ArtRage is a program that enables you to use real-world painting techniques on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Put simply, you push pixels on a screen to mimic the behaviour of art mediums. The program was aimed at artists from both traditional and digital backgrounds who wanted to create believable works of art using a simple interface.
With the recent release of ArtRage 5, these ideals have been refined and tools honed so that all users, from digital novices to veritable stylus Seurats, can create beautiful art. The software can be installed on pretty much all platforms, and ranges from free simpler apps right through to the full desktop version geared more towards professional artists or keen enthusiasts.
For me, ArtRage is the best program for all your painterly needs – and it's relatively cheap, too. Keep reading to see how easy it is to get up and running.
Get set up in ArtRage
01. Open a new canvas
When starting any new piece of art, you first need to create a new blank canvas. ArtRage gives you a vast array of options from colour, size and pixels right through to the texture of the surface that you'll be working on. Begin by clicking File in the top left corner and selecting New Painting.
02. Choose your canvas size
The New Painting box will open with a choice of options. Don't be daunted, it's just your chance to pick the size and colour of paper to work on. Select your print size and set the dimensions such as 16x12 inches for A3. Click in the Pixels/Inch box and type 300 to ensure a detailed picture.
03. Select a canvas texture
Tap in the canvas box that shows a blue stroke across it. Here you can change the colour of the surface along with the grain size and the roughness. If you tap on the arrow pointing right underneath the grain tab and select Select from collection, you're then given even more options and textures.
04. Confirm canvas and begin painting
Once you're happy with your choices for the surface and texture of the canvas, simply click the tick button and this will bring you back to the Sizing screen. Click the OK button if all looks good for you. Now your fresh canvas will appear, ready to be worked on.
Set up your brush
05. Select an oil brush
The Medium Picker/Tool selector is probably the most important part on the screen, because it's the hub from which you can select what medium or tool you'll be working in. To pick your chosen medium or tool, just hover your cursor/stylus over the tools to be told what they are and click them to select.
06. Change your brush size
Drag your finger, cursor or stylus across the brush head to the right to increase the size and left to decrease. The percentage number changes, indicating where you are on the size scale. To pick a specific size or go larger still, simply tap in the brush head area and type in the number you need.
07. Load paint on your brush
Click Settings. Keep the brush loading down to between two and nine per cent for a really dry dab of paint, which is great for underpaintings and sketching. Slide the loading up to 50-80 per cent and the paint thickens up, creating thick glossy streaks that can be mixed on the canvas alla prima style.
08. Introduce texture
Add extra texture by laying down paint direct from the tube and smearing it with the Palette knife. Select the paint tube and apply splodges on the canvas near your brush strokes. Then push the paint with the Palette knife, building it up on the edges of your strokes for added realism and depth.
Pick your colours
09. Choose a colour and tone
No more endlessly mixing palettes and striving for an odd shade here! Using the Colour Wheel on the bottom right-hand side you can easily and quickly select hues across the whole colour spectrum. It's easy, simple and there's not an expensive tube of paint in sight!
Tap the outer wheel to select the general colour you wish to use. Using the middle band you can click to select a tone within your initial colour selection, ranging from pale subtle colours right through to rich and deep hues. The smallest wheel shows the colour currently selected and the arrow in the corner enables you to collapse the Colour Picker, giving you more room to paint on your screen.
10. Correct errors with the Eraser...
The Eraser can be found in the Tool Picker menu and is ideal for loose smudges, shaping areas or when sketching. Again, like the other tools, the Eraser has settings for altering the Pressure and Softness. Simply click the Eraser and use on your canvas as you would a normal rubber.
11. ...Or go back in time!
The alternative method of correcting a mistake is the Undo button. This is located at the top of the screen and resembles a backwards arrow. If you find you've gone astray in your work, click the Undo button to take you back to a point at which you were happy with your art.
This article originally appeared in issue 8 of Paint & Draw.