I loaded the brushes through the abr file in the download into PE 11 with no problems.   I can't really recommend a workaround I'm afraid as the version of PE is very old and I don't know what it can do.  If you cannot buy a newer version your best bet is to look through all the brush library possibilities and see what sounds similar - eg a Wet Brush, or watercolour brush where a watercolour brush is being used in the book.  But try and upgrade the software if you can. Best wishes, David


22 September 2012 Dear David, I have been passioated by your DIgital paint article in the January issue of Practical Photoshop, I've even ordered your book on Amazon. I'm an underwater photographer and I tried to paint one of my pictures using the same technique as you did. I did almost the same as you did, just differently as I was not working on a portrait. When I reached the watercolor filter step, most my paint areas turned out to blackish. Can you suggest how would be the best way to manage for that issue and if you hae any idea about modification I should do to get the best possible result for that kind of picture. Michel Braunstein

Hello Michel It looks like you have applied the watercolour filter with too high settings.  They should be Brush Detail: 14, Shadow Intensity: 0, and Texture: 1. I have taken your middle image and applied the watercolour filter with those settings, then duplicated the layer, changed the blend mode to Multiply and reduced the layer’s opacity to 25%. This additional layer is to give the image more body.  My revised image is attached. Experiment – that’s the best way to get the results you want. Best wishes David

22 September 2012 Hello David, You're the master, you were right. Intensity was on 1, after correcting it to 0, all was fine. See the final design attached. DO you like it? I think I may probably have to improve it some more. Many thanks for your help. Kind regards, Michel


12 August 2012 Hi David, This is just to thank you for directing me to the right source. After almost one year of struggling to get a copy of your tutorial, just this weekend I was able to lay my hands on a compilation issue of Practical Photoshop which has all your tutorials. Thanx once again. The tutorials are amazing. Have you done anything similar with Painter? If so, please let me know. Cheers, Wesley

I didn't know there is a compilation issue of PP with all of my tutorials. Glad you found them useful. I haven't worked with Painter for a while because all my time has been spent with Photoshop and magazine work. My book covered photo manipulation with Painter but only with Painter 11 - not Painter 12. I will have to go back to the drawing board with Painter 12 when I have some time. Best, David


9 July 2012 Hi, I just wanted to write in and say thanks for publishing such a great site about art. I would like to start it as a hobby with my boys (as a regular mum-boys bonding) and we have been getting stuck into the internet research thing. My boys can draw and they are actually pretty good at it but I was hoping they'd learn more about different styles and techniques. Lo and behold, I found your site while searching for useful information. I am really pleased about the number of links in addition to the great content available. It was a breeze going through your page. :) I am hoping that you continue to maintain your page and as a simple token of my gratitude, I'd like to give you another educational website that I know would be a very good addition to your list. The resource is found at http://www.startlocal.com.au/articles/educational_drawing.html - it also has tips and resources for art beginners and enthusiasts. I thought it would probably be of value to your visitors. I hope I was able to help you in some way because you surely helped me. Glad to have found your site! Would love to know if you found my suggestions helpful. Cheers, Clare

Thanks, Clare.  I’m glad you enjoyed my website and thanks for your suggestions.  You may not have appreciated that my pictures are made with a mixture of photo manipulation and free hand brushstrokes.  I don’t make images from scratch.  My work doesn’t really call for drawing skills but you do need to know about the look of the natural medium (like oil or watercolour) you are trying to simulate using the photo as a starting point, understand the software you are using, and have sufficient dexterity to make convincing brush movements.  The computer software does some of the work – but not all.  I think it is great your boys draw and would encourage them to stay with that for the time being and then perhaps to develop painting from scratch on the computer using a digital tablet and software like Photoshop Elements or Painter Essentials if that appeals to them.  The internet is a surprisingly good source of information about styles of painting. Best wishes David 


18 May 2012 David, I am a great fan of yours and saw your self portrait.  Would you mind sharing your art history process you used here?  It looks terrific and is so> painterly. Thank you, Janet

Hello Janet Thanks for getting in touch.  I'm not going to go into detail about the technique because I think it will be a future magazine article.  What I can say is the basic tool is based on a comb brush top. I'm sure you can experiment with the various parameters and get to a technique you like. Best wishes David

19 May 2012 David, Thank you for your email.  You did a fantastic job on this.  I will look forward to your article coming out. I love that AHB. Thanks, Janet


2 May 2012 Dear David, Just purchased your book, reading it with great interest. The demo on page 25 is great- Long Island beach scene. Would very much welcome more step by step stuff, for instance of the stunning sunflowers on page 7. If i can help in any way I'd be pleased to- I'm in Birmingham Best wishes Mike

Hi Mike, Glad you are enjoying the book.  I have written (and am still writing) a series of articles for Practical Photoshop magazine.  You can see what is covered in each tutorial here (go down the page a bit): {Artlinks page]. The tutorials have detailed written walkthroughs (usually 20 steps) and a screen recording with narration came on the disk attached to the hard copy magazine. I think that most of the issues (without the disks I suspect) are still available as back issues: http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/design/practical-photoshop-magazine-back-issues/Best wishes David


29 April 2012 Hi David, I have just started a course on how to use multi media, and discovered  Practical Photoshop Photoshop where I just fell in love with the Ink and Wash effect.  Where can I get hold of your Tutorials?  I would really like to go further into this.  By the way I just loved loved you Venice paintings.  I fell in love with Venice last year and am going to try and do my Venice photo's. Thanks so much for your inspiration. Meredith McNay Australia

Thanks, Meredith.  I'm glad you liked the ink and wash effect. The tutorials are all in Practical Photoshop - for most issues there is a written walkthrough and a screen recording with narration.  You can see what is in each issue by going to the "Artlinks and Tutorials" page on my website.  You will already have the tutorial for Ink and Wash but the other ones should be available by buying back issues of the magazine. Best wishes David


18 April 2012 Hola David. He conocido tu trabajo a través de un articulo tuyo en la revista Photoshop practico que se edita aquí en España. Estoy haciendo el trabajo de dibujo de lápiz (el del puente) pero tengo un problema al realizar los trazos ya que estos me salen muy gruesos con los pinceles que indicas además de parecer que borrara en lugar de dibujar, ¿me puedes ayudar? Un aficionado que de ahora en adelante va a seguir tus trabajos para continuar aprendiendo.Un saludo José Mª Valin

Hello Jose Make sure the size of your starter image is 2832x4256pix and that in the Brushes Panel ”Shape Dynamics” is selected and the top control option set to “ Pen Pressure”.  If you are using CS5 or even CS4 you should use the Tool Presets (TPL) rather than the brushes (ABR) because they retain their settings. Best wishes David


5 April 2012 Hello David, On internet I saw the site with your artworks. We like the painting “Boats on the lake in Marbury Country Park, Cheshire“ (Artwork 4) very much. Is this for sale ? We already have some digital paint works from Ad van Bokhoven, which lives in our neighborhood. When the work is for sale it’s perhaps an idea that we can get it through him ? Hope to hear from you. Kind regards Caroline and Johan B-, Rijen, Holland

Hello Thank you very much for your inquiry.  I’m afraid that picture is not for sale – I do not own the copyright of the photo from which it is derived so cannot sell it. All my pictures are made from photographs. Ad makes some lovely pictures. Best wishes David


26 March 2012 Hi David, Saw one of your illustrations done in Illustrator CS5. It is just amazing and wonderful beyond words. Do you have a tutorial of it somewhere which you can share? Keep up the inspiring work. Cheers, Wesley

Hello Wesley Thanks for your kind words but I am a little puzzled as I don’t work in Adobe Illustrator.  I use Photoshop.  I have written a book and tutorials – most recently a series for Practical Photoshop magazine.  You can see the issues listed here (scroll down the page):   http://www.davidcolepictures.co.uk/artlinks.html Perhaps you could let me know which picture you saw and where you saw it than I can tell you if it’s me. Best wishes David Cole

...26 March 2012 Hi David, Attaching the image I was referring to.  Your link shows that it is in CS5, and I presumed it was Illustrator since the illustration has blocked up colours. Sorry about it. I tried looking up the tutorial pages in their archives but they don't seem to have them anymore. Do you have these tutorials in pdf format or even legible jpgs for me to read them?  Also the Corel Painter Official Magazine seems to be discontinued. Is it true? Since they are displaying the cover of issue 36 since over a year now. I am a member and I have my gallery on their site. One of my images was chosen as the pic of the week once. Thanks for responding to the email. Very kind of you. Cheers, Wesley

No, the picture was made in Photoshop CS5 and the tutorial on it was in issue 5 of Practical Photoshop.  If you want to read the tutorial you will need to buy issue 5 from the publishers – I don’t have a pdf version and I would not in any case provide a free copy I’m afraid. Yes, the Corel Painter Magazine is finished though the gallery website continues.  I have some old magazine tutorials available in full on their website.  Have a look at Corel’s website if you are interested – they do not cover the same technique as making the portrait in issue 5 of Practical Photoshop. Best wishes David 

...26 March 2012 Thanks for the info David, Shall purchase the Practical Photoshop and check it out. I keep buying the Advanced Photoshop, Photoshop User and Creative Photoshop magazines in Dubai where I reside. Unfortunately PP isnt available here. Anyway shall definitely scout around now that I know where it is published. Thanks once again for your time and prompt response. All the best. Wesley


13 February 2012 I bought the Practical Photoshop magazine because the front cover had “Digital Paint” which is something I have wanted to try for ages having seen some “converted” images in an art shop in Minorca some years ago.  Last week I discovered that my CS3 software was in fact a counterfeit copy after 3 years of use when I tried to upgrade to CS5 to both follow your tutorial and to take advantage of all the new bits in CS5.  Obviously I have not succeeded in upgrading and in fact have had to take off CS3 since it is a counterfeit copy.  Since I am a retired silver surfer I could not justify spending £1000 for a good version of CS5 to go through your excellent tutorial.  I have decided to buy and tried using Elements 10 which I will be using in the future for all my photography but am completely lost on step 3 as I cannot find any substitutes for your methods.  Have you done anything like this with Elements 10 or can you give me a few pointer please.  Would be very grateful. Sincerely Peter

Which magazine issue do you have?  I have articles in 10 issues.

...13 February 2012 Hello David, thank you for such a quick reply. The Magazine is Practical Photoshop issue 9 February 2012 Sincerely Peter

Peter As the article points out, Elements does not have the Mixer brush – which was introduced in Photoshop CS5.  You could use the Smudge Tool, Impressionist brush and Pattern Stamp tool to create painterly effects, and if you particularly want an impasto effect, you can use the Emboss tool in Elements for this.  You may want to get back copies of the magazine - I cover creating painterly treatments with various Photoshop tools in the 10 articles I contributed.  Each article mentions how far the tutorial can be followed in Elements.  I have been quite impressed just how powerful Elements 10 is for simulating natural media effects given its price. Good luck. David 


21 January 2012 Hi David. Bob Raydo here. I just received your vol. 1 book on digital painting WELL DONE!  Also I am enjoying your articles in practical photoshop mag. Just wondering if you are planning a vol. 2 on digital painting? Hope so. again thanks Bob R. Fairview Pa. USA


21 January 2012 Mr. Cole, I am fascinated by the quirky art history brush and I downloaded the Practical Photoshop August and September 2011 issues with your art history tutorials. I am confused a little, however, as I may be at somewhat at a disadvantage because the download has the images and brushes but no video, if there was one. At each new brush preset, you instruct to return to the background layer and create a new snapshot to use with the new brush. I have tried using the new layer and brush preset with and without creating the new snapshot and the brush with the without seems to continue to use the original background snapshot. I also seem to notice more of a blending in your illustrations with the new brush preset than I get when I re-make the background snapshot layer. Do you use the ' Current Layer' to remake the snapshot or perhaps do some layer blending and then choose the 'Merged Layers' selection? I appreciate your work in this area and because the art history brush seems to play by its own rules, I just want to be sure I am following your fabulous tutorials correctly. Thanks for your time in responding Harry Ibach

Harry The Art History brush is tricky - but you can get good effects with it.  You need to follow my instructions in the tutorial precisely.   The key thing to understand is that each time you apply a new brush with a new snapshot - you are indeed using the prepared background image with the custom brush - you do not apply snapshots of the picture as it develops.  It is the background image you are using each time - it is the brush and the Art History settings that change on each paint application.  They cumulatively build up the finished image. So - the sequence is:

1. Prepare the image (the “Background Layer”).
2. Duplicate the “Background layer” and call it say - "Toast" (the name of the brush you are about to use is sensible)
3. With only the "Background Layer" active and visible, open the flyout menu from the History panel.
4. Select "New Snapshot"
5. Select “Current Layer” (which is the Background Layer in this picture) next to “From”.
6. Call the snapshot you are making whatever you want - let's call it "First".
7. Make the “Toast” layer visible and active.
8. Select the “First” snapshot in the History Panel (towards the top of the panel)
9. Fill or don’t fill the Toast layer with a solid colour and start painting with brush number 1 – whatever it is (you are now painting with the “Background layer” as the “Current Layer”.
10. When finished painting that layer with the first brush, duplicate it and call the new layer something – “Coffee”  (whatever is the name of the second brush you will use...)
11. With only the “Background Layer” visible and active go through the process of creating a new snapshot again as above and then make the Coffee layer active.  Make the second snapshot you just made, active in the History Panel and paint with the second brush...and so on. Hope this helps.  Stick with it. Best wishes David

22 January 2012 Thank you for taking the time to answer. I will follow your instructions and hopefully get a better understanding of how to use the history brush. It definitely will keep me busy for awhile. Harry

29 January 2012...Been practicing to gest the History Brush 'ritual' down. Thank you so much for the help. Harry Ibach

Well done!! You’ve got it! Best David


23 January 2012 David, Thanks for all your helpful hints, your book is just what i was ready for at this stage of my water color painting. Pat Reardon (letter attached)

Pat Thanks very much for writing and for your kind words.  It is very nice to hear that you have found the book helpful.  I have just finished a series of 10 articles on simulating natural media in a UK magazine called Practical Photoshop.  These go into some detail and with each issue there is a video of me making the picture with a narration, as well as the written tutorial.  I think you can get back copies for the States – see here: http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/design/practical-photoshop-magazine-back-issues/ I think you might enjoy them. Best wishes and good luck with your painting. David


10 January 2012 hi dave I am a 71 year old male from lincoln uk and  have just ordered your book on digital techniques . i usually paint using interactive acrylics and portraits are my favourites although i find them difficult. i have just bought a ipad and i am loving it -i use sketch club and procreate. hope i can learn from your book - i think your web pages are very good. my web page is dlawre @****** .com, dave.

Thanks, Dave.  Hope you enjoy the book and good luck with the IPad. Best wishes, David


7 January 2012 Hello David, I recently bought your book and like it very much. I'm quite new to digital painting and would like to use your images as exercise and be able to compare my efforts with yours, but unfortunately I don't seem to be able to download them (at  http://web-linked.com/painting/download.zip). Just get the message "404 not found". I live in Canada and don't know if that is the problem. Is there any other way I would be able to get them? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Elly

Hi Elly Try this link to the publisher's site: http://www.web-linked.com/painting/download.zip It worked for me just now. Try it in a couple of browsers too. If you have no luck please get on to ILEX Press, the publishers.  I don’t have the downloads in a package anymore. Best wishes David

...7 January 2012 Hello David, Your link did the trick and was able to download everything. It was really fantastic. Wonder if the missing "www" in the book was my trouble. Still have some trouble installing the brushes. Using Painter 12 and Photoshop CS5 on a Macintosh. Painter 12 seems to be quite different than v.11, so was not able to get them in so far. Your instructions are very clear but in Photoshop I never got the choice to "Append" , only "Open",  so I'm not sure if it got installed. Time will tell. Thank you very, very much for your quick and useful help. Elly


31 October 2011 Your book on digital painting techniques is truly superb...really useful–unlike most of the other material I have studied on digital painting. I believe your grounding in and understanding of traditional painting media is why your book is so good. Although I do not do that much straight cloning (not that I have anything against it), I still found your book invaluable. I will be incorporating many of your techniques into my work. Some of your digital paintings are really well done. I also found the notes on your computer equipment very interesting as well. Thanks again. Regards, Clark Landwehr

Thanks, Clark.  Kind of you to write and let me know you liked the book.  I liked the portrait you sent me - very nice treatment - unfussy and confident.  I am getting towards the tail end of a 10 article magazine series on using Photoshop for photo-painting.  I don't know if you use Photoshop or Painter but if you have Photoshop you might check out the magazine - Practical Photoshop.  I have learnt a lot about Photoshop making the articles and have a great respect for the programme.  As a consequence of immersing myself in Photoshop, I haven't made a picture in Painter for many months and have not tried Painter 12 yet.  That will have to wait till next year. Thanks again for writing and good luck with your own work. David


15 June 2011 Hi David Hope you are doing well. Saw your new portraits in Imagine Publishing Corel Painter Gallery. They are just awesome. You seem to astound us with the dynamism of your brush strokes. Just a query about resolution. For digital photographic printing, I keep my portrait sizes in A4 size and at 300 dpi. But the problem I seem to always face is that the brushes become extremely slow in completing their strokes. Is there any way around this to avoid the tardiness or do you recommend something more practical and feasible? I would very much appreciate your input, please! Wesley

Thanks, Wesley. I'm glad you like my new pictures.  The latest ones were actually done in Photoshop using the Art History brush.  I'm doing a series of articles at the moment for Practical Photoshop magazine so am trying to brush up my Photoshop painting skills.

Resolution.  I quite understand your uncertainty - I was in the same boat.  When I did my book, the publishers wanted all images at 300ppi and brush size/performance was a problem - now, doing the articles, the magazine wants images that are 20" at 72ppi.  The images seem to come out fine in the magazine and brushes operate ok.  The received wisdom is that 150-300ppi is the right size for printed images but I find 72ppi much more convenient and it is great to have settled on a standard size/resolution because now I know the right size for brushes and textures.

Having said that, I don't actually print any of my pictures at full size so can't say for sure what the 72ppi resolution will look like at full size, and my advice would be to try some A4 pictures at 150ppi first and see how they print.  That should free up your brushes.  You could also try painting from a photo at (say) 20"x14" and 72ppi and then printing that image at A4 size but not re-sampling the image when you downsize it.  Try a few combinations. Best wishes David


14 March 2011 David, A brief note to thank you for your inspiring book! I'm not for long emails, but felt compelled to give you the positive feedback you deserve. Best regards, John Leggitt...

John Thanks so much for getting in touch and letting me know you liked the book.  It is very heartening to have supportive comments.  Good luck with your picture making. Best wishes David

...27 March 2011 David, From your research/trial & error....is there a filter or Plug-in in Photoshop, Topaz, or ?? that can take a jpeg line drawing (like the one's attached) and squiggle the linework, or, at least soften it up so it's not so perfect?  So I can use the (SketchUp) or ACAD drawing as a base for a painting/illustration.  I've been experimenting in Photoshop....but no luck.   Much appreciated! I showed my wife your website, and she was sooooo amazed at the great work you are doing with Painter. Thanks for all your inspiration!  Your talent is off the charts. JOHN

There are different ways of preparing your line drawings for painting.  MarqSU used Filter>Sketch>Torn Edges Image Balance: 20, Smoothness: 9, Contrast: 9.  Then Image>Adjustment> Levels Shadows 0, Mid 1.64, Highlights 24 - the aim is a charcoal like drawing ready for an oil paint treatment. Marq Aerial used Topaz Simplify - the SketchLightPencil preset, and removing a lot of detail with the individual settings.  The result is a fine line drawing for a transparent watercolour version. I would get the Topaz Simplify plugin if you haven't got it yet. Best wishes - David

...28 March 2011 Fanatastic! I downloaded Topaz this afternoon, and it is remarkable.  I think this will work for me. Thanks again David....appreciate your help and good advice. My next goal....purchase Painter, as Photoshop is too limited for me.  I want to perfect the oil painting technique you are doing.  (like the women on the front of the boat image that you recently painted).  That looks like real fun! Best Regards, JOHN


6 March 2011 Hi David, I am really enjoying your book.  I have been doing digital painting now for about 10 months.  Sometimes I amaze myself, other times I am not impressed. :)  I have ran into a bit of a roadblock in your book.  I am working hard to learn how to do portraits and can do them with brushes and smudging, but haven’t discerned any particular style yet.   On page 47 of your book “Complete Digital Painting Techniques” I was so excited to see the effect I have been working toward.  As I read your instructions I came to part 2 where you say to use Topaz Simplify to create the effects.  I don’t understand how you did that.  So, I am stuck on just the second part of your tutorial.  Is there as way to explain possibly a little deeper how you came up with the #2 example on page 47.  I have tried many things in Topaz Simplify, but don’t get anywhere.  If you have answered this on all the posting you have, I apologize, I don’t get much time to paint and did look for awhile. I am getting close to retirement and am planning on expanding my loving  hobby of photography to portraits and painting. Thank you for your time. John Scheufler

John - I'm not sure I understand the problem you are having.  Frame 2 of the walkthrough on page 47 is just the starting photo with a little BuzSim filter added; here are the sort of settings I will have used: [picture of settings in Topaz Simplify] The setting "BuzSim" (the first in the list of presets in Topaz Simplify) flows from the now no longer sold buZZ Pro filter which made the big breakthrough into simplification of detail without rounding off edges.  I still use buZZ which was made originally by a UK company "Segmentis" and then by a now defunct company called fo2pix.  As this filter set is no longer available I didn't use it at all (if I remember correctly) in the book but it is still my favourite filter.  Like garlic, it needs to be used sparingly.  I wish Adobe or Corel (for their Painter programme) would buy the rights to buZZ and include it as a standard filter in PS or Painter.

Be ready for a frustrating time with the Art History brush.  It is not easy to use and its effects with the various stroke types (Tight Short etc) is unpredictable.  You just need to experiment.  I use it for loose picture treatments nowadays and if you want a looser effect you should stop painting earlier than you think you should.  Leave it in that blobby state for a while and come back to it later to see what further detail it really needs. Experiment with different brush types too - and with ones you make yourself. Hope that helps a bit.  Above all, have fun and good luck with your retirement.  I love mine. David


28 February 2011 David, I saw your book in a bookstore the other day and was blown away by your beautiful images.  This is exactly what I would like to be able to do with my digital photos, but I do not have the full versions of Photoshop or Painter.  I have Photoshop Elements and Painter Essentials.  Can the techniques you describe in this book be accomplished using these scaled down versions of the two applications?  Thanks! Marilyn Lowery

Hello Marilyn Thank you for letting me know that you like the illustrations in my book. I have only dabbled with Photoshop Elements 9 but from my brief experience of it I think you should be able to get some of the effects I achieve - particularly using the Pattern stamp tool. I would buy the Topazlabs "Simplify" plugin for Photoshop and PE to add the ability to make painterly simplifications of images before you brush them. PE also has the Impressionist brush tool though I don't know how well it operates or how effective it is. It may be a bit like Photoshop's Art History brush. I don't know about Painter Essentials I'm afraid. For me, the two most significant brush categories in Painter are the Artists' brushes and Artists Oils brushes - but I do not know if Painter Essentials has these. Good luck and have fun. David

Hi, David, Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly and for your advice.  It’s good to know that I may be able to achieve some of the effects described in your book, and I’ll definitely look into the Topazlabs “Simplify” plugin as you suggested.  I’ve only tried my hand at a few digital paintings from photos so far, so I have lots to learn.  Thanks again for your help. By the way, I love your website too … very inspirational … I plan on being a regular visitor to your site! Thanks, Marilyn


16 January 2011 David, I stumbled across your recent book 'Complete Digital Painting Techniques' the other day in a local bookstore.  After looking through it, I bought it.  I am learning digital painting with Corel Painter and mostly work on painting from my photos.  I always enjoy learning techniques from books and often find it educational to try creating a work in a book when the original photo is offered.  I noted in your book that you state "twelve digital photographs" were available, but the web link in the book does not work.  Are these photographs available?

I did find your web site and will explore it later tonight.  I was able to pick up your eMail address there. I really enjoyed reading your book and look forward to trying a number of your techniques.  I loved two of the full page paintings in the book (the tree picture on page 41 and the floral picture on page 55).  I wonder if you have provided any additional details on the techniques you used to create these two beautiful paintings? Thanks, Fred Holmes

Good to hear from you, Fred.  The download is still available - though a number of people have been in touch from time to time reporting that the link does not work.  The site is hosted by the book's publisher and I am sending your message to them to get you some help.  They are good about providing it. Glad you enjoyed the book.  It was a commissioned book - that is, I was commissioned to write a book about simulating a number of traditional natural media processes and techniques and that is what I have done.  It is not about my pictures per se.  I do not have guides for the two pictures you mention I'm afraid.  But you should find the techniques covered in the book will enable you to copy the approach I have taken in those pictures - you can easily use your own photographs to start with. Good luck and have fun. Best wishes David

Thanks, David.  I appreciate you forwarding my troubles on to the publisher. I spent some time tonight going through your art on your website.  Thanks so much for including the original photos that you created the art from.  It was very educational to see how beautiful a painting can be made from photos.  I will have to go back through my photos with a new eye for painting candidates.  It was interesting to learn that you were commissioned to write the book and now I can understand better the contents and structure.  Again, thanks for a great effort and I am so glad I found the book. Fred

NOTE: my publisher says the correct url for the downloadable files from my book is:



9 January 2011 Hi David "Ranunculas by the window" - watercolour simulation - Artwork 2 - this looks very lovely. It has the appearance of watercolour and ink. Love the texture and brilliant colour. Glad to see you are still at it! Happy New Year! Cheers, Joan

Thanks, Joan. Yes, still at it. David

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