Thursday, May 02, 2013

Member Post of the Month: Franklin Haws talks about creating Digital Art with a Traditional Charm

As a student in a local art college, I learned how to draw and paint using the same media as the legends: Michelangelo, Picasso, and the guys from Mad Magazine; all the greats. Eventually, I got pretty good with most of them, especially pencils and acrylics. However one day in 1989 or so, I bought my first (of many) Mac computers and soon became a digital illustrator.

The drawing program I use is Corel Painter. While it does have some flaws (it crashes more then it should), it's the most popular and widely used program on the market that allows an artist to create pieces which have the look of "traditional" artwork while being created using digital media. 

I work 100% digital, meaning I never sketch the first drawing then scan it into my Mac. My illustrations start and end in Painter. And instead of using a sketch book and pencil, I use a Wacom digital tablet. 

Painter is widely used by illustrators in the entertainment industry for creating concept art for movies and video games. To see some great concept art samples, check out In an industry where speed is important, digital illustration is the standard and Corel Painter along with 3D software are the tools of choice.

In the past few years, I've had the honor of giving demonstrations in Corel Painter and nearly every time I get the same question: Will digital illustration force out the artists who work in traditional media such as oils, pencil and charcoal? 

In my opinion, the answer is NO

A great illustrator is a great illustrator, regardless of what medium (digital or traditional) the artist is using. A drawing program is simply a tool. In the entertainment industry, as I mentioned, speed of creation is vital. Almost equally important is the speed in which corrections/changes can be made. The rhythm of illustrating a children's book is much different then creating a number of quick and unique concepts for a spaceship or movie set. 

If you've used Photoshop before, Painter uses the same layer concept. Below is my illustration River of Life with three layers made invisible showing how the art was constructed. There's a total of 25 separate layers that make up River of Life

"River of Life", by Franklin Haws

See more work from Franklin Haws by visiting his Website at


Barb Bjornson said...

Nice article Franklin. Photoshop and Painter are pretty amazing programs, it's great you understand them and can use them for your illustrations.

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